Two MMA faculty members attended a music education conference in January.
Rob McGrath and Freddie Lomas, chair of and instructor in MMA’s Fine Arts Department respectively, represented the Academy at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference Jan. 22-25.
The conference, held at Lake of the Ozarks and titled Vision 20/20, focused on examining the future of music education through a child’s eyes.
Lomas presented his MU research project about performance anxiety and fielded several questions from curious music educators. To band and choir directors, McGrath explained the use of major pentatonics and South African tunes by young musicians to access jazz improvisation — a topic he might be invited to turn into a workshop at next year’s conference.
“We both connected with educators from across the state of Missouri, and we both feel that we learned things and grew as a result,” McGrath said.
McGrath and Lomas also witnessed high-quality musicianship from high school bands, university and college ensembles, and professional artists. McGrath even performed with a scratch big band, sight reading new big band charts. He has been invited to play in both St. Louis and Leavenworth as a result of attending the conference.
“It was very inspirational,” McGrath said of the conference overall. “It enthused both of us.”
Below, MeGrath with Conn-Selmer Jazz artist Christopher Burnett.