The North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) Young Professionals’ Symposium provides junior and senior high school music students interested in pursuing music education studies with specifically tailored sessions and experiences that occur during the NCMEA Annual Conference. Application to the program is advertised on the NCMEA website (www.ncmea.net); through the official state journal, The North Carolina Music Educator; and via the NCMEA High School Section Chairs. Up to twenty-five applicants are accepted, and these individuals must meet four requirements: (1) create a satisfactory résumé of their musical activities, (2) complete an essay titled “My Musical Aspirations,” (3) receive outstanding recommendations from their high school music instructors, and (4) meet the application deadline. Students may attend the symposium only once, and no more than three students from the same school may apply in any particular year.
During the three-day symposium, each participant is paired with a NAfME Collegiate student mentor who accompanies the student throughout the conference. These collegiate mentors provide each participant with a professional peer model to interact with outside the conference sessions. In addition, each high school student participates in mock college auditions and interviews where university faculty members from several North Carolina institutions provide individualized feedback and support. Each participant also actively engages in a choral or instrumental conducting session by conducting a predetermined piece with a high school or collegiate ensemble. Finally, all participants attend other specialized sessions that encompass a variety of topics, have dinner with a keynote speaker, attend the North Carolina High School Honors Chorus and Honors Orchestra Concerts, and visit booths in the exhibit hall to gather more information about specific music education programs. Based on the responses of the participants’ exit surveys, students indicated the Young Professionals’ Symposium is a valuable program that exposes and prepares them for the realities of an undergraduate degree program and a subsequent career in music education.
Chair: Lisa Qualls