Doral College Music Instructor Edward Ercilla’s session proposal was recently accepted for the 72nd Midwest Clinic, the largest Music Education conference in the country held in Chicago every year. The Midwest Clinic is a major professional development opportunity for school directors, college professors, and professional musicians from all over the country to gather and share their ideas and further the cause of music and music education. Selection to present is highly competitive—from well over 550 submitted applications for consideration, just over 90 applicants are invited to present. Sessions are presented by some of the country’s leading educators and some of the finest music programs from around the country and world, ranging from middle school to professional level ensembles.
Mr. Ercilla’s music studies began when he was four years old. From this young age, he knew that being a musician was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He grew up taking piano and trumpet private lessons and participated in music programs like the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and South Florida Youth Symphony during his high school years. Up to his college years, Mr. Ercilla had trained to become a concert pianist and orchestral trumpet player; the idea of becoming a music teacher occurred by accident. In his second year of study, Mr. Ercilla took a Music Education course in which the end of semester project was teaching a special needs class at a local middle school. In this class, Mr. Ercilla met a student named Jacob who had a difficult time performing well in traditional music class settings because he felt different from his peers. Mr. Ercilla, who was also different from other people in the room in that he is deaf and wore hearing aids, soon developed a special connection with Jacob, who began to enjoy learning music. This transformation had a deep and lasting impact on Mr. Ercilla, whose goal became to help more kids like Jacob enjoy and practice music. What he loves most about his career as a music instructor is watching his students grow as they become successful in their own paths.
Mr. Ercilla’s session in the Midwest Clinic is going to be included in a TED Talk-style series of talks titled “SHOP Talk” (Short, Helpful, On Point Talks). His session is titled “Coping with Hearing Loss in the Music Education Setting: Teacher and Student.” It will focus on providing attendees with information on how to adapt the curricular design of their programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, with unique insight from a deaf educator, himself. He aims to take the thought of “this is what it must be like to be deaf,” to “this is what it is truly like to be deaf and do music.” The session will also touch upon available technologies and how they can be modified and included in the instruction of music or other educational and academic settings. Mr. Ercilla’s ultimate goal is to become a resource to anyone who needs assistance in developing ways to incorporate every child who wants to participate in music, regardless of their degree of hearing loss. He is a firm believer that music education should be for every child.