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APSU music education students attend state conference


            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – “Think Music. Think Austin Peay.” That’s the motto of the Austin Peay State University Department of Music, and earlier this year, Dr. Eric Branscome, coordinator of music education at APSU, decided to remind his students what exactly those five words meant.

            “For the longest time, we have not had students in music education participate in many of the local or state-wide music education events,” he said. “My soapbox to the students has been, it’s hard to ‘think music, think Austin Peay’ when Austin Peay is not involved in the music education community.” 

            Last month, six APSU music education students – Cierra Hayes, Heath Rives, Shelby Fultz, Joshua Underwood, Noah Taggart and Sid Barker – took up Branscome’s challenge of getting out into the community by attending a statewide kick-off event at Cumberland University for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). It was the first time APSU students attended the event. Branscome also attended and led a workshop on the state’s teacher licensure exam.

            “NAfME is the nation’s professional organization for music teachers,” Branscome said. “Our students get the professional development, they get the knowledge from attending the workshops. And, they get to network.”

            The Collegiate NAfME statewide kickoff was the first of three events APSU music education students plan to attend this year. At the end of the month, about 10 students will travel to Nashville for the National Association for Music Education’s National Conference. In April, several students and APSU’s Chamber Singers will attend the state’s Music Education Convention in Memphis.

            “We’re doing everything we can to make sure they get down there because we’re trying to get our students out there in the public,” Branscome said.

            For more information on these events or APSU’s music education program, contact Branscome at