Growth of the College Music
Educators Association - Part Two

Notes da Capo" by John L. Puffenbarger

February 2001

Several college music educators at the Higher Education meeting in October, 1946, believed that only heads of state college music departments should be members of the College Music Educators Association (CMEA). However, the majority in attendance favored allowing all music teachers membership, and their proposal was accepted.

Three committees were appointed to study and report the following items: 1) A clarification of the term " conducting" when used as a requirement for state certification of teachers. 2) Teaching loads for college music teachers. 3) Minimum hours for various teaching certificates (teacher training).

The group was satisfied with its progress in the 1946 meeting and decided to meet again in October 1947. This meeting was a complete disaster. The first committee had done nothing about the conducting issue, and the second committee's chairman was unable to attend the meeting, but had reported progress. The chairman of the teacher training committee was also absent. A questionnaire had been mailed, but no report concerning results was made. The committee chairman and secretary resigned because "the group voted to act as a unit in the election of officers rather than accept the suggestions of a nominating committee."

Since there were no committee reports, the group discussed the merits of having a state music supervisor as well as the future relationship of CMEA and WVMEA. (Miriam Gelvin, Gem Huffman, and Clifford Brown later interviewed Dr. Trent, state superintendent of schools, about the possibility of a state supervisor. Miriam reported that "Mr. Trent's consideration was so unsatisfactory that it should not be pursued further at that time.")

ID. Philips, music professor at West Virginia State College, invited the group to hold a spring meeting at his college at Institute. This was an innovative move since West Virginia was still struggling with racial issues, and WVSC was recognized as a black institution. The meeting was held there in spring 1948. By that time, WVMEA had invited the CMEA chairman to serve on the WVMEA Executive Board.

By the time a fourth meeting was held at Fairmont State College in October, 1948, the committees appointed earlier had begun to make progress. Committee members had begun to write positions on conducting credit, voice requirements, string major requirements, and instrument requirements. CMEA was becoming an advocate for strong music programs in the West Virginia public schools.

In later years, CMEA would start the movement to unify all school music organizations by affiliating with MENC and WVMEA. It restarted Notes A Tempo, which had been silent for several years. All editors since then have been college educators (except for John L. Puffenbarger and Becky Taylor). CMEA started the all-state college orchestra in 1950, and the organization assisted WVMEA with its conferences each spring.

In 1990, poor attendance caused CMEA to cease holding meetings. Interest in the organization was lacking. However, it was re-organized in 1996 as the West Virginia College and University Music Teachers Association. Frederick Meyer of West Virginia Institute of Technology was elected president. A college student recital was held in 1998. Five colleges/universities participated in a second student recital on Saturday, March 27, 1999, during the WVMEA conference in Huntington. A Directory of College Music Educators was printed and mailed to all WV college music teachers.

Future plans include a proposal for a web site for the organization. The college student recitals have been successful and will continue. C/UMTA has been an influential voice for music education in the past and will continue to make great contributions in years to come.