Having served morning duty, a meeting during planning period, six classes, and an hour-long meeting after school…. I should be exhausted, but as I type this, I am still pumped up from the after-school Tri-M meeting – a packed room of happy band, chorus and orchestra students and teachers who all share the love of making music! The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music honor society for middle and high school students. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. We all know that some of the hardest-working students in any school are those who are involved in musical ensembles.
Tri-M, a program of NAfME, has been in existence for over sixty years and is an excellent way to honor those students and show that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. “If we strive to cultivate musical sensitivity and perception in our students, we must likewise give adequate recognition for their efforts and achievements, and we must inspire them to strive for higher goals. In what better way than by bestowing upon them life membership in a worldwide honorary organization for musical youth?”— Alexander Harley, Tri-M founder
Through more than 5,500-chartered chapters, Tri-M has helped thousands of young people provide years of service through music in schools throughout the world. Tri-M is a way to bring students together and celebrate their commonalities. At many schools, the band, chorus and orchestra students do not have consistent opportunities to work together. Tri-M meetings provide opportunities for students to gain leadership experience and plan service projects. It is also very likely that you can tap into resources in your own community to find professional musicians, church musicians, instrumentalists and vocalists from military organizations, music store managers, composers, college teachers, community music leaders and many others who would be willing to come speak at a Tri-M meeting. Students are fascinated to hear about how these individuals started off studying music, and their experiences that led them to choose to continue in music. If you are currently a Tri-M chapter sponsor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can put together a database of chapter contacts. If we all share ideas about service projects and meeting activities, we can make all of our chapters stronger. Also, I would like to plan an informal meeting during the SCMEA conference. I’ll send information in an email message as we get closer to February. Learn more about Tri-M, or as members you can tap into the resources on the NAfME website at www.musichonors.com.
Mary Lou Schweickert is the band teacher at Hand Middle School, and the state chair for Tri-M Music Honor Society.