Yael Rothfeld, a part-time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Music and Dance and elementary music teacher at Thurston Elementary School, has been named a semifinalist for the 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.
The Music Educator Award “recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools,” according to the GRAMMY Museum's website.
Rothfeld was named one of 25 semifinalists for this award.
“I was very surprised and honored to be nominated for the award.” Rothfield said. “My school is very supportive of what I do, and I enjoy working with my students, families, teachers, and administrators.”
Rothfeld has worked at Thurston Elementary School in Ann Arbor for 19 years where she teaches music education to young children.
“I enjoy working at the elementary level because most of the time for my students, my class is their first music experience,“ Rothfeld said. "I teach music similarly to how you would teach a language, and the younger my students are, the more they soak up what I teach them. Their progress is fast, and sometimes they can do things that would be difficult to do for adults!”
Music has always been an essential component of Rothfeld’s life, as she began taking piano lessons at the age of 5.
“Even before that, I was plunking around on the piano keys at my home,“ Rothfeld said. "In 5th grade, I joined the band playing the flute. From then on, music played a large part of my life, as I participated in music performances, competitions, musicals, marching band, etc."
Participating in these events has helped shape her into the person she is today. Growing up, her group of friends also participated in band class as well, adding a “layer of fun” as she was able to enjoy the events with her friends around her. Rothfeld enjoys teaching music education to students of all ages.
"One type of lesson I enjoy teaching is where they get to create,“ Rothfeld said. "Whether that is improvisation or composition, I enjoy watching their creativity shine through and see the amazing music that they can create when given a chance.”
Rothfeld’s future plans in regards to music remain optimistic and grateful, regardless of the way things change as the years go by.
"I love the school that I am at and am thankful that I ended up here with my amazing students, colleagues, and families,“ Rothfield said.