Learning and leading through equity-focused music education

Published: May 8, 2023

Student on UMBC campus smiling for photo
Tim Edwards '23, music education and jazz studies. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

Tim Edwards

Degree: B.A., Music Education and Jazz Studies
Hometown: Severn, MD
Post-grad plans: Music educator

Tim Edwards is a student leader who serves his community through music, making an impact one note at a time. In addition to performing in UMBC’s Jazz Ensemble, Musical Theatre Club pit orchestra, and Wind Ensemble—including leading the arrangement, rehearsal, and conducting of an original composition last fall—he has focused his energy on music education.

Edwards has served as both president and vice president for UMBC’s chapter of the National Association for Music Education. He has supported music students in Baltimore city through a two-year internship with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, working with students at Booker T. Washington Middle School. He took the lessons he learned from that experience with him to the Maryland Music Educators Association conference, where he co-presented with James Dorsey, affiliate artist, and Brian Kaufman, associate professor of music. Their talk was part of a professional development program for music teachers on employing equity-focused and student-centered approaches in their classrooms.

Through all of these experiences, Edwards has remembered his home community in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. While at UMBC he returned to his high school pit orchestra to direct the group and he plans to return to the area longer-term after graduation to teach and perform music as a woodwind specialist.

Students standing in a line on stage, in professional attire, with instruments behind them.
From left to right: UMBC students Daniel Stuckenschneider, Jay Fenner, Alex Armbruster, Zach Powell, Aaron Statham, Henry Smith, Miles Malone, and Tim Edwards at the senior jazz recital in May 2022 in UMBC’s Linehan Concert Hall. (Photo courtesy of Tim Edwards)

Has there been a mentor or fellow student who influenced your time at UMBC?

Matt Belzer and Brian Kaufman were my two most influential mentors at UMBC. Matt Belzer instilled in me a level of discipline and professionalism that I could not have led without. Brian Kaufman sought to give me many opportunities for leadership and community-building, which has, in a big way, jump-started my career. Also, Patrick Smolen, a fellow UMBC student and friend who is graduating with me, has been more than crucial in my development as an educator. We have always sought ways to collaborate in our lessons and in building community.”

What has been the best part of your UMBC experience?

“The community has been the best part of my time at UMBC, plain and simple. Throughout my years at UMBC, the people I have met have had a huge impact on my growth as a person. I have made social and professional connections that I am determined to hold onto throughout my life.”

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