In the servant leadership principles taught at the MFA Summer Symposium, leading by example and service to others are core tenets. I, and Music for All, believe that music can truly change the world, and providing a musical experience to others is just one way to do that. We are grateful that our strategic partner, the National Association for Music Education, provides opportunities for service in music for high school students through Tri-M Chapters nationwide. In partnership with MFA Educational Consultant Fran Kick, Lane Velayo and the Indiana Music Education Association (IMEA) and Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, close to 70 students took part in special Tri-M sessions during the Leadership Weekend Experience. The sessions built upon the leadership lessons honed at the Leadership Weekend and provided a framework for leadership training.

trim1IMEA Executive Director Lane Velayo speaks to students in the Tri-M Session

If you’re like me during high school and college, you may be wondering: “What is Tri-M”? Tri-M was founded in 1936 as “Modern Music Masters” and became a program on the National Association for Music Education in 1983. Tri-M Chapters recognize musical and academic achievement among over 6,200 high school students today, additionally providing valuable leadership and service opportunities. In an introductory session with Fran Kick, we learned about the service component of Tri-M and students brainstormed how they could build or improve music service projects in their school. Students had the chance to view and discuss examples of service through music, including the inspiring story of the Franklin H.S. Band providing capes for kids in the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital during their trip to Indianapolis for the Grand National Championships.

trim3Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser and Tri-M Session participants

Even students who did not have Tri-M chapters at their school attended the sessions, as any student can individually or as a collection provide service through music. Schools across the country participate in service projects, no matter their participation in Tri-M. From impromptu performances in an assisted living facility to volunteering at ice cream socials, giving back the community that supported the music program so well was incredibly rewarding.

trim2In a session on Monday morning, students in the Tri-M session received lifelong lessons in communication and motivation in leadership. Students practiced all types of communication: verbal, visual, tactile and intuitive and demonstrated the varying types of motivation including competition, cooperation and creation. Dr. Tim’s powerful take away – “Great leaders create what isn’t” – rang clearly for the group of leaders.

The students them took part in a team –building exercise with Frank Crockett, which displayed the power of careful planning and the importance of engaging all group members to push for their best. The exercise, “key punch” involves participants consecutively hitting a number within an area, but only one person can be within the area at a time. With more numbers than participants and very limited time, the groups worked hard to be successful. While only group was able to achieve the 18-second time limit, each group took away important lessons that will transfer well to build or engage existing Tri-M organizations. Participants learned the importance of effective verbal and nonverbal communication and how essential group encouragement is to success.

trim4Students practice the “key punch” excercise

With engaging sessions that provided applicable takeaways to their own Tri_M or music program, the participating students are more equipped and motivated to make a difference in their own music program and community. Just by sitting in on many of the sessions, I am ready to take action! Following the Symposium, Lane Velayo, Executive Director of IMEA, will be reporting on the ideas and feedback in Washington, D.C. at a national workshop with each of the state music education associations. Already, the students are making difference in Tri-M through music leadership.