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Great Music Teaching Framework

Developed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

Great teaching starts with a commitment to great learning. Great teachers build expansive learning environments for their students and seek learning opportunities for themselves that are ambitious, open-ended, playful, and curious. These values align with the core interests of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) by supporting artistry, community, and equity in all music making and music learning in schools and community settings and with preprofessional musicians.

These values also guide how WMI frames its ongoing conversation about what great music teaching looks like. Regardless of the environment, great teachers artfully manage a balancing act between modeling the building blocks of the artistic process and inspiring young musicians to be creative and make music an important part of their lives.

Great Teachers in Action brings these seven impulses to life, as leading artists and educators model each through a variety of exercises and activities. 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.


Great Music Teachers
  • are musicians who model their artistry in everything they do
  • experiment with new musical ideas and approaches alongside their students
  • explore their own histories and identify the strengths of their artistry
  • seek to expand their own artistic horizons in order to better identify with the learning process


Great Music Teachers
  • select meaningful and rich repertoire, and share their enthusiasm with their students
  • interrogate the activities they organize for their students, constantly asking questions about whether students could get more from their teaching
  • set strong developmental goals for learning for both their students and themselves


Great Music Teachers
  • ask questions that spark conversations while requiring comfort with ambiguity
  • keep all learning grounded in a broad range of personal experiences
  • mark their own learning and development through research and collaboration
  • empower students to observe evidence of their own growth


Great Music Teachers
  • seek out opportunities to be inspired, musically or otherwise, and reflect on the impact of their experiences
  • give students the opportunity to love their own work and growth
  • encourage students to embrace their personal expression and musical voices


Great Music Teachers
  • create learning environments that are responsive to the needs of students in the context of their communities’ strengths and challenges
  • meet students where they are in their development while acknowledging and celebrating the variety of learning abilities
  • model listening as a way to connect with other people and their cultures


Great Music Teachers
  • emphasize expression and interpretation when working with existing repertoire
  • see the composition of new music as a central music-learning activity
  • use students’ ears to improvise and venture away from written music
  • explore a range of approaches for capturing, notating, and recording original ideas


Great Music Teachers
  • encourage students to embrace their ability to tell their own stories
  • empower students to design and lead their own musical learning
  • provide opportunities for students to share their work, practice, and process with their community

How can music teachers engage with this framework?

We believe that all educators and artists constantly reflect on who they are within the arts and education. This search for identity goes in different directions and evolves over time. This framework serves as a starting point for music teachers to explore many possibilities as they shape their identities. Throughout this process, we encourage teachers and artists to be flexible, collaborative, and compassionate about their own practices.

This framework focuses mainly on teachers and artists, understanding that their development will make a great impact on their students. It also provides insight into how great music teachers can build toward the parts of their teaching identities they want to grow.

Great music teachers believe in a holistic approach to their work, and engage with most, if not all, of the impulses outlined in this framework daily. Whether they embody these impulses already or look to them to provide a path to the future, great music teachers always reflect on how they can continue to learn and grow.

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