Don’t Forget Music Education Amid Coronavirus Closures

Being at home, especially during a health crisis, can be stressful, boring and isolating. Online music education programs can enable students to stay in touch with school and collaborate online whether through videos, ear training games, or tools that let them record songs and or practice their music.

As more and more schools announce closings, it will be a challenge to keep students engaged with music in a meaningful way. This is a short article, but it provides some basic ideas for both teachers and parents to consider implementing.

Don’t Forget Music Education Amid Coronavirus Closures | Thrive Global

Settlement Music School, Hearing First partner to offer virtual music education class for deaf or hard of hearing children

Music is a critical component to ensuring children with hearing loss reach their full potential and it’s our goal to break down geographic barriers to ensure more families have this opportunity to learn from a premier music education provider like Settlement.

I’m sure children with hearing loss are categorically overlooked by the typical approaches to music education. I’d love to see more inventive partnerships like this that allow music to be taught much more inclusively.

Settlement Music School and Hearing First partner to offer virtual music education class for deaf or hard of hearing children | The Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Bill would require 3 hours of art & music education for K-5 students in Michigan each week

State Senator Erika Geiss with an exceptionally wise rationale:

“We should be expanding our students’ abilities to think outside the box by teaching them skills that enable them to both better understand themselves and collaborate with others — which is exactly what music and the arts do. The creativity that is innate in music and art education strengthens critical thinking skills and allows for a deeper level of engagement as kids interact with the world around them.”

Bill would require 3 hours of art & music education for K-5 students in Michigan each week | WXYZ

Paul Simon Donated $1 Million to Fund a New Music Education Program

Each year, the Paul Simon Music Fellows Program will partner 20 young music educators across the five boroughs of New York City with veteran teachers, who will provide mentorship and skills training over the course of a school year. Additionally, the program will help bring new “artists-in-residence” to schools across the city for 11 weeks at a time. And Simon will be involved as well, curating appearances from special guest artists who will lead master classes for students.

What a great way to spend $1 million: not on things, but on connections, experiences, and opportunities. Artists-in-residence can be transformative experiences for all involved, but schools rarely have the resources to support a long-term vision. 11 weeks of such a program is exceptional.

Paul Simon Donated $1 Million to Fund a New Music Education Program | Rolling Stone

Music teacher quits, says Clarke music, art programs threatened

As a final attempt to save this program, which has provided so much for the students of Clarke Middle, I have decided I must resign my position effective February 17th. I feel that this decision will force our school and our district to think critically about how much our fine arts programs mean to the students and to the community. I also hope that this act will spurn change for the better, knowing that my reputation and integrity might still be called into question. Our students deserve positive change, and our teachers do as well.

This story has been getting a lot of attention on social media and in the local news. Thankfully, all comments I’ve seen have been overwhelmingly supportive of the teacher who was forced to make this difficult decision. This is a terrible situation for someone who appears to be a very devoted teacher.

Music teacher quits, says Clarke music, art programs threatened | Athens Banner-Herald

Santee making sound progress on bringing music back to school

It was the first day of after-school music classes for students in the Santee School District after a decades-long drought.

The district, in partnership with music professor James Sepulvado from Cuyamaca College and Bertrand’s Music in San Diego, just started offering the classes at all of its nine school sites. The Santee School District Foundation pitched in $40,000 to sponsor the classes, pay for instruction and help defer some of the cost to rent instruments, with no enrollment charges to families of fourth- through eighth-grade students.

It’s sad to imagine a school district going decades without any instrumental music offerings, but it’s encouraging to hear about the immediate success of this revitalized program.

Santee making sound progress on bringing music back to school | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Illinois administrators to be awarded at conference

When Foehrkolb came to Washington Middle School as principal four years ago, students at the school did not have music classes every day.

Foehrkolb worked with staff and got that deficiency changed by his second year at the school.

“Our students have music classes every day now and we didn’t cut into their other instructional time,” he said. “It was a no-brainer to get that done. Research has shown that having a music class every day improves a student’s achievement in all classes.”

Other accomplishments by the school districts in Washington, IL:

  • a $5 million high school music building
  • a $14 million middle school music wing
  • $120,000 of new band instruments

Five Washington administrators to be awarded at Illinois Music Education Association conference | Journal Star

Schools need to embrace music’s powerful benefits

A 12th-grade student in Pennsylvania has done a rather commendable job of arguing for the inclusion of music education in schools, choosing to focus on its mental benefits in particular:

Unfortunately, too many school officials view music classes as luxuries rather than what they are: absolute necessities. Our schools are on the brink of a serious mental health crisis among young people — 70% of public school students with a psychological disorder are not receiving any therapy whatsoever. Yet, what do school officials do? They deprive students of a music education, which is proven to provide psychological benefits.

Schools need to embrace music’s powerful benefits |


Lawmakers, educators propose the Florida Seal of Fine Arts

The Sunshine State is kicking off the new year with a promising development:

The proposal, Senate Bill 110 and its companion House bill 1123, would establish the Florida Seal for Fine Arts, affixed to the diploma – and the resume – of any student who has met a series of established guidelines, including continued participation in arts programs, solid grades and community art involvement.

Grego stressed that the arts are part of the core curriculum in Pinellas County Schools. “We view the whole educational system to teach the whole child,” he said. “Yes, academics are exceedingly important, standardized tests are exceedingly important … but it’s also important to balance that with life skills for students. The arts accomplish that.”

Official statewide recognition of students’ dedication to the fine arts would be a very positive step toward endorsing the importance of arts in education today.

Lawmakers, educators propose the Florida Seal of Fine Arts | St Pete Catalyst

Jared Cassedy Named Recipient of GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award

The GRAMMY Foundation created the Music Educator Award two years ago to recognize exceptional music teachers, who can be nominated by administrators, peers, students, and parents. This year’s award goes to Jared Cassedy, a band director in New Hampshire:

As a tribute to the thousands of outstanding music educators everywhere, I cannot thank The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation enough for helping us to advocate for and to celebrate the importance of music education across the nation.

Mr. Cassedy and this year’s other nine finalists will all receive honorariums for themselves and their schools. Much can (and has) been said about the validity of the typical GRAMMY Awards, but it really is encouraging to see the creation and presentation of this award. The GRAMMY Foundation maintains a large presence in today’s music world, and it’s great to see it using its position to promote music education in our schools.

Jared Cassedy Named Recipient of GRAMMY Foundation’s Music Educator Award