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Music education students top national competition
Lisa Pendergast
Music Education Students

Memorial University music education students once again take the top prizes in the undergraduate section of the National Canadian Music Educators' Association Essay Competition.

First place went to Alyssa Hodder and second place was a three-way tie which included Memorial students Jonathan Hicks and Evan Harte. Ms. Hodder and Mr. Hicks are both completing the bachelor of music conjoint with bachelor of music education degree and Mr. Harte is completing the bachelor of music education as a second degree after already completing a bachelor of music.

The Canadian Music Educators’ Association (CMEA) sponsors two student essay competitions each year, the Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Essay Competition and the Dr. Franklin Churchley Graduate Essay Competition. The essay competitions are offered to all Canadian undergraduate and graduate students studying worldwide. Essays can be submitted in either French or English and are judged in a blind review process by nationally recognized scholars in the field of music education. The jurors reviewed 24 undergraduate papers this year.

“I was delighted to hear that I won first place in the competition,” said Ms. Hodder. “I chose a topic that was particularly relevant and interesting to me, so I strived to make it the best essay that I possibly could. It was very rewarding to hear that all of my hard work had paid off in such a big way.”

The inspiration for Ms. Hodder’s essay titled, “Music Performance Anxiety and Adolescents: How can Teachers Help?” stemmed from her experiences as a music educator, both during her internship and through teaching music privately.

“Many students of mine have experienced feelings of nervousness before, but what these students experienced was much more severe,” said Ms. Hodder. “The goal of my essay was to explore music performance anxiety from a teacher's perspective in order to develop strategies that I, and other music educators, can use with students.”

Mr. Harte’s essay titled, “Music Performance Anxiety: Exorcising the Demons,” also focused on music performance anxiety and how it affects many students in Canadian public schools. Mr. Harte shared the unique perspective of someone who has experienced this anxiety firsthand.

“Not only does my essay draw from the research of others, it also includes a look into my own head as I share my own experiences, not only with music performance anxiety, but with general anxiety as well,” said Mr. Harte. “Anxiety is a demon. Only through the techniques offered in my essay can teachers exorcize it from their classrooms.”

Mr. Hicks feels that there is too much emphasis on winning contents and festivals in music education and not enough time is spent fostering motivation within each student. His essay titled, “Intrinsic Motivation: A Key Component of Student Learning in the High School Band,” explores what kind of classroom environment can help to motivate students, as well as techniques that music educators can use to help students find this motivation.

“When a music educator instills intrinsic motivation within a student, the student becomes motivated to become a better musician because of their own drive and determination,” said Mr. Hicks. “This type of motivation is what will lead students to have a life-long love for music and lasts much longer than the short spurts of extrinsic motivation they get from wanting to win a competition.”

Dr. Andrea Rose, professor with the Faculty of Education, was the faculty advisor for all three winning essays.

Memorial University Bachelor of Music Education students have consistently been successful in this competition, with 32 award winners since its inception in 1994. Please visit for additional information on the Canadian Music Educators’ Association.


Jul 22nd, 2015

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