Elon wins Music Education Chapter of Excellence Award

Its contributions to a program that helps children learning to read has earned a special award for the university's chapter of the National Association for Music Education.

The North Carolina Music Educators’ Association honored Elon University this month for a program that exposes young children to song and musical instruments as part of a larger effort to improve their fledgling reading abilities.

Elon’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education has been actively involved with the “Music in the Village” Project, a component of the larger “It Takes A Village” Project coordinated by the university’s Center for Access and Success.

Because of that involvement over the past year, the chapter received a 2012-2013 NC-Collegiate National Association for Music Education Chapter of Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Education and Commitment to Professional Development.

Gerald Knight directs Elon’s “Music in the Village” program, which includes music education students and piano instructor Eden Esters. “Music in the Village” provides opportunities for Elon’s music education majors to develop their teaching abiities, as well as for K-12 students in the Burlington and Alamance County community to learn about music through opportunities on campus they may not have otherwise encountered.

Seniors from Knight’s music methods class and 100 percent of music education students have participated in “Music in the Village” over the previous two semesters. The project provides firsthand opportunities for music education students to sharpen their pedagogical skills as they work with young students and their parents introducing instruments and vocal training.

“I am extremely pleased to have received this award on behalf of our music education students and I can’t wait to see where we take this project next,” Knight said.

“Music in the Village” is the newest addition to the broader “It Takes A Village” Project started five years ago to help local children who struggle as they learn to read in school. Known simply as “The Village Project,” the larger program pairs young struggling readers and their parents with Elon students enrolled in a reading methods course for education majors. The college students meet once a week throughout much of the semester with the children and their parents.

Associate Professor Jean Rattigan-Rohr, founder of The Village Project and today the director of Elon’s Center for Access and Success, recognized the benefits of a musical component to the program and teamed with Knight to begin “Music in the Village” in early 2013. Children and their parents will perform a concert this spring to demonstrate their newfound musical abilities.

“The Department of Music is delighted to receive this outstanding recognition on behalf of our music education program,” said Professor Jon Metzger, chair of the Department of Music. “Our music education program continues to enjoy 100 percent placement for its graduates [and] this award confirms the solid high quality of our program.”