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All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

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TCU music students attend nation’s largest convention for music educators

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The TCU School of Music recruits at a booth in the convention center. (@tcumusic on Instagram)

The TCU Symphony Orchestra was invited for the fourth time to perform at the nation’s largest convention for music educators, but TCU music students have been attending for years.

Held in San Antonio’s Henry B. González Convention Center, the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) annual convention has seen over 25,000 in attendance in recent years.

From February 7-10, TCU music students attended the convention to hear great music, attend music education clinics and network with music professionals.

“I’d say first and foremost, it’s a networking opportunity,” said Sean Atkinson, the director of the TCU School of Music. “But second, you know, we encourage all the music ed students that go down to attend all those clinics to really get an outside perspective of things they might try when they are in the classroom.”

For some TCU music students, there was a third opportunity this year, as the members of the TCU Symphony Orchestra were invited to perform.

While the convention holds more than 100 performances by elementary to professional-level musicians, the invitation to collegiate ensembles is a selective audition process, said Germán Augusto Gutiérrez, the director of the TCU Symphony Orchestra.

“We’ve been invited four times to perform at TMEA which is beautiful because, with so many universities, to be invited—our last performance was 2019—we must be doing something incredible,” Gutiérrez said.

He also said he was very aware that the orchestra’s performance could be used as a recruiting tool. Many high schoolers from all parts of Texas attend TMEA to be a part of 18 selective All-State ensembles.

The TCU School of Music has a booth every year in the convention center to recruit high school performers, Atkinson said.

Guttiérrez said he picked the orchestra’s program to showcase the skills of the students and professors, but also to represent many composers.

“There was a great variety of the repertoire in talking about diversity,” he said. “I told the lady who presented the orchestra that the TCU symphony is really an international orchestra, you know? We have a student from 14 different countries, so that was great to show.”

 

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While the whole orchestra does not attend TMEA every year, the members of the TCU Music Educators Organization (MEO) do.

“It was a really great experience,” said the president of MEO, Nikkie Galindo, a music education major and a member of the TCU Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m actually in my final semester of the music ed degree, so I’m student teaching right now,” she said. “So, this year, it was really a valuable experience, because I was able to go to the convention with questions that I have just from being out in the schools and teaching this semester and go with specific objectives in mind.”

MEO funds the trip by fundraising and charging member dues.

According to TMEA attendance records, over 3,000 college students attend the convention along with around 10,000 active music educators.

Students and alums of the TCU percussion studio gather at the TCU reunion at TMEA. (Adrianna Martinez)

Atkinson said more than 100 TCU students and alumni went to a TMEA TCU reunion. Many alumni were there to take their All-State students to perform or were presenting at the convention.

He said the reunion was another chance for current TCU music students to network.

Some music classes do not meet during the TMEA convention because so many TCU professors and students go to perform and network.

But Atkinson said it is ultimately worth it every year.

“It’s a small sacrifice in the spring semester that has huge payoffs for the health and the longevity of the program,” he said.

MEO plans to attend next year’s convention. Gutiérrez said he hopes the TCU Symphony Orchestra will be invited again in future years as guest performers.

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