Director of Music & Performing Arts - Retired
Herricks Union Free School District
John McNeur was born in Scotland and was raised in several US cities and New Zealand. He attended Bard College and received degrees in music from the University of Bridgeport (CT) and in administration from Fairfield University. Hired in 1986 at Director of Music & Performing Arts for the suburban Long Island, New York district of Herricks, he has built the program into one of the premier music departments in the country, winning GRAMMY Gold Signature status and twice recognized by the NYS School Music Association as a “Program of Excellence.”
If music is the universal language, then John McNeur speaks it fluently. A self-described student of the world, McNeur set out in 1993 to share his experiences with young aspiring musicians by creating the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York (MYO).
In the first year, 14 students enrolled in the fledgling program, which rehearsed in the basement of a church in Manhasset. Today, MYO comprises over 1000 student musicians, nine orchestras and seven vocal ensembles – all of which perform at the region’s most respected venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tilles Center, Staller Center and Adelphi Performing Arts Center. McNeur has led MYO on many summer performance tours, including to China, Central and Eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
McNeur’s reach and impact can be measured by the number of students taught, the success of alumni who have gone on to receive scholarships at the nation's best universities, conservatories and music schools, and a four-decade career dedicated to sharing his passion for music and the performing arts.
He is retired as the Director of Music & Performing Arts for Herricks Public Schools, was national chairman of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, is a past president of the Nassau Music Educators Association, and is the founder of the committee responsible for the annual Balanced Mind Curriculum Conference.
McNeur served as general chair for the Music Educators National Conference All-Eastern Honors Ensembles, organizing festivals in Rochester, Baltimore and at Carnegie Hall. In addition, he has served as conductor of several youth orchestras in Connecticut and New York, including several county and state orchestras and bands. He has twice been awarded the International Tri-M Distinguished Service Award. In 2008, he was honored as the “Educator of Note” by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2010 he was honored by Nassau BOCES with their Educational Partners Award.
McNeur is often sought as a conductor, clinician and workshop leader, leading sessions in arts development, arts advocacy, teacher training, public and community relations. He has led sessions at the NYSSMA Winter Conference, The Balanced Mind Curriculum Conference, and to educators in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He is also listed as a Conn-Selmer educational consultant.
McNeur lives on Long Island with his wife, Clare. They have three children and four grandchildren.
You have a great program but no one knows about it. In this session we will share strategies to inform the school, the parents, the community and the world what is going on. Good public relations helps to build community support and pride in the school or district music program.
Trying to get kids to join an elective program is a universal problem with all of the activities vying for their attention. This session will give to sure fire ways to attract kids to your band, orchestra or chorus and strategies for keeping them engaged for all of their school years.
Many of us were trained and raised in the teacher-directed performance ensemble. Student involvement in the ensemble direction and self-reflection is an incredibly important factor which promotes critical thinking, close study, student leadership, lifelong learning.
Having an excellent ensemble is possible when the members of the group take ownership in its success. Student leadership is a vital factor in the process of an ensemble's growth toward excellence. This session will provide strategies to engage students in meaningful ways, including and beginning with the concept of self-evaluation.
The Danielson Model has been adopted in many states as a means of measuring teacher effectiveness. The model was developed for the academic classroom but is adaptable for the music rehearsal and classroom as well. This session will provide strategies you can use to be a highly effective educator in the Danielson model.