Most students are content to pursue a graduate degree after completing their bachelor’s. Tommy Cummins, student in the Music Education Program, is finishing his bachelor’s degree in Music this fall and will finish his master’s degree one semester later in the spring of 2023. Cummins’s passion and commitment to his future profession was recently recognized with the Future Music Teacher Award, provided by the Virginia String Teachers Association (VASTA).

Nominated by his viola professor and Virginia Tech String Project Director, Molly Wilkens-Reed, he received the award during the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference held in November. The award recognizes collegiate string pedagogy or music education majors who have exhibited the highest levels of leadership, dedication, and achievement across institutions of higher learning in the state of Virginia. Her enthusiasm for Tommy and his future is obvious. "I am thrilled to see this award go to Tommy. He is certainly deserving of it and is truly an outstanding future music educator. I cannot wait to see the fantastic things he will go on to do in the orchestral teaching world." 

Catheryn Foster, head of the Music Education Program at the VT School of Education, was enthusiastic as she spoke about Tommy and his dedication to the program. “He is passionate about music and inspires others with his dedication to and excitement about his future as a music educator.”

“Over the past four and a half years,” Tommy shared, “my experience with the Virginia Tech String Project (VTSP) has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of teaching, and I would not be where I am today without the String Project. Usually, college students have to wait until student teaching before they get to instruct real kids in a real classroom setting, but the VTSP provides a unique opportunity for us to get this teaching experience as early as our freshman year.” He continued, “I am so grateful and honored to be the recipient of this award.”

Following his graduation next semester, he plans to pursue a teaching position as an orchestra or string teacher. He admitted that he'd love to teach near his hometown of Warrenton, VA, although he will keep his options open.

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