A Brief History of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA)
Posted by Michael Ritchie on
The Texas Music Educators Association was originally founded in 1920 under the name “Texas Bandmasters Association” by bandmaster James E. King. King, along with seven other Texas bandmasters, formed TMEA to focus first on administering municipal band contests and later, under the name “Texas Band Teachers Association,” on instruction. The name would change twice more with the inclusion of orchestra directors and choral instructors before becoming the Texas Music Educators Association in 1938.
In 1942, the association adopted a new constitution that would place three administrators on each region contest committee, along with three music educators representing band, orchestra, and choir. Travel and funding were dramatically restricted and contests and conventions were halted because of the war.
Although membership numbers dropped, TMEA rallied for the support and membership of elementary school teachers and increased local festivals in place of state and national conventions and concerts. These eliminated the need to travel and also increased awareness of their mission and involvement within their communities.
During World War II, TMEA also organized Victory Concerts. Victory Concerts were put on to aid in the sale of war bonds and war stamps, and had collectively raised $3 million for the war effort by May of 1943. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., wrote to the association expressing his deep appreciation and acknowledging TMEA’s contribution in “building morale and providing inspiration through good music.”
First Female President
Almost all restrictions on travel, budgets, conventions, and publications had been lifted by 1946, and by 1952, TMEA had grown to almost 600 members with the addition of an elementary division. The TMEA saw its first female president 23 years later, and President-Elect Barbara Eads would be the first of nine female presidents in the TMEA’s hundred years.
TMEA’s annual conference still takes place every February in San Antonio and is known for its continuing education workshops for music teachers, exhibition shows, and various concerts, including a finale performed by All-State groups. The convention also features hundreds of professional development clinics and opportunities to network with the industry’s top musical professionals.
Now the association includes over 12,000 school music educators and is split into five divisions: band, orchestra, vocal, elementary, and college. TMEA continues to offer professional development opportunities and scholarships in addition to encouraging public support for music in schools and developing interaction among students, music education professionals, and others in the industry.