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Are You a Smart Consumer Regarding Your Music Education?

ARE YOU A SMART CONSUMER REGARDING YOUR MUSIC EDUCATION?

WENDI BECHTOL-DAVIS, OCMEA STATE ADVISER

Greetings, OCMEA members, and welcome to the 2019-20 school year! My name is Wendi Bechtol-Davis. I am the state treasurer of OMEA and the new state advisor for OCMEA. It is my hope to help you make the most of your collegiate music education experience. I hope to meet many of you at our OCMEA workshop at Licking Heights High School on October 20th and at the annual OMEA Professional Development Conference (PDC).

While at your favorite fast food restaurant, have you ever said, “Thank you for giving me only half the amount of French fries in a regular serving!” Or when receiving an order from your favorite online store; “I paid for two pairs of jeans, but it’s okay that you only sent one! No worries!” Perhaps while you were at the grocery store, you told the cashier, “I actually prefer paying for a whole loaf of bread and only receiving half a loaf. Less carbs!” Clearly, these are not statements that an educated consumer would be apt to make. In fact, we are likely to take issue with any of these scenarios and would point out the injustice immediately. Many of us go as far as reading multiple reviews about a product before we make a purchase to ensure its quality. Sometimes, we even search for deals or coupons to be sure that we are getting an item or service at the best possible price.

With all of this being said, I have a pointed and possibly uncomfortable question for you. Are you being the best possible consumer of your music education? You wouldn’t be satisfied with getting shortchanged at a fast food restaurant or store, but are you taking the same care to get every ounce of learning out of your music education program? Education is one of our most valuable commodities, and I want to urge you not to shortchange yourself. Here are a few thoughts for you as you consider how to become the best consumer of your music education:

1. Obtain as much knowledge as possible. Get the most that you can out of every class that you take, period. Your competency as a teacher is dependent upon the amount of knowledge you have picked up along your journey. Although I hope that each one of you will become lifelong learners, in a short time you will be the “giver of information” to a classroom full of students. Have you taken in enough knowledge to be prepared for this?

2. Develop your musicianship by practicing your major voice or instrument. Countless times I have heard collegiate music education majors remark, “I don’t want to sing/play professionally, so why do I have to practice? I just want to teach.” Your comprehensive package of musicianship is vitally important to the kind of teacher you will become. If you can shape a phrase, you are much more likely to be able to teach your students to do the same. If one of your students is struggling with a technical passage, you will be better equipped to help them if you have gone through the process of breaking it down yourself. If you can model to your student what a good tone sounds like, they are more likely to be able to produce one themselves.

3. Get involved professionally.

• Become an active member of your OCMEA chapter. If your chapter is struggling, BE THE AGENT OF CHANGE! Have monthly meetings. Invite local members from the OMEA district that your college or university is in to speak on various topics. Most of the time these educators will do this for free! You just have to ask.

• Attend the OCMEA Workshop at Licking Heights High School on October 20th, which will be held from 9:45 AM-3 PM. We will have some inspiring speakers for you!

Also, don’t forget about the OMEA PDC on January 30th-February 1st in Cincinnati. There will be a slate of sessions specifically geared toward OCMEA members, as well as a Block Party on Thursday night where you can partake in a buffet of Mexican food (Cost is $10, and reservations for the Block Party are only available by preregistering for the conference. Block Party reservations will not be available for people who register at the convention center. You MUST PRE-REGISTER for the conference in order to reserve your spot at the Block Party.). You will also be able to network with other OCMEA members and see who receives the OMEA Memorial Scholarship for student teaching. OCMEA is the gateway to the most prominent music education network in the state!

In closing, I urge you to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that are available to you in your music education and specifically in your OCMEA chapter. Don’t be satisfied with a half-filled bag of French fries when you paid for a full order, and don’t shortchange yourself on the professional networking and resources available in OCMEA/ OMEA.

Wendi Bechtol-Davis is the band director and general music teacher for grades 5-12 in the Cory-Rawson Local School District. Her public school teaching experience includes one year at Vanlue Local Schools and twenty-six in her current position at Cory-Rawson. Under her direction, the Cory-Rawson Band program has developed a long-standing tradition of success at OMEA Large Group and Solo & Ensemble Adjudicated Events. Ms. Bechtol-Davis is a member of ASBDA, MENC, and OMEA, where she serves as a large group and solo & ensemble adjudicator. During her time at BGSU she was the OCMEA state president for two years. In 2006, she was honored as the “Outstanding Educator” for Cory-Rawson Local Schools.