A Message from Michael Pitt, Founder and Chair, New York Citywide Honors Music Festival 


Dear Colleagues,

As a student teacher supervisor of many years standing, I am very aware of the need for us to provide opportunities for future music educators to observe excellent teachers in action.  Reflection upon ones' teaching is the cornerstone not only of EDTPA, but also an ongoing process of any successful practitioner.  The initial step towards developing skill in self observation stems from observing others and reflecting upon what is and has taken place

In my role as Founder and Chair of the New York Citywide Honors Music Festival, I am offering this observation opportunity to your student education students free of charge.  This will be the sixth year of this event, which represents a partnership between the Office of the Arts and Special Projects at the New York City Department of Education and the Music Educators Association of New York City (MEANYC).

The format is similar to an all-county festival in that participants receive their music one month in advance of the event, rehearse on Friday evening, and Saturday morning and give a concert on Saturday afternoon.

This year's event will take place at the Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24.  Rehearsals on Friday will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and resume on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., with the concert to commence at 2:30 p.m.

This year we have almost 400 student participants who have been nominated by 42 high school music teachers in 26 New York City Schools.

The directors who have been engaged for this event, Concert Band: Dr. Beth Peterson, University of Illinois and formerly of Ithaca, NY; Chorus: Jacqueline Bergland, Celia Cruz Bronx High School for Music and Lehman College; String Orchestra: Geraldine Lapierre, Brooklyn Technical High School; Jazz Ensemble: Jason Stuart, Marine Park JHS.

All that is required from you is to send notification to me of the students who will be in attendance and which rehearsal they will be observing.  I would need to receive this information no later than Monday, March 19.  Arrangements to sign for their hours will be made if needed.

Finally, I wish to extend an invitation to you as well.  I have found it hugely powerful when I have stood beside students in such a setting and discussed in real time what techniques they recognize are in use and the real-world application of strategies that I have addressed in class.

From the inception of this event we have been guided by the idea that "If you feed them they will come!"  This has served all of us well in providing a means of networking, talking shop, sharing ideas and experiences freely without a preset agenda for music teachers, department of education staff, NYSSMA, NAFME, et cetera, as well as ourselves at the university level. If indeed you (not your students) will be in attendance, please write back so that we are adequately prepared in the hospitality room where we arrange for a buffet at meal times on both days.

Feel free to share this with your colleagues both within your institution and outside.

Michael Pitt
Founder and Chair New York Citywide Honors Music Festival
(917) 855-2864