School of Music instructor Michelle Mercier-De Shon has been honored with the 2019 College Music Society Education in Music Award for her work with the music-in-residence project Sound Learning. She was among a group of 24 outstanding educators nationwide to be recognized for this year’s award. The College Music Society promotes music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction. The society’s Education in Music Award is one of the highest university honors that can be bestowed upon a faculty or staff member.
In addition to prestige and recognition, the College Music Society Education in Music Award includes a cash prize for established and on-going, imaginative and effective programs of engagement by higher education music faculty members that further music education with local or area organizations.
Originally developed at the Georgia State University School of Music in 1999 by Dr. David Myers, an internationally regarded music educator and proponent of innovation in higher education, the Sound Learning program strives to provide rich musical experiences for children in underserved schools. The program partners musicians/teaching artists with a grade level of elementary classroom music teachers and students. Together with assistance from Georgia State’s Music Education faculty and Ph.D. graduate assistants in Music Education, the partners develop a residency that is presented to children in grades 1 – 4 at three local Atlanta elementary schools: Drew Charter School, Thomasville Heights Elementary School, and Slater Elementary School. Children learn about music through interactive and vibrant performances, as well as develop projects to showcase how music connects to the elementary curriculum. Funding for Sound Learning is made possible through the support of the East Lake Foundation and the Cousins Foundation.
About this award, Dr. Myers writes, “It is gratifying to see Michelle Mercier-De Shon and Sound Learning nationally recognized by the College Music Society for their community engagement work. Today and tomorrow’s musicians must know how to be community leaders who bring the values of music to an increasingly diverse population. Michelle and her colleagues, with the support of the East Lake Foundation and the Cousins Foundation, have helped assure a well-rounded education that includes music for thousands of Atlanta-area students, as well as the opportunity to know and understand professional musicians on a personal level. Many partnerships of this nature live a relatively short life as personnel and circumstances change. Sound Learning, under Michelle’s leadership, has shown real ‘staying power’ and the ability to transcend change and assure ongoing learning value. As the founder of the program, I could not be more proud of or more grateful for Michelle and all those who have worked to assure that Sound Learning is a continuing program.”