The Grammys Newest Award Honors Music Teachers: Seven Texans Are Quarterfinalists

The Music Educator Award was created this year by the Grammys to honor educators who have made enduring contributions in the field of music and have proven their dedication to sustaining music in schools. Seven Texas music teachers made the quarterfinals.

Out of 195 cities across 45 sates, a total of 217 music teachers have been announced as quarterfinalists of the award. In total, there were 30 thousand nominated for the award from all 50 states. Music teachers of grades kindergarten through college of private or public schools were eligible for nomination.

The award was announced in February at this year's Grammy Awards by pop icon Justin Timberlake. He welcomed students, parents, friends and colleagues to nominate current music teachers in the United States for the award. Nominated teachers were notified and invited to fill out an application. The deadline for nominations was April 15.

Jo Wallace-Abbie is the Director of Orchestras at Plano West Senior High School, and is one of the seven Texas teachers in the quarterfinals. Though Wallace-Abbie has been with the school since it opened 13 years ago, it was one of her recent students who nominated her for the award. Alex Tayoub came to the school just this year, and is in one of Wallace-Abbie's orchestra classes.

"I was very pleased that someone I had known for a short time thought to do that," Wallace-Abbie said.

Wallace-Abbie has been a music teacher for 34 years now. A musician herself, she has been a violinist for the The Richardson Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. Wallace-Abbie's life dedication to music is what inspires her students.

"I think the award is a wonderful idea," Wallace-Abbie says. "A lot of musicians out there would not have gotten where they are today without crossing paths with a music teacher.

The winner of the award will be chosen from the ten finalists of the competition. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and will attend the 2014 Grammy awards ceremony. The winner will receive a $10,000 honorarium, and the other nine finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium. The schools of all ten finalists will receive matching grants.

The Texas teachers will continue on with the competition as the contestants are narrowed down. The winner will finally be chosen next January.

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