The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 15, 2022 12:04 pm

State music conference returns

PAUL WYCHE | The Journal Gazette

Band director Josh Weirich frowns on prima donna performances.

The Fort Wayne native encourages his music students to hone their individual skills while remembering the importance of working as a unit.

"Band emphasizes that more than many subjects," said Weirich, a Northrop High School alum now music department chairman at Zionsville Middle School.

"It's not just about the individual, it's about belonging to a bigger group."

Weirich performed with the Homestead High School Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, the final day of the Indiana Music Education Association's annual professional development conference that began Thursday at Grand Wayne Center.

About 800 educators from across the state attended the gathering that featured band and choral performances by some of Indiana's top music students.

Conference attendees participated in seminars, talks and breakouts that sought to provide enrichment and professional development.

Indiana Music Education Association President Julie Heath Reynolds said after last year's virtual event it was good to have our "personal cups refilled."

"There's something to be said about this kind of interaction," she said. "Being able to reconnect with colleagues is important, and it was nice for the students because for many of them it's been a whole year without doing concerts."

For Lisa Brooks, the music conference was a chance to offer her insights as an outsider. She is the dean of the Jordan College of the Arts at Butler University.

Brooks often visits schools as part of her duties. She presented "Imaginative Bowing," which focused on the basic elements of sound production.

"I can share a different perspective with them," Brooks said. "This really is community building and an exchange of ideas."

Kevy Bailey is a graduate student at Butler University. She wants to teach music to grade school students.

"That's when it begins," Bailey said. "It has to start with the enjoyment of music not just the hounding of getting it perfect."

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