So you have decided to join the Tri-M Music Honor Society family, so now what? How do we select our membership? How do we select our board? When do we hold meetings? What kind of activities do we schedule? This quick start article can help you answer all of these questions and get your chapter up and running.
Selecting Members: Go to the NAfME website to find the National Tri-M Guidelines for membership selection. Please note that there are a few changes to the national guidelines for Tri-M for the 2018-2019 school year. The change in GPA requirements for membership stated below. The rest of the changes are marked in red on the Tri-M Website.
- Academic Achievement—Candidates must have maintained for the previous semester at least an A average grade or equivalent in music, with at least a B average grade or equivalent in other academic subjects. Local chapters may make exceptions to these requirements at the discretion of the chapter advisor with school principal’s approval.
Induction Ceremony: If you are just getting started and want to make sure you have fully inducted members before they start doing activities with your Tri-M chapter, you may choose to hold a fall induction ceremony. Some chapters make every effort to have a formal ceremony and invite a guest speaker or administrator to participate in their induction ceremony. Other chapters choose to have smaller informal ceremonies with just their membership. Chapters sometimes choose a fall induction to start the year off for their membership while others allow members and inductees to participate in activities throughout the year with a spring induction ceremony that may include a pre-contest recital for students participating in solo and small ensemble contest. Select an option that best fits your chapter’s needs and schedule.
Selecting your board: Once your membership is up and running, now it is time to select a board. Board selection can be specialized to your school and chapter dynamics. Standard positions include President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian. Adding positions of Band, Choir and Orchestra liaisons or grade-level class representatives to ensure equal representation of your schools music department on the board, if your membership numbers allow, is an option as well. If your chapter is just starting out, the advisor may choose to appoint these positions or hold them up to a vote. Some chapters choose to elect all positions while others choose to elect the President or President-Elect position in lieu of a Vice President. The President-Elect is a junior who will serve as President their senior year. Some chapters elect all positions while others choose to elect the President-Elect or President positions and have the graduating president, incoming president and incoming president-elect appoint the board from interested candidates.
Holding Meetings and Communicating with your Tri-M Chapter: Now that you have members and your board selected when do you hold meetings? For some districts it works well to allow clubs to hold meetings during built-in seminar or activity periods, while others do not, or that seminar time is scheduled at a time when the chapter advisor is teaching in another building. You may not need to meet regularly to communicate with your chapter but instead meet for activities and use Google Classroom to communicate with your students. You can set-up announcements, email students recommendation forms for membership, create assignments to RSVP for activities even create order forms for t-shirts or other items.
Robert’s Rules of Order: Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapters should follow Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules of Order allow chapter meetings to function in a respectful and organized manner. While the entire process of conducting a meeting with Robert’s Rules of Order can seem overwhelming, helping students understand the basic principles can help your meetings run in a smooth and respectful manner. Teaching your executive committee to call a meeting to order, make a motion to discuss and vote on meeting topics and conclude a meeting is a good place to start. For detailed information on Robert’s Rules of Order please visit https://robertsrules.org/rulesintro.htm
Activities and Service Projects: Start small. Hold an introductory meeting and host one social event and one service event per semester. Coordinate efforts around events you already do. Have your Tri-M chapter members coordinate a reception for your patrons after your concerts. Band students can help serve for the choir concert and choir students can return the favor at the band concert. Do you already have a parent booster group that takes care of that for you? Have your Tri-M students reach out to them and offer assistance with set-up, serving or clean-up. Have your Tri-M students hand out programs for your concerts or help out at the middle school or elementary school during their music programs. Enlist your Tri-M Chapter to help organize your music library or prepare music for Regional Music Competitions. Reach out to members of your community to provide music programs for a local retirement community or nursing home. Organize a change drive to aid in purchasing of equipment for your department or to donate to a charity. Give a Note Foundation, sponsored by NAfME assists underfunded music programs across the United States. Consider a donation to the Give a Note foundation as a community service project.
Whether you are looking to add team-bonding, fundraising or community service to your program or to just streamline what you are already doing, a Tri-M chapter is a highly rewarding organization for you and your students. Whatever your vision for your music department, let Tri-M help you make it a reality. If you have questions, need more information or just need to talk through ideas for your chapter, reach out to your Kansas State Tri-M co-chairs, Alex McMahon and Shelly Cole. You may reach both of them by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.