TMEA – the BIG music education event

I’ve been wanting to attend the Texas Music Educators’ Association (TMEA) Convention for a long time now.  I had heard good things from a number of my music technology in education friends and simply wanted to go along to an event of that size.

Just how big is the event?

To put things into perspective, in Australia, most of our music education conferences have around 200-300 delegates at most.  These include the national Orff and Kodaly conferences and our national Australian Music Society for Education conference.  We have one larger conference in Maryborough, Queensland every 2 years which has over 800 people.

TMEA has more than 26,000 attendees, which includes around 9500 music teachers.  The conference program includes 300+ workshops and includes the National TI:ME Music Technology Conference.

And then there’s the Exhibition Hall. I have never seen so many music retailers and wholesalers in one place.  There are over 1000 booths.

Music Technology Sessions at TMEA

Of particular interest to me was the music technology session track (no surprises there!) which is organised by TI:ME – the Technology in Music Education association in the US.  They run a pre-conference day which was attended by around 600 teachers and then run sessions throughout the main convention timetable, alongside the other ensemble and performance-based sessions.

TI:ME is an excellent, supportive organisation of innovative music technology educators who integrate technology in effective, creative ways.  I’ve had “online relationships” with many of these wonderful educators over the past 7 or 8 years, through Twitter, Facebook and my own online courses so it was fantastic to be able to meet many of them in person for the first time (yes, they are all real!).

I reconnected with my good friend and inspiring teacher Barbara Freedman – author of Teaching Music Through Composition: A Curriculum Using Technology and with the gorgeous Amy Burns – an elementary teacher and author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom


I attended range of tech sessions and will likely write more detailed blog posts about some of them in the future! They included the following (links to presenter website or contact information where applicable):

  • Teaching Music History: A New Model Using iPad Technology – Dr Art Brownlow
  • Live Sound and Recording: It’s More Than Plugs and Faders – Mark Lochstampfer
  • Lesson Plans: Elementary General Music Classroom with iPads – Amy Burns
  • Saddle Up Your Music Class: Giddy Up SAMR! – Amy Burns and Cherie Herring
  • Creative Practice And Composition Techniques in Music Technology – Isaac Cotec and Serafin Sanchez (Classtrack)
  • Hip Hop Beat Production for the Music Classroom – Adam Kruse
  • Celebrating and Assessing Creativity – A panel session about assessment which featured a “who’s who” of music tech: Rick Dammers, VJ Manzo, Will Kuhn, Barbara Freedman, Richard McCready, Marjorie LoPresti and Amy Burns
  • Show What You Know: Make It And Take It – Cherie Herring
  • Teaching Music With Technology: Two Approaches – Barbara Freedman and Will Kuhn
  • Technology Tools for Ensemble Conductors – Marjorie LoPresti
  • Music Composition for the Non-Musician – Anne Fennell
  • Double Your Music Enrolment with Music Technology – Will Kuhn

There were lots of other fantastic sessions I didn’t manage to get to, but you can only do so much!

My sessions: GarageBand for iPad and Creating Movie Soundtracks

I presented two sessions – Engaging Lesson Plans for GarageBand for iPad and Creative Movie Soundtracks – Film Scoring Step By Step.

Honestly – I wondered if anyone would show for my first session (Garageband for iPad) which was scheduled at the “pre-dinner drinks” time of 6.30pm on Thursday.  I was so impressed that 90 enthusiastic teachers came along.

My second session – film scoring – was the following morning at 10am (one of the prime timetable spots according to Barb!) and it was extremely well-attended with around 240 teachers joining in.  You can see that there was standing room only in the pictures below.

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I’m really looking forward to going back next year.  Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Download My TMEA Session Notes

If you would like a copy of my session notes, you can download them from this page .

Other posts about TMEA

Isaac Cotec’s post 4 Inspirational Thoughts from TMEA

Amy Burns’ post TMEA/TI:ME 2016 Music Technology in the Elementary Music Classroom