Michele Slone, a music educator at Urbana Elementary School, has been selected as a quarterfinalist for the 2023 Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.
In total, nearly 1,500 initial nominations were submitted and she is one of 270 music teachers from 180 cities across the United States to be considered to win the award this year.
The semifinalists will be announced in September.
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators – kindergarten through college, public and private schools – who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.
Slone and her students can be seen throughout the community. Third, fourth and fifth grade students perform annually for their parents where students demonstrate their learning in a grade level program with singing, signing, dancing and expression of music through art.
During these performances, Slone provides an opportunity for students taking private music lessons to perform as well for their peers and families. Each performance concludes with students performing a song in sign language. The fourth graders have also been seen signing the National Anthem at a Friday night football game at Hillclimber Stadium with the Urbana High School Marching Band.
Slone has helped students realize the real-world connections with music by arranging Zoom interviews with former Broadway actors/actresses and other music-related careers. Under the direction of Slone, students have an opportunity to audition for two after-school groups – Let’s Jam! Show Choir and Melody Makers Hand Chime Choir – that rehearse weekly and then perform throughout the community at different events. Some of these performances have been done at Champaign County YMCA events, Champaign County Public Library Summer Reading Kick-Off and Champaign County Relay for Life.
Her commitment to her students isn’t just for the years that she is their teacher. Her commitment to students is for a life-time. She has been seen at the high school musicals, high school and college graduation parties, and a variety of non-profit, volunteer-fueled organizations to improve the quality of lives of children affected by diseases like Childhood Diabetes and Crohn’s/Colitis, which have touched the lives of her students over the years.
Amy Hegyi, parent of a former student, said: “I appreciate the way Mrs. Slone cultivated and nurtured my daughter’s love for ALL music.”
Additional information can be found at the following website: https://www.grammy.com/news/2023-music-educator-award-quarterfinalists-announced-grammy-museum-2023-grammys-week.