NORMAN — Within the walls of Sandy Knudson’s classroom, young minds blossom as they explore music.
It’s a task Knudson, a Norman Public School music educator currently teaching at Adams Elementary, takes seriously and one she’s been recognized for recently as an Oklahoma Music Educators Association 2013 Hall of Fame recipient.
During her acceptance speech at the OMEA conference in Tulsa in January, Knudson said she is frequently asked why she teaches elementary music.
“Because I work with young children, I have the privilege of laying foundations. Because we practice using our right and left hands and feet and work on beat competence, band directors have a marching band,” she replied. “Because we dance and listen to the ‘Nutcracker’ and other beautiful classic pieces, the high school orchestra can play them.
“Because we help students find a singing voice and teach them how to navigate an octavo, choir directors have an ensemble. There is nothing more delightful than to nurture the musical spirit of children or see the brightness in their eyes. Every day, we serve an extravagant feast for the musical palette. What could be better?”
The OMEA recognition is the highest state honor in the music education profession. Knudson was selected for her passion for mentoring teacher candidates and colleagues as well as her tireless efforts to music education and appreciation inside and outside the classroom.
In addition to being a full-time teacher, Knudson has had an extensive list of accomplishments, including acting as the artistic director of Norman Children’s Chorus; serving as co-chair of the Music and Conductor Committee for the NPS All-City Fifth-Grade Concert, president of the Oklahoma Kodály Educators and a member of the National Choir Committee; being guest conductor for honor choirs in Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Kentucky; and being guest conductor throughout Oklahoma at Circle the State with Song festivals.