Happy Trails, Retirees! PMEA Retired Members Rock-On!

Have You Heard These?

  • Old composers never die, they just decompose.
  • Old performers never die, they just go out of tune.
  • Old musicians never die, they just go from bar to bar.
  • Old musical producers never die, they just make a big production out of it.
  • Old band nerds never die, they just leave after halftime.
  • Old music teachers never die, they just lose their class.
  • Old rockers never die, they just shake, rattle, and roll.
  • Old lighting directors (or sound engineers) never die, they just fade away.
  • Old singers never die, they just perform another encore. 
  • Old conductors never die, they just lose their place.
  • Old string players never die, they just get strung out.
  • Old jazz artists never die, they just play on and on.

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” – Abe Lemons

Filling Up and Fulfilling Bucket Lists

Retirement is a journey, offering another roadway towards self-realization. You would expect to see any retired person enjoying the fruits of his/her career-long labor by “taking a break” – exploring travel, sightseeing, fitness training, sports, gardening, home improvements, reading, babysitting grandchildren, rescuing a pet, volunteering, attending concerts/musicals/movies, discovering and developing new hobbies/skills/talents, hanging out with former coworkers – you name it! Retired music educators are no different! However, one advantage of being in the profession of teaching creative self-expression is that it was never “just a job.”

And the music goes on and on…

Many Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) retired members remain active after they leave their full-time public/private school teaching positions. Numerous opportunities inspire retirees to continue making significant contributions to music and education. If you can actually catch-up with a former music teacher (they are usually very busy), he or she might be in the middle of participating in any number of Performing Arts or educational activities:
  1. PMEA state or local leadership position such as council representative or elected office.
  2. Full or part-time higher education instructor in music education methods, or supervisor of student teaching.
  3. Assistant director, guest conductor, or section coach for marching or concert bands, orchestras, choirs, chamber groups, jazz ensembles, dance or drama productions.
  4. Soloist, accompanist, and/or performer in community instrumental or choral ensembles at local community events, businesses, senior centers, and other venues.
  5. Music judge, clinician and/or director of PMEA adjudications, PMEA performance festivals, or commercial contests or competitions.
  6. Representative for local music store assisting on rentals and repairs of band and orchestra instruments.
  7. Private or class instructor of voice, instrument, or dance.
  8. Composer, accompanist, or music arranger for school music ensembles and concerts.
  9. Workshop presenter, clinician, presiding chair, sergeants-of-arm, registration aide, or volunteer at state and local music conferences.
  10. Writer of articles for local and state music publications, blogs, or other media.
  11. Advocate for arts education and the importance of creative self-expression, contacting local decision-makers and state legislators.
  12. Informal adviser and consultant assisting other music educators in the field, facilitated by joining the PMEA Retiree Resource Registry.


PMEA Retiree Resource Registry

Unveiled in February 2015 and based on PMEA Retired Members’ online survey responses, the Retiree Resource Registry (R3) and R3 Help Index archive a comprehensive record of music teacher retirees’ present and past job assignments, history of career achievements and awards, current professional music and music education activities, and special talents and interests. The registry serves as a “who’s who” directory of past leaders in PA music programs, as it documents the amazing contributions of some of the still most active albeit retired PMEA members. The R3 shares this vast wealth of the PMEA Retired Member experiences and expertise in order to offer the entire PMEA membership access to a list of very willing and capable informal advisers or consultants if anyone needs “free” (but priceless) help on a specific topic.

RVolunteer Areas

Help categories on survey (see R3 Help Index): accompanist, adjudications, arts advocacy, assessments, auditions, band, booster groups, chamber music, chaperoning, choral, choreography/dance, coaching, community ensembles, composing/arranging, core arts standards, curriculum writing, Dalcroze/eurhythmics, early childhood/pre-school, festival preparation, fund-raising, general music, guest conducting, guest lecturing, higher education, hosting a festival, instrument repair, instrument sales, jazz, Kodaly, leadership training, marching band, music appreciation, music theory, musicals, Orff, panel discussions, PCMEA/teacher training/mentoring, professional development, research, strings, technology, traveling/tours, voice, webinars, world drumming, and writing for PMEA News.


As of April 20, 2105, the R3 has the following statistics:

  • Number of Retired Members in Registry = 101
  • Expertise/interest in vocal music = 40%
  • Expertise/interest in instrumental music = 75%
  • Expertise/interest in classroom music = 46%
  • Expertise/interest at elementary level = 69%
  • Expertise/interest at middle school level = 76%
  • Expertise/interest at high school level = 78%
  • Expertise/interest at higher education level = 31%

Making Use of the Registry

To take advantage of this service, go to the retired member section of the PMEA state website and download the current R3 and R3 Help Index, both documents being updated periodically to reflect new/changed data received: http://www.pmea.net/retired-members/. Start with the R3 Help Index to peruse possible candidates. To help match your needs with potential retired “go‐to people,” the index is sorted by volunteer subject areas. Look up these names in the alphabetical main registry to find the retirees’ specific details, contact information, personal focus and specialties, and subjects they would be willing to provide assistance.

PMEA Retired Members: If you have retired from full‐time teaching, are willing to stay involved in PMEA, and want to join this prestigious list, please go to the PMEA website or this direct link: https://pmea.wufoo.com/forms/pmea-retiree-resource-survey/.

Freedom! It’s Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This!

The skies are the limit! Retirement provides the time for retirees to pursue their passions! Examine your “expressive roots!” What inspired you to choose a career in music? Refocus on some aspect of the creative realm, such as singing or playing your major instrument, or something new! What are you waiting for? Go out and realize your dreams!


© 2015 Paul K. Fox

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