Mr. Michael Blostein, Director of Instrumental Music at Averill Park High School, has been named a quarterfinalist of the 2022 Grammy Museum’s Music Educator Award.
The Award is presented by the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum, recognizing current educators 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 the schools.
“We are very proud of Mr. Blostein and the work that he has done in the music department,” Averill Park CSD Superintendent Dr. James Franchini said. “During this challenging pandemic year, he has stepped up and created lasting memories for students who missed out on many of the traditional milestones. This honor, of course, will not come as a surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of having Mike as a teacher or have had their child in his classroom. His passion and dedication are second to none.”
A total of 219 music teachers from 204 cities were chosen as quarterfinalists.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” Mr. Blostein said. “I am definitely not one of the top 219 music educators in the country. There are thousands of incredibly talented and phenomenal music educators who go unrecognized throughout the country.”
Mr. Blostein is in his 21st year of teaching in the Averill Park Central School District, all of which have been spent in the high school. This year, specifically, has been a challenging one for him.
“This year has been exhausting, but we knew after the spring of 2020 that we needed to keep an energy and drive in the music program for many reasons, as well as a positive environment,” he said. “So, everything we have done has been to create that type of positive, energetic feel.
“This has worked, but it’s also taken a toll. It required giving up the entirety of last summer for planning and preparation, learning about COVID-19 and how to deal with it in multiple facets, planning and implementing strategies for how to play during a pandemic. No one had ever done this before, so we were in good company and all learning together.”
Throughout the year, Mr. Blostein and the music department have gotten creative. Instead of a fall concert, students created a CD that could be listened to at home, in the car, or online. In the spring, the department conducted two outdoor concerts, one in the parking lot and one on the football field. Both were done for the first time ever at APHS.
“The students and families have been wonderful, as has the entire school community,” Blostein said. “We’re beyond thrilled that we were able to maintain a high level of musicality and learning throughout what has been the most challenging year for education any of us can remember.
“The credit for this (award) really belongs to the students who took a chance and stuck with the program in a really uncertain year,” he added.
Fifteen semifinalists will be named from the group and 10 finalists will then compete for the ultimate award, which will be announced in 2022.