The Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) was founded in 1920 by James E. King. King, a native of Marlin, Texas, had attended the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and had been active in taking concert bands to the annual Confederate Reunion in Richmond, Virginia. While living in Waxahachie, King organized a group of bandmasters and established the Texas Band Teacher’s Association. He served as the group’s first president and later put together the first band contest in Texas. Under Lloyd Reitz, who was president from 1936 to 1938, the organization’s name was changed to the Texas Music Educators Association. By 1940 membership had increased to more than 600. Educator Barbara Eads became the first woman president of TMEA and served from 1976 to 1977.
Dedicated to “promoting excellence in music education,” TMEA consists of five divisions: Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary, and College. Within the state of Texas, twenty-eight geographic regions implement the goals of the TMEA at the local level. The organization monitors state activities and legislation that impacts fine arts instruction in Texas. TMEA offers its members professional development through workshops, a mentoring network, and an annual convention. In 2004 the Texas Future Music Educators group was established to encourage students with an interest in careers in music education. TMEA also offers scholarships to music education majors.
In 2015 the Texas Music Educators Association had almost 12,000 active members and a total membership of more than 17,000—making it the largest state music educators association in the nation. Its official publication, Southwestern Musician, was published nine times per year and featured articles on music education advocacy, technology, and pedagogy as well as information about education law.