Why Not Try Tri-M?

by Patsy Koppeis, Tri-M National Chairperson

I probably would not be writing about Tri-M if I had not been exposed to Modern Music Masters (Tri-M) in my high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was historian for my chapter and remember the recital and end-of-year barbecue.

I had never planned to become a musician or teacher while in high school. It was in college that I kept being drawn to music and knew I must choose that career. Was it experiences in Tri-M and my high school, concerts in my youth orchestra, or summer music camps that influenced me the most? I think it was a combination of all those experiences, plus teachers through the years that directed my path.

So, what am I encouraging you to do now? Start a Tri-M chapter, sponsored by MENC, at your school. Tri-M is the international music honor society, and it has more than 4,400 chartered chapters worldwide.

If I did not feel so strongly about having a Tri-M chapter in your school, I would not encourage you to do this. There are many valid reasons to give it a try at your school:

If your school has a National Honor Society, then your school could easily add Tri-M, as there are many parallels between these two honor societies.
Tri-M gives national recognition to your finest music students.
Tri-M brings the three groups—band, orchestra, and chorus—together and makes one music department.
Tri-M members can take on responsibilities that the music faculty would have to do.
Tri-M encourages community service.
Tri-M builds student leadership.
Tri-M gives students more opportunities to perform solos and participate in small ensembles.
So, why not try Tri-M? It is relatively easy. The advisor must be a member of the school music faculty. Just fill out and send in the activation form with your payment. The Tri-M manual, which you’ll receive once you’ve activated for the year, is full of suggestions for your chapter. Also, other Tri-M advisors are always happy to share ideas, and I am just a phone call or e-mail away. Some schools rotate the advisors each year, others have one teacher become the advisor, and some have a primary advisor with co-advisors.

If you are still not convinced, I would like to give one more personal bit of testimony. Since we have had Tri-M at my high school, Syosset High School, in Syosset, New York, we have seen a consistent level of outstanding musicianship in all our music students Did our teachers get better? (I hope we always do that!) Did our facilities improve? Or, did our students influence each other?

I really think that giving students the chance to cross over those boundaries of band, orchestra, and chorus to become one music department made a big difference. Students learn the most by interacting with student role models and seeing what they can accomplish. Tri-M promotes student leadership, and that influences the whole music department.

So, why not get Tri-M into your school and community today?