University of Lynchburg has received the 2018 Chapter of Excellence Award for Service from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). The NAfME, described as “one of the world’s largest arts education organizations,” oversees the Virginia Music Educators Association and its collegiate arm, the CoVMEA. Students and faculty at Lynchburg are members of those organizations.
“We are honored to receive the National Association for Music Education’s 2018 Chapter of Excellence Award for Service,” Dr. Cynthia Ramsey, chair of the Music Department and CoVMEA chapter advisor, said. “Our music education students are actively engaged in numerous service-learning projects. I’m elated that our efforts are setting an example for other collegiate programs to follow.”
The award specifically recognizes two service-learning projects that Lynchburg’s music students have been involved in over the past academic year, The Music Bridge and Songs About Me: Sharing Your Culture and Identity with Your Students.
The Music Bridge is a collaboration between Lynchburg’s Music Department and the Ellington Fellowship Playhouse, a local arts nonprofit. It also involves area public school children. “During weekly visits to our college’s campus, students identified by our community partner as ‘at-risk,’ participate in individual and group lessons designed to provide valuable musical opportunities,” said Dr. Ramsey explained. “This collaboration enables our community students to experience the joy of making music under the watchful eye of University of Lynchburg music education students and our music education faculty.”
Songs About Me was a service-learning research project that was conducted this past fall. Leray Wingo, president of Lynchburg’s CoVMEA chapter, described it as a “project examining what you can do to create an inclusive music classroom, and where to begin. Students shared meaningful songs from different countries, eras, and styles. The process of sharing songs allows both students and teachers a chance to learn more about one another, to break down barriers, and facilitate better classroom communication.”
This research project was later converted into a professional development workshop, which was presented at the 2017 Virginia In-Service Music Education Conference. Following the state conference, LC music faculty and music education students met to plan a service-learning project targeted at elementary-aged students. As part of the program, students from one of the city’s elementary schools visited University of Lynchburg.
“As a result of the service projects our music education majors have participated in at University of Lynchburg, they have developed and implemented weekly teaching experiences, entered into a practice of reflective journaling, and prepared music theory lessons for two varied levels of students,” Dr. Ramsey said.
Lynchburg’s Music Education Program will officially receive the award in June at the NAfME 2018 Collegiate Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C.