Music Educators Award – Laurie Kennedy

Outstanding Music Educator Award in the category of Instrumental Music – String (K-12)

Originally from Fond du Lac Wisconsin, Laurie Kennedy earned a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Music Education from the University of Michigan. Since graduating over 30 years ago, she has taught all levels of music, from the first-grade classroom and beginning Suzuki lessons to Senior High Orchestra and Chorus in the Penfield and West Irondequoit Schools.  

In her current role at Cobbles Elementary School, she has the honor of beginning the students on their musical path. Through lessons and orchestra experiences, her goal is to help the students understand the role of consistent, regular practice in becoming independent music makers who share their skills and love of music with others. To that end, she prepares students for Suzuki graduation recitals, solo festivals, and All-County festivals. She takes the 4th and 5th-grade orchestras to a local nursing home so that the students can share what they do with those who cannot attend concerts. 

As a Middle and High school orchestra teacher in West Irondequoit for 12 years, Laurie created a “Halloween Extravaganza Concert,” which featured the orchestra in costume and which provided a costume contest for the community. She prepared students for solo festivals and all-county events and planned several out of state tours for her students.  

Laurie has conducted the Asbury First United Methodist Church orchestra for 23 years. A group of intergenerational music makers, this group provides an opportunity for young and old at all levels of instruction to play with others and share their love of music in worship.

A member of the Penfield Symphony Orchestra for 30 years, Laurie has relished the opportunity to make music with others, including several former students, while keeping her own skills fresh. In 2017 she took on the role of Coordinator of the PSO Young Artist Competition, where she coordinates the auditions and communications with the next generation of incredible musicians. 

Music is just something Laurie’s family does. Accomplished musicians, her children Sarah and Andrew continue to make music as adults. Her husband Dave has sung in the church choir “forever.” He has been a great support in all the evenings and weekend music activities. 

The biggest joy of Laurie’s career has been the students and colleagues who make coming to school a pleasure. Her motto, taken from a former professor Robert Culver, is “You are not teaching music, you are teaching people who are trying to be the best musicians they can be. Encourage and teach them how to make that best even better.”

1 thought on “Music Educators Award – Laurie Kennedy

  1. Oh! Laurie! what an accomplishment you have achieved!! I can see by the article that you have worked hard and long for this recognition, and how wonderful it is in something you are so GREAT at. You are a great, caring, and kind teacher. I am so proud to be your cousin. Congratulations!! Love, Jane


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