CMEA Mentorship Program
An Invitation from CMEA-SBS Mentorship Liaison: Jack Erb
I’ve been doing this job for over 30 years and I still love it. I’ve been doing this job for over 30 years and I’m still learning new things every year. In just the past few months I learned a new way to describe the fragility of a clarinet reed to a beginner. “It’s like a potato chip. It will break very easily if you’re not careful.” My thanks to Christian Tordahl for that one. Sometime in the past couple of years, I learned a concept to help keep my beginning violin players from collapsing their left wrist. It was either Travis Maril (SDSU) or Laura Smith (SDUSD) who shared, “I tell my students I like pancakes, but not with the violin!” The visual is to not have their left hand flat enough to hold a plate of pancakes. So now, all I have to say to my violinists is “No pancakes!” and immediately the left wrists pop back out into their proper place.
The point is this, we all can (and should) continue to learn and constantly give back to our profession by sharing. That is the entire thrust of the CMEA Mentorship Program. The program is designed to pair experienced and successful music education mentor teachers with less experienced music teachers; or even with teachers who might have significant experience but are looking for new strategies; or maybe a teacher who suddenly find themselves in the position of being a “band person” who now has to teach choir. This is exactly what the Mentorship Program is for.
Obviously, there are two parts to this program: the Mentor (let’s call them Obi Wan) and the Mentee (Luke, a long time ago). If you are a “Luke” seeking new tools to add to your toolkit, sharpen or increase your skills, develop your effectiveness, or just learn some new tricks, you need to complete a Mentee Application. If you are an “Obi Wan,” someone with wisdom, strategies, and insights and a willingness to share, you need to complete a Mentor Application. Send your application to Mark Nicholson (see addresses on application forms). Questions? Contact Mark Nicholson, the Chair of the Mentorship Program.
Remember friends, we are our own distinct village of music educators, often teaching in somewhat isolated circumstances. In our case, working together as a village makes all of us better teachers which in turn gives our students a stronger musical education.
Poway Unified School District
San Diego State University