By Ty San Andres/reporter
The acronym TMEA is rather infamous throughout the music industry. Standing for Texas Music Educators Association, the importance of this organization is recognized across all music majors and aspiring educators, including those at TCC.
Every year, TMEA has their annual four-day convention in San Antonio. This year the convention was Feb. 13-16.
NE music instructor and department chair Gerald Ringe said TCC is happily involved in this event.
“We are fortunate to live in Texas,” Ringe said.
An event that gathers musicians and music educators from across the nation is held so close to home. This opportunity is unparalleled for aspiring music educators and musicians alike, and the NE music department students and faculty are participating as they have done for years.
Students are encouraged to attend, as it is “very important for people who want to be music educators,” Ringe said. He attests that the music world is rather small, and that “this provides a door step” for aspiring students to get connected with like-minded individuals pursuing the same goals.
Furthermore, the reason behind TMEA’s reverence lies in their mission to provide a “place for music education and art instruction.” By representing the fine arts, the association allows for music to thrive in Texas.
NE Campus has been taking choral students to TMEA in order to participate in the all-state ensemble for years. However, instrumentalists have only been participating for 4 years.
Despite being a rather new tradition, for NE student and aspiring music educator Raquel Rodriguez, she said the pressure is immense. Not only will she experience the largest music educator convention in the nation, but she will also audition for the all-state band.
This year was the largest in terms of TCC participation, having 19 brave students audition. The competition is the fiercest in the nation, being that TMEA is “the mothership” of all the music associations, Ringe said.
Preparation for the audition starts months in advance, with students working diligently on achieving nuance in their music, while simultaneously focusing on their academics. When asked how she felt about the upcoming audition, Rodriguez responded, “nervous, of course.”
Keeping up with her schoolwork on top of grueling practice schedule is a hard task, and the nerves come naturally.
“I try to practice every day, it is hard though,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has never failed to realize the value of musical education. The NE music department has done a lot for her, providing a very accepting environment with like-minded, and supportive peers.
“It’s really broadening my thinking,” Rodriguez said.
Others at the NE music department go to the convention, simply provided that it is such a great opportunity.
Taryn Stroman, a music composition major at NE Campus said she enjoys attending the event and does her best to support her peers who are going through the audition process.
“We’re like one big family,” Stroman said.
Stroman and her peers are fortunate enough to live in a place where musical achievement is at a pinnacle, and they intend to take full advantage of the experience. Not everyone going to the convention will be auditioning, but the NE music department participates in solidarity.
As a musician herself, Stroman strives to improve her craft. Although she is not auditioning, going to the event alone allows her to experience best musicians from across the country. With attentive ears, she hopes gauge herself comparatively as a musician, as well as reinvigorate her passion for music.