Tools and Support for Music Education
By Rebecca Hof
This article was first published on the Save the Music Foundation blog.
My favorite teacher in middle school was Ms. Bray. She was my choir director from 5th to 8th grade and made those awkward years feel successful and content. Ms. Bray shared with me and my classmates her passion for music in every class. She also deeply cared about her students and made sure we were confident, happy, and used our full potential, not only as musicians but as well-rounded young people. I was very lucky to have some amazing, influential music teachers growing up and each one had a hand in what I did next.
I studied music education in college and became a music teacher and choral director just like Ms. Bray. It was an honor to work with the students who came through my classroom doors each and every day. Now, I have the privilege to work with music educators and advocates across the country in building resources for the field and sharing the tools and strategies needed in today’s music classroom.
A special part of what Save The Music Foundation provides to its grant recipients is long-term support for the school’s music program, including professional development opportunities for its educators. Starting on March 13, 2020, support became one of the most important aspects of how Save The Music worked with schools and teachers.
Almost immediately our team invited Save The Music grant recipients to join virtual meeting groups at least once a week. It was the first time we had gathered music teachers and arts administrators online, coast to coast. We started simply, “What do you need?” The answers varied, but mostly, they wanted to ask each other for advice and work through their challenges in teaching music from their homes.
Our team gathered these groups to listen to each other in peer-to-peer learning sessions and invited them to hear from experts in music education and advocacy. We even brought high school students together to engage in exploring music industry career pathways (anything that would get them online for a new, exciting experience). Our goal was to support those teaching and learning from home when everything was different and no one knew how the school year was going to proceed.
Meanwhile, our online music education resources page exploded. It was my mission to find the companies that were making high-quality and relevant content accessible and free for teachers, families, and students to use while school was virtual. Save The Music partners and other companies and nonprofits stepped up to give those in school free music lesson content, free subscriptions to online music-making software, free advice, and webinars for how to teach and learn in a digital space.
Our little resources page went from a list of about 20 organizations to over 100. We posted links to online learning resources on social media and soon, the resources page was the most popular page on our website. The resources page is not a page anymore, but nearly 20 pages of 200+ resources of content any person can explore to enhance their music learning or classroom. My goal: create a platform where we can share the best tools for anyone who wants to enhance their music teaching and learning.