It was the Music Educator Award, presented for the first time during Grammy weekend. The award is meant to highlight the crucial role music teachers play in developing new talent. As Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy, put it…
“The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation created this award to highlight the extraordinary influence of music teachers on their students in and beyond the classroom. Many musicians would not be expressing their gift for creativity had it not been for the dedication and encouragement of a music teacher who inspired them to pursue a professional career.”
The first recipient was Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, NY, where he has dedicated 25 years to nurturing young musicians.
Unlike the rest of the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy will solicit nominations for the Music Educator Award from the general public. Quarter finalists will be selected and announced in April, with a group of nine final nominees chosen by a number of Grammy committees later in the year. The deadline to nominate your favorite music teacher in the first round is March 31.
There are four separate nominating processes: self nomination from a teacher, nomination from school administrators, nomination by a member of the Recording Academy, and nomination from the general public (or music student).
This strikes us as a most worthy new award, and we hope that folks in the bluegrass world will get onboard to help someone from our community share in the recognition.
Full details about nominations can be found online.