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Melissa Salguero Receives 2018 Music Educator Award
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives. This year, that special teacher is Salguero.
Salguero has been teaching music at P.S. 48 Elementary School since 2010. Her goal is to foster creativity, curiosity and a strong work ethic in her students through the power of music. Salguero was honored as the Lincoln Center Arts Teacher of the Year in 2013. In 2014, after P.S. 48 suffered a break-in, Salguero was invited to represent the school on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Last year she was a semifinalist for the 2017 Music Educator Award.
"My parents started this love for music for me when I was very little," Salguero said at the GRAMMY In The Schools Live! GRAMMY Week event where she was recognized on Jan. 25. "They bought me this little piano and I learned so many songs on it. And then they bought me a guitar and they kind of supported my musical instrument addiction really. I just kept learning. They let me learn at my own pace — they didn't force me to do anything. And really that developed into such a love for music."
Like many inspirational music teachers, Salguero had a mentor of her own who helped cultivate her love and appreciation for music.
"Miss Bower, she was my fifth-grade teacher all the way from elementary school," said Salguero on her mentor. "I really struggled with school when I was little. I wasn't really confident in myself. I was so shy and I didn't believe I could do anything. … She taught me to believe in myself and it really sparked a passion for helping other people. And now her effect on me is transferring to my students."
On the most important piece of wisdom she wants to pass on to students, she reminds them that not only is practice key, but it's always a rehearsal for a performance.
"You're gonna practice is the way you're gonna perform, that's my motto," said Salguero. "When you're in the practice room and you've got bad posture, that's how you're going to perform. Every time you pick up your instrument is like if you're on the stage. Being a musician is about habits and building that endurance and all the things you need to be successful."
As the 2018 Music Educator Award honoree, Salguero will be in New York City, the host city of the 60th GRAMMY Awards, where she will be recognized during GRAMMY Week, attend the 60th GRAMMY Awards ceremony on Jan. 28 and a range of GRAMMY Museum events. In addition, she will receive a $10,000 honorarium with matching school grants. For Salguero, the chance to be recognized in her home state is especially satisfying.
"This is one of the most epic moments of my life," said Salguero. "My dream was to teach in a city that loved and cherished music. To be honored in New York City as a New York teacher, this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life."