CJUSD music teacher earns prestigious state award

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Photo CJUSD: Elementary music teach Vanessa Duckworth is being recognized as the California State Music Educators’ Association Elementary Music Specialist of the Year; this award is bestowed to one educator in the state each year.
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Congratulations to Elementary Band Teacher Vanessa Duckworth, who has been selected as the California State Music Educators’ Association (CMEA) Elementary Music Specialist of the Year.  This award is only given to one elementary music educator in the state annually. The award recognizes excellence in elementary instrumental and choral music instruction.

Mrs. Duckworth will receive her award at a virtual ceremony in February as part of the California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC).

Annually the California Music Educators’ Association (CMEA) asks for nominees for a variety of award categories.  These include one award each for excellence in teaching at elementary, middle school, high school, and collegiate levels, administration, elementary classroom/general music, jazz, orchestra, and the music industry.  A full list of the awards can be found at: https://calmusiced.com/membership-services/state-awards/ 

Mrs. Duckworth, who has taught in our district since 2002, currently teaches band to 5th and 6th grade students and recorders to 4th grade students at Crestmore, Grant, Grimes, Rogers, and Zimmerman elementary schools.  She said she is honored by the recognition and loves her job.

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“I love teaching elementary music because I see so much untapped potential in this age group.  They are just starting to experience the freedom to choose the groups or teams where they would like to participate.  Not every student that passes through an elementary music program is going to become a musician.  But every student who decides to play an instrument needs to receive a strong musical foundation that can carry them through years of music education if this is where their passion lies,” she said. “I have the honor and privilege of taking their excitement of playing an instrument for the first time and hopefully teaching them how music can impact their lives.  Even if a student does not continue in band in middle school, they should leave with a basic knowledge of how music works that will give them a greater appreciation of the music they interact with throughout their lives.  I love watching our students grow in music as they learn more about their instrument and their playing improves.  I love the passion and excitement they bring when they first start playing an instrument.  It is something that has become even more prevalent in Distance Learning.  Our students, with only an hour a week of live instruction, are making music.  They are excited when they learn a new skill and enjoy competing against one another to become better musicians.  They are learning perseverance, responsibility, and dedication through music, and I am honored and privileged to be able to guide them along the way.”

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