Music Education Innovator Award recipients present at NAfME National Conference

Our most recent nine Music Education Innovator Award recipients presented during the National NAfME Conference in Orlando, Florida, a couple weeks ago. The TED style talks focused on their innovative programs and how similar models could be replicated in music classrooms around the country. Here’s a quick glimpse into their award winning programs!

Dr. Andrew Edwards of Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, GA – Roaring Records
Grant funds support Roaring Records, a program that teaches students to record, edit, and produce their own audio productions using Logic Pro X, as well as build electric guitars and amplifiers. Dr. Edwards brought the electric guitar and amp that his students made together last school year and we were able to see, play, and hear the results of this amazing project!

Anna Harris of Oakland Terrace Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD – Ethiopian Song Project
Oakland Terrace serves a county that has the largest Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Ethiopian students of the school are excited to share what they know about their own culture and make music that is familiar to them. Furthermore, non-Ethiopian students are excited to do these songs because they represent their classmates and friends. This project works with community resident Ethiopian translators as well as local producers, creating a comprehensive project that brings together all aspects of the community.

Benjamin Thompson of Northeast Tech College in Denver, CO – Audio Production Pathway
Grant funds support the Audio Production Pathway program, which combines audio engineering with music composition, supports students learning to use a traditional keyboard, and actively encourages women to enter the audio production field through the Loud Girls initiative.

Bradley Collins of Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School in Chula Vista CA – The Music Technology Program
Learning the basic music theory skills required to understand musical patterns, melodies, chords, and digital arrangements of audio tracks can help students stay interested in music as a lifelong learner. This type of music class promotes music to several different learning modalities, not just the eager performers.

K. Michelle Lewis of Bloom Elementary School in Louisville, KY – Project Based Learning in Music
Students learn about real world problems and use music as the avenue to advocate for those in need. For example, 2nd graders re-wrote lyrics to traditional nursery rhymes and 5th graders developed a podcast where they teach mini music lessons to those around the world who don’t have a music teacher.

Markita Moore of Cass Tech High School in Detroit, MI – Detroit to Brazil and Back
Grant funds support Detroit to Brazil and Back, a program that allows students to experience Afro-Brazilian rhythms, songs, and cultural traditions.

Eric Songer of Chaska Middle School West in Chaska, MN – The Next Generation of Music Education
Grant funds support The Next Generation of Music Education, a public school band program that opens up the world of chamber ensembles, pop, hip hop, improv, songwriting, and other student-driven music paths.

Dr. Sarah Minette of Minneapolis South High School in Minneapolis, MN – Empowering Student Creativity through Piano, Guitar and Sound Production
The majority of the students at MSHS are immigrants and refugees who are not native-English speakers. Many of them have not played instruments before or have had the opportunity to experience music making in school. As newcomers in our country, they attempt to navigate the complexities of a new language, being a teenager, all while maintaining a sense of their culture. Music bridges these many gaps. Experimenting with different styles of music through collaborative and individual opportunities allows students to see themselves as not only musical, but creative beings.

Vivian Gonzalez of Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer in Miami FL – MAS Orchestra Outreach
MAS Orchestra was created to give string instrument education access to an entire segment of the Miami-Dade County Community that had no access to string instrument education…nearly 97% of MAS students come from Latino homes. Music of MAS student cultures strengthens their interest in participation in orchestra. MAS students also want to make sure that they give back to their communities and that they are part of providing access to string instrument education…so MAS Orchestra Mentors was created to open the school on Saturdays to have MAS students, with Ms. Gonzalez’s guidance and supervision, teach elementary school students in the school feeder pattern.

For more information about any of these programs, please connect with use at!

Please consider donating in recognition of these amazing music educators and help ensure quality music programs for students in communities like yours.

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