Dr. Michael Alexander, an associate professor of string music education in Baylor’s School of Music, has a lot on his plate.
The Houston-area native teaches a full course load (from introductory classes to graduate-level seminars) and also directs the Baylor Campus Orchestra. Yet it might be his work with the little-known Baylor String Project that tipped the scale in his favor and led the Texas Orchestra Directors Association to name Alexander its 2012 Orchestra Director of the Year.
Led by Alexander, the Baylor String Project uses undergraduate students to teach local children how to read music and play a stringed instrument. Baylor students enrolled in string music education classes teach beginning students in the local community, providing the college students with practical experience and giving Waco kids an introduction to music in a way that might not otherwise have been possible. The program began with a grant from the NAMM Foundation and the National String Project Consortium in 2007, Alexander’s second year at Baylor after 22 years teaching orchestra at Stratford High School in Houston.
“It’s very helpful to me to have my student teachers have the opportunity to teach groups before going out into the field,” explains Alexander, “and it serves the community with a lower-cost option to help an underserved population.”
Sic ’em, Dr. Alexander!