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Resources for Educators

Great Teachers in Action

These videos feature faculty from our Music Educators Workshops sharing their approaches to working with music learners. Using the Great Music Teaching Framework, we have identified videos that model the seven impulses of great music teaching and provide teachers a pathway as they look to grow their capacity as lifelong learners. Get a bird’s-eye view by sampling from several different impulses, or take a deep dive by watching multiple videos for a single impulse.

Artistry

Expand your artistic horizon and bring new musical ideas and approaches into the classroom that will inspire creativity.

Tom Cabaniss and three teachers sing together as a woman plays keyboard

Vocal Improvisation

Teaching artist and composer Tom Cabaniss plays a game with the group to point out connections between improvisation and the compositional process.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

An orchestra of teachers performs in a classroom

Rehearsal Strategies

Teaching artist Richard Mannoia shares creative strategies to practicing suspended notes.

Class Type: Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Classroom Application

A teacher conducts a class of educators in a vocalization

Conducting

Teaching artist Ronnie Oliver Jr. shows how the combination of meaningful gestures and a grounded core can produce the desired sound.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

Intention

Set the stage for your students to understand and appreciate new material you introduce by personalizing it, sharing your passion and purpose as a base to build on.

A group of teachers sing as a flutist plays

Ensemble Sound through Improvisation

Tuba virtuoso and educator Bob Stewart conducts a group without music or instruction to show how students can work together to find an ensemble sound through improvisation.

Class Type: Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A presenter speaks before a class of educators

Exploring New Repertoire

Guest faculty Randal Swiggum highlights how regularly introducing new repertoire—and not only relying on the familiar favorites—expands a student’s world. He jokes about “tricking students” into liking new music, simply by showcasing it’s integrity.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

Two teachers sing together

Improvisation and Repertoire

Through this small group activity, teaching artist and composer Tom Cabaniss transforms traditional repertoire using vocal improvisation.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

Inquiry

Spark meaningful conversations by asking questions, observing responses, and reflecting on the process with your students as you move through it.

A group of teachers converse during a workshop

Creative Musical Thinking

Teaching artist Richard Mannoia inspires deeper listening skills by playing a piece and considering ways to describe and interpret it as a group through a series of activities and questions.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A presenter writes on a whiteboard

Tackling a Tricky Text, Part One

Guest faculty Margaret Jenks stumbles on the friction point of using the word “faeries” in the text of “White Coral Bells.” She shows how simply highlighting another part of the song can shift the focus and bring a new understanding.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

A presenter speaks before a class of teachers

Tackling a Tricky Text, Part Two

Guest faculty Randal Swiggum encounters a friction point when introducing his students to a piece with just one word in the text. He approaches this by first asking students to list all the ways a composer might turn a single-word text into a masterpiece, then listening to the piece to see which of those ideas were implemented.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

Inspiration

Seek out opportunities for both you and your students to be inspired, encouraging a renewed sense of excitement and pride in personal expression.

A group of four teachers sing together

Vocal Improvisation Game

Teaching artist and composer Tom Cabaniss shares the fun improvisation circle game Three to Get Ready, invented by Tiago Grade, in which each person makes a solo contribution toward creating a fully improvised piece as a group.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: K–12
Focus: Classroom Application

A presenter displays movements for a group of teachers

Movement and Improvisation

Join world-renowned composer and vocalist Meredith Monk as she opens up a compositional strategy that she calls “vocal rooms.” Starting in a circle, the group is encouraged to use the three-dimensional space, filling it with movement and sound as they work together in this vocal improvisation activity.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: K–12
Focus: Classroom Application

A circle of teachers sing together

Improvised Vocal Orchestra

Singers and improvisers Jascha Hoffman and Onome Om create a vocal orchestra in this group activity, giving each person a unique role to build on the texture of this improvised piece.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Classroom Application

Compassion

Actively listen and respond to the needs of your students, acknowledging and celebrating their differences to encourage an open and secure learning environment for all.

A presenter shares a slide presentation

Compassion

Music education professor Karin Hendricks explores an expanded definition of “compassion” that can help music educators create a more meaningful and symbiotic learning environment.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A teacher works one-on-one with a woman in a class for educators

Community

Choral director and educator Bishop Chantel Wright demonstrates an approach to engaging in conversations with students that builds community and equity.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A presenter and a teacher hold up their hands toward each other

Connecting from the Podium

Michael Haithcock, director of bands at the University of Michigan, discusses ways to connect with musicians from the podium. He uses a body mirroring activity to highlight the importance of keeping your hands between their eyes and your eyes.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A man at a music stand listens as a presenter guides a class of teachers

Setting a Sound from the Podium

Conductor and educator Julie Desbordes helps a fellow conductor use gestures and grounded support on the podium to create a more deliberate and focused sound.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

Expression

Experiment with expression by exploring a range of approaches to bring new ideas to the surface with your students.

A man reads from a binder

Articulation

Jazz pianist and educator Reggie Thomas shares a creative way to breakdown reading a piece of music. He takes a short passage and focuses on the sounds and articulation of the rhythm then puts it into context to guide the piece.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Professional Development

A group of young students sing together in a classroom

Connecting Body and Voice

Guest faculty Margaret Jenks emphasizes how music is a full body experience using the connection between body and voice to explain legato.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: K–12
Focus: Classroom Application

A group of young students listen as a teacher guides them through an exercise

Phrasing

Guest faculty Margaret Jenks asks students how a series of repeated notes might be more interesting as way to introduce phrasing.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Classroom Application

Agency

Encourage and empower your students as leaders, providing them opportunities to share their work, practice, and process with their peers.

A group of teachers listen as brass musicians perform

Graphic Notation

Flutist, bandleader, composer, and educator Nicole Mitchell puts a fun spin on non-traditional notation interpreting drawings as inspiration for improvisation.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: K–12
Focus: Classroom Application

A presenter speaks as two monitors behind him display graphs

Technology as a Teaching Tool

High school music teacher and professional development facilitator Eric Dalio offers different approaches to bringing technology into the classroom, including how to maximize limited technological tools and to spark student curiosity that fosters learning of music fundamentals.

Class Type: Vocal or Instrumental
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Professional Development

A presenter conducts a choir of teachers as an audience of teachers watches

Student Buy-In

In this segment, music educators join the rehearsal to sing through two songs about people in exile from their homelands.

Class Type: Vocal
Grade: 6–12
Focus: Classroom Application

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