After almost a decade as a high school band director, MTSU alumnus John Hazlett has not only shared his expertise with his students; he’s advanced his education at MTSU to better serve them and received recognition for his efforts, most recently being named a CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence for the third time.
“It is a great honor be recognized, and I’m very humbled,” said Hazlett, who brings his passion for music to McGavock High School in Nashville.
“Music enhances the lives of young people every day in and out of the classroom, and music performance and music education play vital roles in the development and enrichment of the human spirit. All students should have that opportunity.”
The CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, created the Music Teachers of Excellence program to recognize the best and brightest music teachers from Nashville and beyond.
A foundation press release says the award recipients demonstrate a dedication to bringing a quality music program to their students that also has an impact on their larger school community.
The 30 most recent CMA Foundation honorees also included three more True Blue alumni: Susan Waters from Brentwood, Tennessee, Evan Burton from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Michael Holland from Smyrna, Tennessee.
Hazlett attended the October awards ceremony at Marathon Music Works in Nashville to receive his accolade, along with $2,500 to invest in his classroom and music program and $2,500 more to use as a personal stipend.
“I haven’t spent the money yet,” Hazlett said recently. “I plan to use the classroom funds for equipment, materials, instruments and other items.”
The music teacher, who again found out via social media that he had won, said the application process for the recognition is lengthy. It requires video samples of his teaching plus recommendation letters from his principal, students’ parents and colleagues.
“I took graduate courses in the evening and taught during the day,” he recalled. “There was some flexibility in terms of scheduling and course offerings.”
Hazlett said the multiple winners from MTSU are proof of the university’s high quality music programs.
“The knowledge and experience gained during my master’s program assisted me in pedagogy and repertoire selection for my classroom program,” he said.
The latest teaching techniques
Craig Cornish, MTSU associate director of bands and a professor in the School of Music, has kept in touch with his former student Hazlett.
“He’s very dedicated, talented and hard-working!” Cornish said. “I thought it (third recognition) well-deserved. I’ve followed his career for about 15 years now.”
Cornish said Hazlett’s multiple recognitions, in addition to the wins of other MTSU alumni over the years, speaks to the quality of the School of Music’s faculty and their talent and success in training and teaching others.
“These students are exposed to the latest teaching and organizational techniques available,” Cornish said, “and programs like the Master of Arts in Instrumental Music Conducting also offer students flexibility like earning a degree without a residency.”
To learn more about undergraduate and graduate opportunities in MTSU’s School of Music, visit its website at www.mtsu.edu/music.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)