Maine Strings Roundtable: looking to make significant inroads in increasing strings education in Maine public schools. Here’s how the story begins:
Roundtable Number One
On the occasion of Midori’s visit to Maine, at the invitation of the Bangor Symphony, in March, 2017, MAAE and the BSO collaborated to organize the first “Maine Strings Roundtable,” a chance for the whole spectrum of stakeholders in youth strings engagement and instruction not only to meet Midori, but also to meet each other. Over 30 representatives came from all over the state, representing public and private strings education, youth performance programs and string ensembles large and small that include or provide programming for Maine youth. At the meeting held at Colby College, and hosted by the Music Department, the stakeholders shared their successes and challenges “around the table,” and the group decided to keep the Roundtable idea going.
Second Roundtable, September 2017 at USM
This past September a second Roundtable, hosted by the USM Music Department, focused on the issue of creating and fostering strings programs in Maine public schools and included good input from strings educators themselves, including from Anne Wilkinson, the strings ed teacher at USM and director of strings at Thornton Academy.
Meeting set for April 26th, 2018 at the DOE
The challenges – particularly for band and choral teachers who might want to start strings programs at their schools, and who receive pre-service training in strings, but need more training and ongoing support, will be the subject of a meeting on April 26th at the Maine Department of Education. Hosted by Beth Lambert, Visual and Performing Arts specialist at the DOE, the meeting will include representatives from the USM and UMaine music ed departments and the MMEA, as well as several interested band teachers.
Workshop at MMEA All-State
Anne Wilkinson and Susan Potters will be taking those recommendations to the public school music teachers at this year’s MMEA All-State Festival in May in Orono. They’ll be conducting a workshop session at All-State entitled “Introducing a Strings Program as a Band or Choral Teacher,” where they hope to be able to report on the meeting results and give the teachers an opportunity to give us feedback and ask questions.