Band Director Recognized by Yamaha’s “40 Under 40”

Lake Worth High Band Director Recognized by Yamaha’s “40 Under 40”
Posted on 02/16/2021
Tiffany Cox

Lake Worth Community High School Band Director Tiffany Cox has been recognized as one of Yamaha’s “40 Under 40” for outstanding music educators. Cox was selected from more than 450 music educators across the country after Cox received more than one nomination letter for her work in music education.

Winners are acknowledged for their “ability to proactively take the necessary steps that lead to a stronger music program; propose and implement new or bold ideas; show innovation and imagination in achieving plans and objectives, and establish and grow or improve music education in their schools and communities,” according to Yamaha.

“This year has shown me exactly how important music education is to our students, our school, and our community,” Cox said. “I want to use this award to celebrate my students for their dedication and perseverance in the face of uncertainty and hardship.”

Cox is a product of the School District of Palm Beach County, having attended Addison Mizner Elementary, Boca Raton Middle, and Spanish River High schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in jazz trombone from Florida State University before returning to Palm Beach County.

After teaching music at Calusa Elementary School, Cox became the band director at Lake Worth High in 2017. When she arrived, there were only nine band members. “I was tasked with reviving the band and bringing instrumental music back to our school,” she said.

Cox has continually applied for grants and collected donations to help her grow the band programs, which now include nearly 100 students of varied skill and experience.

Last year, we earned our first Superior rating and brought home first place trophies from regional marching band competitions. We also qualified for the State Marching Band Championships and placed 14th in the state,” Cox said.

Referred to as “Dr. Ms. C” by her students, Cox recently received her doctorate from Florida Atlantic University, completing her dissertation research on the marginalization of women in instrumental music education. She has also presented on race, class, and gender in music education at state, national, and international conferences.

“I encourage my students to take a leadership role in their own educational experiences within and outside of the band room,” Cox said. “They are encouraged to identify sources of injustice in their lives and to investigate solutions to improve life for themselves, their families, and the community.”

Music isn’t the only priority for Cox. Her band room has created a safe space for her students, incorporating mindful practices and yoga while focusing on mental health. That attention paid to her students’ emotional well-being helps enhance their musical presentation, as Cox recalls how she felt after her band’s first music performance.

“The feeling was an overwhelming wave of pride, happiness, and honestly, just sheer joy,” she said. “I felt the same thing after we earned our first Superior medal and first place trophy. Now, in the midst of COVID-19, I have the same feeling as I see my students persevering through incredible hardships in an effort to keep music alive in their hearts.”

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