Showcasing the Arts

Education Award

Nan Moore

Jefferson County

Nan Moore

Nan Moore retired after serving as the director of bands at Louisville Male High School for 39 years. Under her leadership, the Louisville Male band established itself as one of the most respected programs in the country. Ensembles under her direction have performed at the Southern Division Music Educators National Conference; 12 Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Professional Development Conferences, the 2004 College Band Directors National Association/National Band Association Southern Division Conference; numerous national concert band festivals; the Music For All 2010 National Concert Band Festival; the 2001 Midwest International Band Clinic; and the 2019 Midwest International Band Clinic. Moore’s bands have performed as guests alongside the Louisville Orchestra, Purdue University Symphonic Band and the University of Louisville Wind Ensemble.

Moore was awarded the 1995 Phi Beta Mu Band Fraternity Outstanding Bandmaster Award for Kentucky, and in 1993 she was named the KMEA Secondary Teacher of the year. In March 2013 she was inducted as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.

Moore received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Morehead State University, a Master of Arts degree in education from Western Kentucky University and a specialist degree in administration from Spalding University. She has served as the state band chairperson for KMEA and as president of the Kentucky chapter of Phi Beta Mu. Currently, she is serving as the chair of the KMEA selective list committee. Moore maintains a busy schedule as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor.

In 2011 Moore founded the Louisville Winds and serves as artistic director and principal conductor. In its short history, Louisville Winds has become a widely acclaimed ensemble having performed three times at the KMEA Professional Development Conference and performed at the 2019 Midwest International Band Clinic.

What does this distinction mean to you?

When I decided to become a music educator, I had one goal; to make great music with great kids. I have loved my career as a band director; it never felt like a routine job, but a rewarding passion. What could be more fulfilling then helping others use the vehicle of music education to reach their goals musically and personally? My teaching career has spanned more than 39 years. I never dreamed of being recognized in such a distinguished manner, standing in the Capitol Rotunda with the governor presenting this award, which not only validates my work but also the importance of music education. I’ve had the honor of preparing many bands for highly acclaimed contests and concerts, performed ceremonial music for presidents and mayors, and been inducted into prestigious national organizations, but this honor is truly one that stands alone on a special pinnacle from all others, as it the one which most directly speaks to my work, in my state, with my kids.

What is an accomplishment in arts education that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the combination of individual and musical growth I witnessed in my students. This growth occurred by students buying in and understanding the process for success in music and in life. I was privileged to have shared several high-profile performances with my kids in the Male High School Band and to have witnessed their excitement and success. These have included nine performances at the annual Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference with nine Male High School bands, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the prestigious Bands of America Concert Band Festival, just to name a few. However, I’m equally as proud of former students as they have grown into successful adults taking the life lessons they learned in band to make their own career and life dreams come true. Now that I’m directing an adult community band, I am reaping the benefits of arts in the school curriculum.

What are the benefits of making arts accessible to all students at all grade levels? What is missed if the arts are not accessible to students?

It is said, “A child sings before they speak, dances almost before they walk. Music is in our hearts from the beginning.” If you sing to a baby, they smile. Music makes people smile, music unlocks emotions, music makes people complete. Why then are we as arts educators forced to continually fight to prove our worth and belonging in the school curriculum? Why are the arts the first thing cut? Why are the arts viewed as less than? We have all heard about the extensive research which documents the effects of music education on reading and math achievement. Among high school students there is a direct correlation between ACT scores and the number of years they are involved in arts courses. More importantly arts education reaches the heart and emotional aspects of students, teaching the total student, not just a purely academic and analytical process of education. Through the arts, students learn intangible skills such as persistence, problem solving, critical thinking, discipline and determination, just to name a few. Arts in the schools give kids a sense of belonging, allow them to have a creative outlet and provide a judgement-free safe place for students to learn and grow. In our current turbulent and volatile environment, the arts teach tools beyond letters and numbers giving our students humanitarian skills to enhance not only their own lives but those of everyone around them. If students are denied arts education, they are denied opportunities to express their emotions in a positive manner, to enhance academic skills and to grow as a whole person. In short, students would be denied the opportunity to realize the person they could be in whatever their chosen career field. The arts should be viewed as a critical piece of the educational process for every student.