N O R T H C A R O L I N A
It is imperative that all students have access
to an equitable delivery of arts education
that includes dance, media arts, music,
theatre, and visual arts that supports their
educational, social, and emotional wellbeing,
taught by certified professional arts
educators in partnership with community
in North Carolina
by James Daugherty
by José Rivera, Ph.D.
Online Jazz for
by Dr. Justin Binek
Volume 71 Number 1 Summer 2020
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 1
HOW BIG IS
Yamaha Impact Drums give you the freedom to customize a wide range of setups
and performance applications. Their sensitivity, versatility and projection provide
all the power and control you need to perform at your best.
Visit Yamaha.io/impactdrums to learn more.
2 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
Making music for today and a lifetime.
DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC
BACHELOR OF MUSIC
IN MUSIC EDUCATION
for more information:
BACHELOR OF ARTS
• JAZZ STUDIES
• MUSIC TECHNOLOGY
• GENERAL MUSIC
2020 -21 AUDITIONS
Saturday, Dec. 5
Friday, Jan. 8
Saturday, Jan. 16
Saturday, Feb. 13
Saturday, Feb. 27
Saturday, March 20
AN EEO/AA INSTITUTION.
Questions regarding UNCW’s Title IX compliance
should be directed to TitleIX@uncw.edu.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 1
N O R T H C A R O L I N A
NCMEA Board Directory
NCMEA President’s Message
NCMEA Executive Director’s Message
Letter to Superintendents
NCMEA Advocacy Statement
Music Advocacy in North Carolina
Enumerating the Importance of African
American Music Beyond the Moment
Elementary Choral Section
Middle School Choral Section
High School Choral Section
Online Jazz for Non-Online Teachers
Dr. Justin Binek
EdTPA: Helping Student Teachers Succeed
in Performance Ensemble Settings
José Rivera, Ph.D.
Art Education is Essential
A special thank you to all our advertisers who
support music educators and music education in
Hayes School of Music
23, 25, 32
15, 25, Back Cover
Inside Front Cover
Editorial: All editorial content should be sent to: Kimberly
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2 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
Department of Music
Assistant Professor of
Classical and Contemporary Voice
Assistant Professor of
Classical and Contemporary Voice
Associate Director of Bands/
Director of Athletic Bands
Assistant Professor of Trumpet
Bachelor of Music in: Composition | Jazz Studies | Instrumental or Vocal
Performance | Instrumental/General or Choral/General Music Education | Elective
Study in an Outside Field
Bachelor of Arts in Music | Undergraduate Certificate in Musical Theatre
Minor in Music Performance
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 3
Board of Directors
President: Carol Earnhardt*
Immediate Past President:
President-Elect: Johnathan Hamiel*
Lillie Allmond Harris*
Member-at-Large: Quincy Lundy*
Band: Jason Barclift*
Band Section Delegate:
Collegiate NAfME: Molly Griffin*
Elementary: Dee Yoder*
High School Choral:
Higher Education: Brett Nolker*
Jazz Education: Josh Cvijanovic*
Jazz Section Delegate:
Middle School Choral:
Orchestra: Donald Walter*
Orchestra Section Delegate:
District 1: Dawn Rockwell*
District 2: Jeffrey Danielson*
District 3: Tonya Suggs*
District 4: Tyler Harper*
District 5: Tonya Allison*
District 6: Alice Pounders*
District 7: Jonathan Chesson*
District 8: James Phillips*
* Voting Member
Counties listed reflect the county taught in
4 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
advancing music education by promoting
COMMISSION & COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Exceptional Children & General
Music: Rue S. Lee-Holmes
Conference Chair: Barbara Geer
Asst. Conference Chair: Adam Joiner
Mentoring: Windy Fullagar
Music In Our Schools Month:
Music Program Leaders:
Research: Tim Nowak
Retired Membership: Libby Brown
Teacher Education: Jose Rivera
Howell “Howie” Ledford
Tri-M: Jennifer Wells
Webmaster: Mark Healy
Young Professionals: Lisa Qualls
& SCHOLARSHIP CHAIRS
STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Awards: Lillie Allmond Harris
Mini Grant: Jazzmone Sutton
Development Grant: Jose Rivera
Scholarships: Quincy Lundy
883-C Washington Street
Raleigh, NC 27605
Executive Director: Pat Hall
Advocacy: James Daugherty
Constitution: Maribeth Yoder-White
Finance: Jazzmone Sutton
Membership: Johnathan Hamiel
Publications: Kim Justen
Collegiate NAfME Advisor:
Editor: Kim Justen
Executive Director: Pat Hall
Historian: Dr. John Henry, Jr.
Music Industry Rep.: Adam Frank
Parlimentarian: Dave Albert
NCDPI Rep.: Brandon Roeder
the understanding and making of music by all
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 5
Silver Lining Playlist
In the second week of March, the entire country entered the
twilight zone. I call it the twilight zone because COVID-19
transported us into an atmosphere of the unknown – a time
filled with fear, anxiety, and disbelief. Never in my lifetime did I
expect a pandemic event that would bring the world to its knees.
On March 9, I was at Wake Forest University rejoicing with
my students after their performance at Music Performance
Adjudications. By the next day, entire school systems were shut
down and NCMEA sponsored events came to a screeching halt. It
was evident I would need to quickly reinvent my role as a teacher.
We all felt that pain.
The learning curve from face-to-face instruction to remote
teaching was steep – for us and for our students. The absence of
the daily interaction with our students and the screeching halt to
music making was heartbreaking to say the least. As the weeks
progressed, we learned to connect with our students through
technology. We quickly adapted to an online world and developed
wonderful and effective lessons for our students.
I am writing this article in the middle of June. This week, I
watched my students walk across a graduation stage to be handed
their diplomas while their parents cheered from their car. Twilight
zone! I am now more comfortable with teaching online, but ache
to be back in the classroom with my kids. Disturbing questions
interrupt my thoughts throughout the day and sometimes wake me
up at night:
• What will school look like in the fall?
• Will I be able to adapt?
• How will I retain the students I have and recruit students
for the following school year?
• When will COVID-19 go away?
• When will things go back to normal?
In the middle of June, I don’t have any answers. Perhaps, by
the time this article is published, the world will flip back upright.
Scientists are moving at warp speed. And, as new information is
discovered each day, predictions of when and how things will go
back to normal adjust according to new knowledge. I am a music
teacher – I have no control over these things. But, I do have control
over how I react to what is happening around me.
Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty
in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in
every difficulty.” I would not call the COVID-19 pandemic an
opportunity, but throughout my life, I have tried to find the silver
lining in every experience. This experience was no exception.
When remote learning began, one of the first assignments I
gave my students was to develop a “Quarantine Playlist.” Each
student listed one song that made them feel better about the
pandemic and about their isolation from their friends. Student
song selections were populated in a spreadsheet we shared
among class members. Students were then asked to listen to the
quarantine songs of their peers and respond with a shout-out to
two classmates whose music choice spoke to them. For the rest of
this article, I would like to share my “Silver Linings Playlist” with
you in hopes that we all can look at this experience with a fresh
perspective and realize our power to adapt to any situation in the
Be willing to take the first step, no matter how
small it is. Concentrate on the fact that you are
willing to learn. Absolute miracles will happen.
– Louise Hay
For a few years, I’ve kept a list on my phone of technology
resources I would like to learn and use in my classroom. Remote
learning offered me the chance to chip away at that old, dusty
list – and to learn technological platforms I’d never heard of
before. These tools were extremely useful during remote learning
but also prepared me with an arsenal of resources I can use to
enhance learning in a face-to-face environment. NAfME has long
advocated for teachers to focus on individual growth in addition to
As a high school chorus teacher with a choir that performs
multiple times a year, it was very difficult for me to find the time
and energy needed to devote to individual growth and assessment.
While I felt bad about my lack of attention to individual learning, I
convinced myself if the group sounded better, then all individuals
in the group experienced growth. I was wrong. At the beginning
of remote learning, when I began grading simple assignments, I
was amazed at the students who did not understand concepts I had
covered in class before the pandemic.
Remote learning required we reinvent ourselves as music
teachers. Bob Morrison, a school board member and arts advocate
from New Jersey recently shared, “What we are teaching is not
changing, it is only the How.” The miracle of quarantine is that
6 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
we were all given time to learn things to help in this massive and
immediate transition. My use of technology to enhance individual
learning will continue long after online learning. I have found
tools that provide:
1. Resources to quickly assess student knowledge;
2. Interesting activities to supplement learning in the
classroom, and cover those standards I never had time to
3. Tutorials and practice for those students struggling with
4. Lessons and assessments that are easily differentiated for
every student; and
5. Assignments and assessments that can be graded quickly
and present a more accurate picture of learning in my
If you change the way you look at things, the
things you look at change.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
Interestingly, one week before schools closed doors for inperson
learning, I had begun reading Scott Edgar’s book, Music
Education and Social Emotional Learning: The Heart of Teaching
Music. The book inspired me to incorporate SEL (Social and
Emotional Learning) activities into my classroom – and remote
teaching provided a convenient vehicle to begin this commitment.
Throughout remote learning, my goal was to use the power of
music to help students discover and process their feelings about
the pandemic. Students who rarely spoke out in classroom
discussions poured their heart into these SEL assignments. I
was surprised by my students’ honesty. Their responses revealed
a lot to me. In the classroom, my focus had been the effect of
each student on class music making. Now, through these SEL
assignments, I could see the effects of music making on the hearts
and minds of each student – and it was beautiful.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then
walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever
you do, you have to keep moving forward.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
In March, all teachers were scrambling to adjust to an online
learning format. Perhaps no classrooms were more interrupted
than music classrooms. Concerts, MPAs, field trips, end of the year
traditions - they were all canceled. The traditional music classroom
was replaced with what felt like an alternate universe. It felt like
the rug had been pulled from under our feet. But, in a matter of
days, I saw a great collaborative effort designed to help everyone
stand again. Countless webinars and online meetings allowed
music teachers from around the world to collaborate and share
ideas. In one Zoom meeting I attended, there were chorus teachers
from twenty-five different states!
In the past few months, the leadership of NCMEA have been
most concerned with protecting music education for every North
Carolina student. In May, we began hearing of states who planned
to cut K-12 music classes for the following school year. Legislators
needed to understand that music could be taught in an online –
or any other modified – format. And, school leaders needed to
realize the importance of music education in the lives of students –
especially during this time of cultural upheaval.
MEA leaders throughout the country began to collaborate and
share ideas to advocate for music education. The results of these
interstate collaborations can be seen in two NCMEA documents
included in this journal (Letter to Superintendents and Principals,
page 9; Advocacy, page 10 ). Collaborations with other state leaders
were a tremendous help during this time. We are truly all in this
Due to this pandemic, there are – and will be for many years –
budgetary concerns that greatly affect funding for education. The
Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) legislation secures music as a
part of a well rounded education. While music education is written
into national law as something valuable and necessary for every
child in the nation, we must be diligent in protecting and ensuring
access to music education for every child in North Carolina.
Now, more than ever, we all need to be advocates for music
education. We need to be a part of the discussions on how school
will continue in the midst of this pandemic. You can be assured the
leadership of NCMEA is working diligently to support you at the
state and national level. We need your help in supporting music
education at the “grassroots” level. We must keep moving forward.
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up
having more. If you concentrate on what you
don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey
In my opinion, music teachers are the most flexible of all
educators. We are going to need that flexibility in the coming
months. We won’t teach music like we always have. I am certain
our classrooms will look different this school year, and we will
all grieve the loss of the way things used to be. But, our chance to
shine is in how we adjust, grow, and bloom in this unprecedented
time. Voltaire once wrote: “Life is a shipwreck but we must not
forget to sing in the lifeboats.” The support of our community, our
parents and students, our colleagues, and the leadership of NAfME
and NCMEA are the lifeboat in these turbulent waters. I hope we
can find the opportunity in this difficulty, and that we recognize
and remember the important lessons we are learning as we ride out
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 7
Notes from the Executive Director
Since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our personal and
professional lives, the NCMEA staff and board have been
working extremely hard to provide North Carolina music
educators with what may seem like an overabundance of teaching
resources. In early June, President Carol Earnhardt outlined a
vision of what schools might look like when they reopen in August.
NCMEA leadership also prepared a document: Examples of What
Music Might Look Like For Students Across North Carolina. Carol’s
video and the document that can be shared with administrators
can be accessed on the NCMEA website.
On May 27, 2020, fifty-three national arts and education
organizations across the United States joined together in a
statement to support Arts Education as Essential for students
during the COVID-19 pandemic. A few days later, the North
Carolina Arts Education Leadership Coalition (AELC); Arts North
Carolina (Arts NC); North Carolina Arts Education Association
(NCAEA); North Carolina Dance Education Organization
(NCDEO); North Carolina Music Educators Association
(NCMEA); North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators (NCTAE); and
the North Carolina Theatre Conference met to create a unified
document: Recommendations for Arts Education as NC Reopens
Schools. The document was shared with school reopening task
forces on June 5.
NC Department of Public Instruction and the State Board
of Education released their reopening plan Lighting Our Way
Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook on Reopening Schools on
Thursday, June 11. Their guidance follows the StrongSchoolsNC
Public Health Toolkit (K-12) released by the governor’s office
and NC Department of Health and Human Services. Schools are
required to create three plans depending on what restrictions are
necessary when school opens:
• Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing;
• Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing; and
• Plan C: Remote Learning Only.
The document lists health practices that are required and those
that are recommended. The recommended practices would be
tailored to each school/school district as appropriate.
The other big question is, what will our Professional
Development Conference look like this year? The conference
planning team will be meeting over the summer and hope to
have an announcement by August 1. If we are not able to meet
in person, we will pivot to providing virtual/online professional
development opportunities for members. And, we will extend the
50th Anniversary celebration through 2021. So stay tuned.
Speaking of the 50th
Anniversary, we were
thrilled to reveal the
new NCMEA logo. This
new logo was designed
to give NCMEA a more
contemporary look and be
adaptive in a variety of uses
such a digital, web, print and
even t-shirts. After our anniversary, the logo evolves in color and
use to highlight our teaching areas and programs.
NCMEA is extremely fortunate to be fiscally and operationally
healthy and will make it through this pandemic. We will continue
to provide these benefits and resources to our members:
• How to make the most of your career though professional
• Be informed about the latest news affecting music
• Help your students excel through local, state-wide and
national workshops and performance opportunities;
• Learn how to share the lasting value of music education
with your peers, administrators and elected officials.
Music education will prevail because we are all in this together!
courtesy of Daniel Briggs
8 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
June 8th, 2020
To North Carolina School Superintendents:
On behalf of the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA), thank you for your diligent work during this unprecedented time
regarding instruction for North Carolina students. The quick move to digital learning in March reflects the diligence and hard work of leaders
across our state. Now leaders are faced with making the complex and complicated decisions for instruction in the fall.
Music education has played an important role in these tumultuous times and will continue to do so for all students. The healing and unifying
power of all the arts has been evident as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. We have seen and heard it play out through works of art
on sidewalks, shared musical moments from porches, in plays and dance performances, and every other imaginable iteration of art making. As
you prepare plans for school reopening in the fall, we believe several factors pertaining specifically to music instruction warrant your careful
Music instruction is essential to the social and emotional health of our state’s students. The sense of community, awareness of and desire for the
welfare of others, and the interpersonal skills fostered in music classes are needed now more than ever. During this time of social and cultural
upheaval, it is essential that students continue to have access to the skills and space music making provides to explore, process, and express their
emotions and lived experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Social interaction and emotional health are enhanced by the ability to
express oneself creatively through music.
Music instruction increases student engagement and hope in school and beyond. A 2015 Gallup Poll of K–12 school district superintendents
identified student engagement and hope as critical elements for effective schools – even as important as graduation rates. Research from multiple
organizations demonstrates that student participation in the arts improves attendance, behavior, and academic performance. According to an
October 2018 Gallup Student Poll, students in art-rich schools with free/reduced lunch program participation of 75% or greater scored higher
than the overall mean on student engagement and hope. These students reported feeling cared for by the adults at their schools, being excited
for their own futures, holding a positive outlook on their employment prospects, and having confidence they can make a difference in the
world. Unlike most single grade or subject teachers who see students for one semester or year, music teachers have the unique privilege and
responsibility of building and nurturing relationships with the same students over multiple years of their development. These relationships and
the lessons learned through music will be critical in helping students adjust to their new reality and in keeping them engaged in learning.
Music instruction contributes to the development of students’ creativity and capacities preparing them to enter and contribute to North
Carolina’s creative economy. With its strong emphasis on team-building and self-reflection, music education is supremely suited to re-ignite
students’ interest in learning through collaboration, while simultaneously fostering creativity, critical thinking, and communication. These skills
are recognized as the “4 Cs” – the most desirable skills needed in the 21st-century worker.
Music instruction is part of a well-rounded education for all students as understood and supported by federal and state policymakers. As defined
in ESSA, “music and the arts” are a part of a well-rounded education. Every state in the nation recognizes the importance of the arts as reflected
in rigorous PreK-12 state arts standards. Music is a part of a balanced education, providing North Carolina students with essential skills and
knowledge they need to be productive, college and career ready citizens. As noted in Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor,
“An education without the arts is inadequate.”
Music instruction can continue in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face environment. While virtual music instruction looks different from face-toface
music instruction, it is vital to maintain music programs during this pandemic. In a virtual or hybrid environment, students can progress
in their music education with meaningful instruction in the NC Essential Standards for Music. The document, Recommendations for Arts
Education as North Carolina Reopens Schools, provides helpful consideration for the safe administration of all arts programs in a face-to-face
I can assure you that the membership of NCMEA shares your concerns for the health and safety of students, teachers, administrators,
and support staff as we look toward resuming instruction in the fall. However, our unwavering commitment to providing a rich and varied
educational experience to North Carolina students should remain a priority. NCMEA is actively monitoring the latest information and guidance
from experts on the national level to develop guidance for the safe continuation of quality music instruction for students of North Carolina.
If our organization can be of any further assistance as you complete the difficult task of planning for reopening in the fall, please do not
hesitate to call on us.
President, North Carolina Music Educators Association
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 9
NCMEA BELIEVES THAT MUSIC SHOULD
CONTINUE TO BE A PART OF THE EDUCATION
OF EVERY NORTH CAROLINA STUDENT
Many questions and valid concerns regarding the safety of students and teachers continue to surface
as they relate to the viability of music education in the immediate future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While teaching and learning may not be quite the same in our post-COVID-19 world, our state’s
commitment to providing a rich and varied educational experience to the students in North Carolina
should remain the same. As enumerated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), music education is
a part of a well-rounded education. During these tumultuous times, the benefits of music in a child’s
education are more important than ever.
Music education supports the social and emotional well-being
of students, whether through distance learning or in person. Social
and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a critical component of human
learning. During this time of social and cultural upheaval, it is
essential that students continue to explore, process, and express
their emotions and lived experiences through music in a safe and
supportive environment. Social interaction and emotional health
are enhanced by the ability to express oneself creatively through
Music education contributes to the development of students’
creativity and capacities, preparing them to enter and contribute
to North Carolina’s creative economy. With its strong emphasis
on team-building and self-reflection, music education is
supremely suited to reignite students’ interest in learning through
collaboration, while simultaneously fostering creativity, critical
thinking, and communication. These skills are recognized as
the 4 Cs – the most desirable skills needed in the 21st-century
Music education has a recognizable impact on student
engagement and attendance. Research from multiple
organizations demonstrates that student participation in the
arts improves attendance, behavior, and academic performance.
Unlike most single grade or subject teachers who see students for
one semester or year, music teachers have the unique privilege
and responsibility of building and nurturing relationships with
the same students over multiple years of their development.
These relationships and the lessons learned through music will
be critical in helping students adjust to their new reality and in
keeping them engaged in learning.
While virtual music education looks different from face-to-face
music instruction, it is vital to maintain music programs during
this pandemic. Music education standards, concepts, and skills
can be taught successfully in an online, hybrid, or other modified
Examples of How Music Instruction Might
Look for Students across North Carolina
Students will be able to progress in their music education with
meaningful instruction in the NC Essential Standards for Music.
Instruction could include:
• Being taught music standards through online platforms
such as Google, Canvas, Zoom, Teams, SmartMusic,
Sightreadingfactory.com, Musictheory.com, Quaver
• Using their instruments/voices at home to practice and
develop individual music skills.
10 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
• Using the observational and written skills of aural/
visual, compare/contrast, and the evaluation of music
• Describing and writing about music.
• Interacting individually or collectively using video
conferencing apps to share musical ideas, thoughts,
practices, feelings, etc.
• Creating their own music.
• Collaborating with other students through the use of
video and audio recordings.
A combination of in-person and virtual instruction with
additional modifications that could include:
• The creation of smaller ensembles within larger existing
ensembles to create social distancing.
• Rotation of face-to-face instruction and creative use of
facilities in combination with online components.
MUSIC EDUCATION MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDIES MUSIC PERFORMANCE
• Teaching fundamentals as outlined in the North Carolina
Essential Standards in the socially distanced classroom.
The actual playing of instruments and singing can be
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accommodated with the recommendation from local
• Reinforce fundamentals at home with instrument
practice/singing with remote learning guidelines and
The challenging situation for our return to the classroom is
1. The safety/health of students and staff; and
2. The financial impact on schools.
NCMEA and NAfME will continue to communicate resources
and guidance for teachers. Watch your emails, social media, and
websites for regular updates.
What You Should Do Now
• Stay in touch with your students! Keep engaging them in
music however you can.
• Create a plan for recruitment and retention.
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MUSIC EDUCATION MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDIES MUSIC PERFORMANCE music.appstate.edu | 828.262.3020 MUSIC THERAPY
• Keep parents informed about what is happening and what
they can do to help.
• Stay in touch with administrators – be a part of
discussions for reopening.
• Contact your music vendors to see what resources are
• Check out numerous professional development webinars
and resources offered by NCMEA and NAfME.
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MUSIC EDUCATION MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDIES MUSIC PERFORMANCE
MUSIC EDUCATION MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDIES MUSIC PERFORMANCE
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MUSIC THERAPY SACRED MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION
music.appstate.edu | 828.262.3020
MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDIES
MUSIC THERAPY SACRED MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION
MUSIC THERAPY SACRED MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION
music.appstate.edu | 828.262.3020
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NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 11
Music Advocacy in
Where Are We Headed?
by James Daugherty
The Public School Forum of North Carolina shares, “In
1994, five school districts in low-wealth counties, along
with families, filed a lawsuit against the state (Leandro v.
State of North Carolina) arguing that their school districts did
not have enough money to provide an equal education for their
children, despite the fact that they taxed their residents higher
than average. Twenty-five years later, the Leandro case remains
one of the biggest education policy issues in North Carolina.”
Hoke, Halifax, Robeson, Vance, and Cumberland, were among
the lowest funded in the state (www.ncforum.org/leandro/).
In an effort to meet the constitutional standards set by
the long-running Leandro case, WestEd, an independent
consultant directed by Judge David Lee, was charged to offer
recommendations to meet the mandates of Leandro by defining
how North Carolina might ensure all students in the state have
the opportunity for a sound basic education.
Shaping Our Future
The WestEd report and the action plan argue “the challenges
of meeting this responsibility have increased since the original
decision, and the state needs to significantly increase its
commitment and efforts to provide for the education of every
student. To do so, the state will need to strategically improve
and transform multiple components of the education system,
from ensuring an adequate supply of qualified teachers and
principals; to improving curriculum, instruction and assessment;
to more effectively addressing the needs of at-risk students and
the persistent gaps in achievement among groups of students.
A deep ongoing commitment and wise investments are vital to
building and maintaining the required capacity at the school,
district, regional, and state levels. The future of the state hangs in
the balance.” WestEd, Learning Policy Institute, & Friday Institute
for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University
(2019). Sound Basic Education for All: An Action Plan for North
Carolina. San Francisco, CA: WestEd, (p. 15).
NCMEA recently had the opportunity to offer public input
following the WestEd Study on key issues and challenges related
to North Carolina’s education system and recommendations for
an action plan.
Many of the concerns articulated in the report resonate clearly
when NCMEA considers the issues of access, equity, inclusion,
and diversity in North Carolina’s public schools. One of the
critical needs outlined in the report is our public schools’ need
to direct resources, opportunities, and initiatives to economically
NCMEA leadership consistently listens to members’ concerns
about issues they feel contribute to the disparity of access to
music education within the state, particularly in low income and
Title I schools/areas. While one county may offer a variety of
music education options from grades K-12, a neighboring county
offers music to only secondary students or, in the worst cases,
music programs have been cut entirely.
As affirmed in the WestEd report, NCMEA wholeheartedly
agrees music education is, “of great value for students, helping
prepare them for college, careers, and civic life and helping them
acquire digital-age skills in the areas of critical problem solving,
communications, collaboration, and creative thinking” (WestEd,
p. 100). The lack of music education in poor counties and schools
is not acceptable, considering the well -researched benefits of
music study to young people.
In addition to music and the arts being a part of a wellrounded
education as defined in ESSA, recent research draws
significant connections to music and the arts and a student’s
ability to confront social and emotional challenges, many of
which are magnified by the status of residing in a low-income
family. Through music and arts instruction, schools can cultivate
a nurturing, participatory, and equitable experience that supports
the social and emotional learning (SEL) needs of these lowincome
learners. Recent research supports that SEL skills are
most effective when embedded into the curriculum. We believe
12 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
these skills are more authentically experienced for our students
through music and arts education experiences. Music programs
underscore three SEL embedded techniques: group selfreflection,
emotional vocabulary building, and reflection with
By participating in the public response period to the WestEd
report, NCMEA advocated for music education by uplifting the
voice of music into the conversation regarding a sound basic
education for our students. To address the challenges outlined
by Leandro, as well as challenges all educators face in trying to
embrace inclusion, diversity, equity, and access, there must be
common language, understanding, and support. Having this
foundation is critical no matter the lens through which we view
the world. We must share our lenses with one another to better
understand and to better educate. Advocacy must be proactive
rather than reactive.
Maintaining Forward Momentum
NCMEA continues to advocate for a North Carolina high
school graduation requirement including a unit of credit in arts
education. When passed by the General Assembly, this legislation
will direct the State Board of Education to modify the state’s
graduation requirements to include at least one unit of required
credit to be completed in an arts education course at any time
between grades six through twelve. This legislation was closer
than ever to passing this year, but slipped by when the governor
vetoed the budget bill. The ugly specter of music and the arts
being eliminated to fund other aspects of education lingers –
especially in economically disadvantaged school districts.
In these unusual and atypical times, we are in urgent need
of music advocates. Sharing the importance Congress placed
on music and the arts by enumerating them into the Every
Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, with our communities
and leaders is critical right now. Advocating for the passage of
state and local legislation supporting the role of music in our
schools will ultimately strengthen the role of music education
in our schools while simultaneously offering protection from
elimination scenarios during very atypical times. Continuing to
broaden the footprint of music through legislation
will ultimately aid in the elimination of the
disparity of access to a well-rounded education
for all students. Regardless of socioeconomic
status or geographical location, all North
Carolina students should be provided the
enriching intellectual advantages offered only
by participation in music and the arts.
Another advocacy goal NCMEA gleaned from
the WestEd report is for North Carolina to provide
a qualified, well-prepared, and diverse teaching
staff in every school. The report recommends our
state increase the pipeline of diverse, well-prepared
teachers who enter through high retention pathways
and meet the needs of the state’s public schools. It was
noted, North Carolina-trained teachers have the highest levels
of effectiveness and retention of any major pathway in the state.
North Carolina has excellent music education degree programs in
the UNC system as well as many private colleges and universities
in the state. This makes partnering with our higher education
peers even more critical.
WestEd also recommends North Carolina develop a system to
ensure all North Carolina teachers have continued professional
learning opportunities to improve and update their knowledge
and practices. The State Board of Education can look to NCMEA
and the other arts education professional associations (visual
arts, theater and dance) who already provide annual professional
development conferences in our disciplines.
NCMEA’s three day in-service conference is attended by more
than 1,500 K–12 music educators, college students and higher
ed faculty in Winston-Salem each November. At the NCMEA
Professional Development Conference, and with student-events
throughout the year, NCMEA sponsors nationally recognized,
regional and North Carolina presenters who provide over 200
clinics and sessions in general music, band, jazz, choral and
orchestra education. In partnership with the North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction, conference attendees can earn
up to 20 hours of CEU credits for state licensure and National
Board Certification. Funding for professional development has
decreased in recent years so advocating to increase this funding
is essential. Arts education professional associations like NCMEA
are providing high-quality professional development at a very
NCMEA considered the recommendation that North Carolina
provide high-quality comprehensive mentoring and induction
support for novice teachers in their first three years of teaching
to increase both their effectiveness and their retention. The
State Board of Education can look to NCMEA and the other
arts education professional associations as partners in mentor
programs. NCMEA’s Mentor Program develops teams that
consist of the new teacher, a second- or third-year teacher, and a
veteran teacher. NCMEA schedules a mentor retreat at the annual
professional development conference and sub pay for mentor/
mentee visits throughout the school year.
Initiatives - Where Are We Headed,
Especially During and After a Pandemic?
We know students and teachers are yearning
for NCMEA to help them where they are,
to value what they do, and to support
their music-making efforts in their own
communities. In developing current
advocacy initiatives, the socioeconomic
and political climate demands a focus on
leadership development (particularly leaders
working in/with underrepresented populations
and socioeconomic groups), with district presidents,
and to develop leaders who might not typically be
represented. Because national advocacy tools don’t always
support work on the state or local level (and doesn’t always
support advocacy within diverse populations), we continue to try
and reach our members where they are in their advocacy efforts.
We continue to support them through the development of our
own Advocacy Toolkit.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 13
As all aspects of life and the economy recover from the
COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative all members of NCMEA
use every tool and resource possible (including this toolkit)
in their communities to champion music as an essential tool
in returning life to a feeling of normal. NCMEA knows an
advocacy goal of ours must be helping cultivate leaders in our
field, understanding music leadership is going to look different
depending on where a teacher is located in the state.
Through conversations with NCMEA leadership, we’ve
learned some music teachers may feel their voice is not valued
because of their experience, background, or identity. To be strong
advocates, it is critical to purposefully listen to, motivate, and
support music teachers in their efforts to bring music into the
lives of their students where they are, no matter the circumstance.
Work must continue to build relationships with legislative
leaders so they recognize the value of music education in our
schools is of higher importance than political position. These
relationships are built so we can work proactively, not reactively.
Further, connecting and empowering all members to reach out
to leaders at the local, state, and national level no matter their
resources or situation will be a true measure of success.
To further address these initiatives, NCMEA plans to use
the research, findings, and
recommendations found in
NAfME’s Cook Ross report
on NAfME’s structure and
culture in the area of diversity,
equity, inclusion, and access.
In striving to be culturally
responsive, NCMEA will
utilize this resource to provide
music educators with resources
and opportunities to address
diversity, equity, access
and inclusion within music
education. The multicultural
committee will be reaching out
to other state MEAs and NAfME
for guidance and best practices
in supporting educators, as well
Advocacy Summit 2018
as using North Carolina educators and members as mentors in
In recent months, NCMEA has reaffirmed the importance of
facilitating an intentional focus on connecting music education
to the social and emotional needs of students. As we talk to
education partners across our state and nation, SEL is rapidly
becoming a center-point of all work supporting students no
matter their subject area. Work within North Carolina through
the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework has SEL
tenets embedded throughout. Connecting the value of music to
the value of SEL is a critical next step in advocacy efforts in order
to remind those outside the music education profession what it is
we do and why we are so imperative in the lives of students who
face a complex world full of new challenges.
Music lends a natural connection to SEL support and we
must break the obstacle of teacher understanding on how music
impacts SEL to help advocate for the placement of music in
curriculums now more than ever. As the recovery and healing
process from COVID-19 begins, the powerful connection of
music to healing must be made. NCMEA anticipates critical
budget decisions in the coming months as the world has
been turned upside down through this pandemic. We realize
advocating for music’s supporting role in educating the wholechild
and the social-emotional needs of the whole-child will be a
significant reference point in keeping continued financial support
for music solidly in place.
Reflecting on North Carolina’s Leandro decision has greatly
impacted and shaped NCMEA’s advocacy goals and planning.
After the first-ever Advocacy Summit in 2018, many attendees
shared that other music educators would benefit greatly from
training similar to the summit. Recognizing the need to reach
more members, especially from underrepresented or remote areas
of the state, NCMEA is working to host district level advocacy
training similar to our Advocacy Summit. The vastness of North
Carolina’s geography poses an obstacle to our educators in the
most needy communities being able to attend state level training.
By going directly to each district, obstacles such as travel
might be avoided, allowing
targeted support to members
with useful information tailored
to their communities. A goal
of NCMEA’s committee work
is to provide music educators
with resources such as articles,
training, and webinars on topics
relating to working in and
supporting diverse populations,
inclusive practices in music
education and SEL as it relates
to music education.
In recent years, our
advocacy efforts have been
focused heavily on responding
to legislation with the potential
of a negative impact on music
education throughout the state. A great deal of resources and
effort have been spent reactively responding to this legislation.
Now that established, positive relationships have been built
among various legislators and educational stakeholders, we can
shift the focus to assisting members on a more local level.
Supporting advocacy training for our members where they
are, not making the training one size fits all, is an extremely
important mindset shift. The importance of recognizing the
need to reach more members, especially from underrepresented
or remote areas of the state cannot be stressed enough. In the
simplest sense, the fruition of advocacy efforts will be seen
through greater advocacy engagement from all demographics
of NCMEA membership. As NCMEA continues proactively
supporting music education for all students in North Carolina,
it is important to seek input from all stakeholders and training
members on their specific advocacy and culturally responsive
14 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
teaching needs. With this approach, NCMEA will be able to offer
targeted grassroots strategies, tools and resources to support
advocacy, and culturally responsive practices for members
within their classrooms and communities. After much thought
and “soul-searching” from NCMEA leadership and member
input, NCMEA leadership is impassioned and firmly believes the
addition of representation from underrepresented areas will be a
true measurement of success in moving forward.
The development of grassroots leaders within the districts
that can continue advocacy at the district level will be a hallmark
of our success in this effort. Members are the experts in their
communities and for lasting advocacy efforts to continue, those
experts must be supported with resources and training that
supports needs relevant to their work. It is a mission of NCMEA
to empower members to personalize their advocacy efforts in
order to implement strategies, information, and resources best
suited to support music making experiences for years to come.
With COVID-19 changing the entire way student educational
and social-emotional needs are met, the 2020 – 2021 school
year is sure to look and feel very different. A definite challenge
will be helping members navigate music education in unknown
circumstances and simply stay the course while focusing on highquality
music programs in North Carolina’s schools. We must,
together, continue to be proactive and not merely reactive to what
is happening in the world in which we live and learn.
Teachers will be adjusting to the new norm of educating
and this may lead to little time for them to focus on advocacy;
therefore, advocacy must be viewed as a natural response, not
something labored to achieve. Upon adjusting to the new norm,
we also anticipate funding for education will be cut due to the
loss of revenue, which could lead to loss of program support
and/or programs altogether. Funding cuts will make advocating
for high quality and visible music programs more critical than
The “what ifs” of the pandemic are endless, and frankly, can
be overwhelming, but NCMEA is striving to be proactive and
flexible in thought and approach on how to support teachers. By
partnering with many other arts and education organizations
we will glean all we can from other state MEA’s and NAfME
resources and advance the cause of music together.
Prof. Damien Crutcher
9 th & 10 th Grade Honor Band
Conductor, Detroit Community Concert Band,
CEO, Crescendo Detroit, & Wayne State University
Dr. Sarah McKoin
11 th & 12 th Grade Honor Band
Director of Bands
Texas Tech University
Prof. H. Robert Reynolds
Carolina Conductors Conference
Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan
and University of Southern California
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 15
Jason Barclift, Chair
Greetings, friends! In this article, I would typically thank
the hosts for a wonderful All-State Band Clinic and
congratulate you on fantastic performances by your
students. I would like to thank Jeff Fuchs and his staff at UNC
for their preparations early in the semester. They are always so
welcoming and accommodating. I’d also like to thank all of the
chairpersons for the All-State auditions and clinics. The auditions
went smoothly and plans for the clinic were well underway.
Unfortunately, everything has been different since March.
Who'd have ever guessed COVID-19 would disrupt our lives this
much and for this long? Your NCBA State
Board had a difficult decision when they
chose to cancel the All-State Honors Band
Clinic this spring. By now, it all seems
obvious, but at the time it was a difficult
decision. I want to thank you for your
support through that time.
I hope you are all enjoying your
summer. I imagine even your summer
vacation looks different from the norm.
At this time, we still don’t know what the
future holds; but by the time you read this, you
will know more than I do right now. What will school look like
in the fall? I sure hope those in charge remember how important
music education is to our students.
We need to stand together and communicate with our
legislators to make sure they don’t forget about us. I can’t say it
any better than Kathleen D. Sanz, past president of the National
Association for Music Education, “It is vitally important to
advocate for music and arts education now, as school districts
and states begin to undertake the challenging task of planning
the 2020 – 21 school year. We need to remind policymakers at
all levels, from state legislatures to school boards, that the arts
are part of a complete and well-rounded education that every
student, regardless of background, must receive.”
While we do not know what the 2020 – 21 school year will
look like, I promise you, the NCBA State Board will make all
of our decisions based upon the safety and well-being of our
students. Moving forward, I continue to reflect on NCBA and
what our role needs to be during this time.
At this point, I see two main goals:
1. Provide an outlet for band directors across the state to
share ideas; and
2. Provide suitable replacements for All-District, MPA, and
Solo & Ensemble.
Learning from Each Other
I envision some sort of platform
to share lesson plans, activities, and
motivation strategies across the state.
With hundreds of band directors in
North Carolina, we need to support
one another. Let’s face it, we all have
different strengths and we all need
the support of each other. Sharing our
individual creativity is a great way
to help prevent band directors from
feeling alone in all of this.
I believe our organization provides a motivation and
encouragement to students through our various events. Ruth
Petersen has provided some great virtual ideas that I think we
need to seriously consider. In trying to remain optimistic, I have
thought “what if ” we determine a method for every district to
have remote All-District auditions. And “what if ” North Carolina
is open for business in May 2021. Wouldn’t it be nice if we, as a
state, were prepared for an All-State Band?
Let’s begin thinking outside the box for these events. If you
have ideas and/or technological talents for either of these goals,
please share them with your district chair who will then share
that information with the NCBA Executive Board.
Thanks again for all of your support!
16 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
Enumerating the Importance of African American
Music Beyond the Moment
A Call for Advocacy, Reflection, and Action – June 2020
In August 2019, NAfME endorsed a second bicameral
resolution to celebrate the musical contributions of African
Americans to United States culture and history. The resolution
highlights the importance of increasing African American students’
broad participation in music education, as well as recognizing June
as African American Music Appreciation Month.
While first decreed in the Carter administration as Black Music
Month, it was not until 2000 that the first congressional resolution
to officially commemorate African American music formally
established African American Music Appreciation Month.
As NCMEA celebrates our fiftieth anniversary, we want to
celebrate and recognize the significant milestones and struggles of
the African American music experience within North Carolina.
There is no question that the power of African American music has
defined the American experience and we also know from our own
beginnings that strong leadership from within African American
music associations paved the way for NCMEA to form. Great
leaders such as Theresa Claggett, Eloise Penn, and Emily Kelly
were disturbed by the professional isolation resulting from the
separateness inherent in the segregated system.
Through the intentional and forward thinking process of a
merger rather than integration of membership, it took nearly four
years to complete the dissolution and scrapping of the constitutions
of NCSMTA, NCBDA, and NCMEC as a scaffold for the new
constitution of NCMEA. This was difficult, but necessary work.
Recent events remind us of the legacy of these visionary leaders.
As Dr. Hortense R. Kerr, NCMEA’s first president, shared, “We
have been rewarded for taking such a tremendous risk, for we have
lived to see the potential for a greater, richer, and healthier music
In this same spirit, we want to uplift this music, their creators,
and the music educators that have inspired them. We want to
take this opportunity to especially celebrate the great works of
significant African American musicians from North Carolina such
as Maceo Parker, Etta Baker, Nina Simone, John Coltrane, and
countless others. The enumeration of African American Music
Month provides NCMEA an opportunity to reflect on how African
Americans have shaped our musical heritage and contributed to
music in enriching human life throughout our state and nation’s
While African American Music Month is a celebration, recent
unrest in our state and nation demonstrates the work of celebrating
the accomplishments of Black musicians must not be confined to
merely one moment in the calendar year. We must continuously
promote the work and music of these musicians, educators, and
Society often celebrates and reaps the benefits of the
accomplishments of Black music and its people, and the
collective work of its communities, but it is equally important to
acknowledge the daily struggles of the Black American experience.
Through the teaching process music educators must actively
research and seek out information and pedagogy that promotes
Black music and works to dismantle harmful stereotypes and
unconscious bias within our teaching and interactions throughout
the year. If music educators have not researched the experiences
and struggles of Black musicians and communities as well as their
pedagogy and teaching process, the work and ultimate celebration
of Black music is not complete. Just as Dr. Kerr reiterated, it is
important to ensure the vast positive impacts of a people can be
continued for generations to come.
Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Education affirm,
“Teachers of color are positive role models for all students in
breaking down negative stereotypes and preparing students to live
and work in a multiracial society.” NCMEA and NAfME believe
that having music teachers who both represent and are prepared to
respond to students’ diverse creative interests will ensure African
American youth have a space in the classroom and the optimal
conditions to confidently pursue music.
Music is a great unifier, but unification does not uplift some and
relegate the marginalized to designated months or predetermined
expectations. As NCMEA navigates the uncomfortable work of
uprooting the unconscious bias within the association, individual
members are encouraged to equally reflect and respond. This work
is not easy and it must be done with purpose and intention.
As music educators often challenge students to stretch beyond
what they dream to be possible, teachers themselves must be
challenged to do the same. While the work continues throughout
local communities, the state, and the nation, NCMEA will continue
to seek experts in this field to provide more resources for members
in the coming future. Now is a wonderful time to research and
reflect so that NCMEA may move forward in shaping a better
music education landscape for all.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 17
Dee Yoder, Chair
There we were, going about our day to day life and then...
we weren’t. Our world has been turned upside down and
backwards because of a virus. Who would have thought,
in this day and time, we would find ourselves here, with stay at
home orders from our governor, schools being taught virtually
and the craziness of trying to cope with most businesses
being closed? Each day we got up
and struggled with the changes, the
drastic ways almost every aspect of
our world was affected. Except our
constant – music.
It happened so fast. We began
scrambling to learn ways to try to
bring normalcy to our students when
nothing was normal, to engage them,
to learn how to teach from a distance
while keeping our heads high, as
well as finding ways to deal with the
social and emotional for them and
for our own families and selves. Like
musicians do, we will do it with a
song and a smile; through sadness or
celebration, we do it with music.
As the days turned to weeks, then months, and the end of
the school year came, I realized we needed each other more
than ever, to not feel alone and to share our stories of struggles,
failures and successes.
Each school system chose how to have music be a part of
our continuum. Many systems chose to do nothing or choice/
bingo boards that often included other subjects like PE,
Guidance, Media and Art. The question was equability and not to
overwhelm the students without considering the SEL that music
inherently brings. Other systems chose virtual learning using
platforms like SeeSaw and Google Classroom. If we didn’t know
how to use these platforms or many more, we took webinars,
found Facebook groups to help learn how make them work in
the music classroom, or struggled. No matter what we were going
18 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
I began using Flipgrid
to allow my older students
to test for their Recorder
Karate belts and the younger
students were able to respond
to posted prompts. This
was a turning point in my
remote instruction. Student
participation increased and I
became excited about online
learning for the first time.
through or feeling, our hearts were hurting because we are music
teachers who missed bringing joy to our students.
I found it important to hear what others were doing. I
felt more alone in my school than ever. After reaching out to
others, I have their stories to share. I also want you to share
your stories and the impact they
had on your students and school
family. It is important to not feel
alone and to feel the warmth of
this community. Here are a few
mini-articles for you. Please feel
free to share your story with me
or on our facebook page, NCMEA
Rick Sigler, District 5
I imagine most of us were
seeing the COVID-19 wave coming
and knew teaching music from
home would be one of the biggest
challenges of our careers, no matter
how many years we had under our
belts. COVID-19 has been an especially difficult challenge for
many of us, as we have the added issue of not being in the same
room with our kids, working as a group to create an art form that
is fundamentally built as ensembles. After all, distance learning
through online meeting apps cannot fully match being in the
same room, weaving our creation into something larger than it
could be on its own.
My focus on what to do came rather fast, especially after
speaking with my administrators and specialist team. Our school,
which has a predominantly low socioeconomic population,
would need to focus strongly on the classroom teaching,
primarily language arts and mathematics. I regularly advocate
for music education, though I know in this case, it was the right
thing to do. The students, parents, and teachers were dealing with
a new kind of challenge, with new stressors, new concerns, and
new issues ranging from online classrooms to which child uses
the computer at what time, if they have the technology at all.
My focus was going to be to focus on the experiential facet of
music education, the exploratory side, while limiting the theory.
I wanted to be a respite for my students – a chance to let them
experience the excitement of listening to and creating music
rather than focus on the intricacies of how it works. I wanted
music to be their escape, their play, their fun, all the while finding
ways for them to learn about our discipline in the process.
By focusing on music in this direction, I created music videos
for the children to sing with. I chose fun songs, relevant to what
they knew. I found online games for them to play with music
education in mind. I made sure they knew they were missed,
that they were important, and that they, too, were musicians, no
matter whether they were at home, in my class, or on a stage.
And though I had several lessons that included music theory,
it was done in such a way they would find a way to enjoy the
process rather than it be another exercise not unlike their normal
classwork. I wanted them to feel the joy of music each time they
logged on to do a lesson.
When we take to heart the ins and outs of what a child
should know by the end of their elementary career – no matter
their situation of financial stability, racial background, or viral
outbreak, we should ensure our students learn that music is
beautiful, and accessible to them in every way possible. Dr.
Tim Lautzenheiser writes, “The mission is to teach the mastery
of musical skills so our students can access quality music
and experience the joy of an ever-evolving sense of aesthetic
expression.” In order to get them there, the joy of music should
always be the first thing we share.
Jana Winders, District 3
So, I come to you with a challenge. I would like you to write
down your thoughts of where you are, where you think we are
going, and how to do what we do without losing our minds!
I am the eternal optimist when it comes to teaching. Heading
into mid-March was an exciting time for my school. Our second
and third graders were set to perform their program, my Singing
Cardinals chorus was perfecting their spring concert, and we
were coming to the part of the year where lasting memories were
being made with fifth grade students who would be moving on to
middle school. On Friday, March 13 I hugged kids as they left for
the weekend, not knowing it would be the last time I would see
them for the 2019 – 20 school year.
The first two weeks out were a blur with uncertainty. My rural
school district focused on feeding our students and being the
eternal optimist, I prepared for our return to school. When North
Carolina schools received the news that we would be closed
until May 15, I was heartbroken. That return date would cancel
all of our spring concerts and I was worried about my students’
welfare. As our district transitioned into remote learning mode, I
struggled to find ways to feel connected to my students.
I teach at two rural schools and they chose to use Google
Classroom and Seesaw as their remote learning platforms. I
dutifully attended virtual professional development to learn how
to use online tools for remote learning, but honestly I became
more and more disenchanted with teaching music online. Many
of my students were struggling with remote learning either due to
unreliable internet service or lack of devices so the participation
was low. I realized my students were craving my personal
attention in these uncertain times more than anything else. That’s
when I made it my mission to create opportunities to aid my
students’ social and emotional well-being. I started making funny
videos with other teachers about what we missed about school.
These videos let our students know that we hadn’t forgotten
them. Our district has not allowed any parades or drive by
visits of any kind, so these videos have reassured our students
we are thinking about them. Our electives team created LAMP
Week, which was a virtual spirit week where each day focused
on a different elective. I began using Flipgrid to allow my older
students to test for their Recorder Karate belts and the younger
students were able to respond to posted prompts. This was a
turning point in my remote instruction. Student participation
increased and I became excited about online learning for the
first time. As the school year closed I tried not to focus on what
was lost, but on the gratitude for the relationships that were
strengthened with families during this time.
I have no idea what next year will look like and the
uncertainty of that is frightening to me. Making music is a
communal activity. Students sing, dance, and play instruments
every week in my class. If these things are not allowed, my
teaching style will have to drastically change. However, I know
arts education is essential. I know providing a welcoming
environment for students to express themselves in is an integral
part of a well rounded education. Going into instruction for next
year may seem uncertain in terms of what it will physically look
like, but what our class provides for students will not change.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 19
Jazzmone Sutton, District 3
Walking into this “remote learning” experience had me sitting
with a myriad of emotions. I was drowning in recommendations
of platforms, digital recordings, and How To Do Distance/
Remote Learning videos, podcasts, posts and Zoom meetings
with colleagues around the nation. Someone on a social media
group said it best, “It would take decades for us, and our
students, to use and learn from all the resources and ideas that
are presented to us.” To say I was overwhelmed by a tidal wave of
change on a personal and professional level would have been an
Early on in this remote learning
experience, a student sent me a
composition created in the Chrome
Music Lab platform. It wasn’t perfect
or polished, but I was so glad they
were creating music and sharing it
with me. I asked him what the goal
of his composition was. His response
was the simplest and yet most
profound response I had gotten since
this all started:
“The goal of this music is
to make music. I love music.”
Throughout this experience, I’ve
used his words to guide me back
to my purpose: to provide a music education that empowers
my students to make music where they are. Music making for
everyone means it must be genuine and meaningful to them.
As we prepare for a new school year that will undoubtedly
throw us some unprecedented circumstances, I continue to
work in concert with my students to create meaningful music
experiences that empower them to make music no matter where
Cheryl Lewis, District 8
I recently heard a presenter in a webinar say, “Education
means change.” Doesn’t that definition fit where we are as music
educators, teaching during a pandemic? In Buncombe County,
with distance learning has
been a time of personal
and professional growth,
particularly about using
technology as a tool to
facilitate learning. This has
made me more confident
in my ability to think about
teaching music in new ways.
music teachers have reached students in a variety of ways during
this time of virtual learning. Some have created their own
online classrooms and are posting activities through platforms
like Seesaw and Google Classroom. Others send assignments
to classroom teachers who then post online to students. Still
others are sharing activities with students on school websites and
sending paper packets home. Every community presents a unique
set of challenges in the way students’ needs are being met.
My experience with distance learning has been a time of
personal and professional growth, particularly about using
technology as a tool to facilitate
learning. This has made me more
confident in my ability to think
about teaching music in new ways.
My specialist team at school and my
fellow elementary music educators
in Buncombe County have been a
source of strength for me during
this time. Online meeting time has
allowed us to share things that have
worked well, and ask for help as
we have navigated through all the
challenges with virtual learning.
I have learned it is okay to tell
students, “I am learning with you.”
One unexpected benefit from
virtual learning is having the
opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with students.
As they shared their music with me each week, I was able to see
their individuality better than when I saw them in a large group
setting every six or seven days. Students have been creating and
singing melodic patterns, writing rhythm patterns and reading
them to me, improvising, and creating digital music. I’ve even
had students and parents singing through assignments together!
That is a special gift.
Nobody knows what the future is going to look like, but it is
nice to remember the silver linings from this time.
20 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
Middle School Choral
Aaron Lafreniere, Chair
Hello, my friends and colleagues. I’m not quite sure where
to begin. The last article I wrote for the spring journal
was written after the announcement of the closing of
school until May 15. Now, as I am writing this one, school was
closed for the remainder of the school year, a new calendar has
been released for next year, and reopening plans have yet to be
As teachers, we have been navigating the constant changes to
grading policies and teacher expectations since the lock down
began due to COVID-19. We have been forced to say goodbye
to our students in a way that is not traditional, while many
of us have found ways to make the end of year special for our
students. At my school, which services grades 6 – 12, our music
department created a graduation video for the eighth grade
students using our annual end-of-year song. For our seniors, we
took three days to visit their homes, gave them a yard sign and
sent them on to their next journey in our own special way.
Like all of you, I miss teaching, being in the classroom,
singing, being around my coworkers and students, and moments
like MPA, All-State Chorus, and our end-of-year concerts.
Honestly, I have not enjoyed being an online chorus teacher.
The best part about teaching is the connection we achieve when
creating music together and the accomplishment we all feel when
the concert is finished. I always close every class by saying “we
are a TEAM” and my students respond with, “Together, Everyone
Achieves More!” However, when not all of your students are
attending online class video calls or completing the assignments
you have worked hard to create, the feeling of togetherness and
teamwork feels lost.
Currently, there are concerns over what next year’s calendar
will look like. My school system plans to start the school year
earlier and have five remote learning days. Even this could change
as we move further into the summer. What will next year look
like? Will I have to teach remotely? If so, for how long? What will
our concerts look like? Will we be able to have concerts at all? I
wish I had the answers to these questions.
With all of these unknowns, I find myself unsure of what to
share with you all. What did my classes do during quarantine?
As mentioned in my previous article, I incorporated Chorus
Karate. Each week, students completed a music theory test via
a Google Form and then performed a rhythmic exercise and a
melodic exercise in SmartMusic. I used the method book Habits
of a Successful Choral Musician, by Scott Rush, in SmartMusic
for the exercises aligned with Chorus Karate. In addition to the
assignments, I created a digital badge board to “gamify” the
classroom. Once a student completed the assignments necessary
to finish a belt, I awarded them the badge that corresponded to
that achievement. For example, a student completed all three
tasks to complete yellow belt, then I awarded a student the yellow
belt badge. I did this to create a sense of competition and spark
motivation for completing the assignments. All in all, I would
have to say I am pleased with the way this program worked out
for my classes. I will probably continue this in some form or
fashion, with or without remote instruction, next school year.
Another online tool I discovered during quarantine is
flippity.net. They have templates to turn a Google Sheet
into interactive activities, and offer a demo, instructions,
and a template of all of their activities. They have activities
recommended for online teaching such as a scavenger hunt.
I created one of these for treble clef note identification and
another for bass clef. The site has student study aids, like flash
cards and creating a timeline and teacher aids like a badge tracker
and a progress indicator. The site also offers other activities which
can be used in the physical classroom or attempted through a
video conference call, such as a quiz show and bingo. The site is
packed with activities, and I encourage you to check out. The best
part: it’s all FREE!
It was so bizarre to have to go into my classroom after the
state shut down. It was like walking into a ghost town. The worst
part was packing up the classroom without the opportunity to say
goodbye to my students. It felt like unpacking for a trip I never
got to take. I am sure you all felt the same.
Whatever the future holds, I hope you enjoy your summer
break not worrying about teaching online, having a Zoom
class, grading work in Canvas, listening to takes in SmartMusic,
answering emails, etc. I hope the start of next school year,
whatever it looks like, goes smoothly for you. Until next time,
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 21
High School Choral
Bethany Jennings, Chair
continue to be rendered speechless regarding the last
three months. The whiplash pivot to remote teaching, a
virtual classroom, online lessons – both synchronous and
asynchronous, digital assessments, and all. the. grading. (that
we knew would not count in the end), was one heck of a roller
coaster ride. It will be impossible to forget the deluge of digital
information (junk?), ‘freebies’, and ‘oh, you must try this!’ that
left me with more of a digital hoard than a
curated digital plan for success. I wanted to
punch things with every new email taunting
“we’re all in this together.”
I also fell, unintentionally and
haphazardly, into the comparison trap with
other teachers. Like getting off any roller
coaster, I entered June dazed, confused, and
grossly nauseous. Toward the end of May, I
was fortunate to hit a small stride with my
students and thought I could see the light
at the end of the tunnel, but only recently
realized it is looking more like another train
– um, I mean roller coaster.
As I write, the fall months are about as
clear as a recently-changed freshman male
voice trying to sing middle C. Hopefully,
by the time you read this, plans will have
been articulated. When some semblance
of what the semester will look like and plans
are announced, the larger NCMEA and our High School Choral
section will pivot to try to provide support in the finer details.
Our NCMEA leadership has been tirelessly working since March
to advocate, inform, direct, build, and more, on our behalf.
"Proactive" would be an understatement. The work that has –
and is – currently being done is both extensive and intensive.
Unfortunately, their hard work is not always known or seen.
(Kind of like being a choral music educator, right?!). We are
fortunate to be a part of this organization.
The voice of one of my favorite mentors plays in my mind,
“Fail to plan, plan to fail.” In my summer downtime, I try to zoom
out to get an honest look at the big picture of my choral program.
My thoughts tend to fall into the following four “R” categories.
Regardless of what the fall will look like, hopefully thinking
through and planning in these areas can provide some focus.
• How can my course material prove relevant within
a larger educational framework
(instructional strategies, lesson
planning, virtual classroom setup,
assessment strategies, etc.)?
• How do my curriculum objectives
and intended outcomes prove
relevant to all students?
• What are the ways in which I
can use my curriculum choices,
instructional delivery, and
communication norms to prove
relevant to students, parents, and
the larger school community?
• How can I stay relevant as a choral
• Should I take a hard look at my
‘normal’ curriculum to curate an
alternative or modified version for
the upcoming season?
• What are the most efficient, yet effective, strategies for
delivering instruction within my individual context?
• How can I hold students accountable for their learning
while balancing and mitigating the outside challenges
they will face?
• What elements of my curriculum can I effectively teach,
assess, and use for overlap within the other “R” categories?
22 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
• Given these temporary circumstances, how will
relationship building/maintaining in my program look the
same or different?
• Given these temporary circumstances, what do my
students need to feel valued by me?
• What do my students need to feel valued within the larger
group without physically being together?
• What do my students need to feel seen and heard without
being physically seen or heard?
• How can I maintain relationships with returning students
and create relationships with new students?
Not only do I fear a loss of momentum within my program, I
fear the loss of actual singers when this season is over. Students
sign up for vocal music to sing, and to sing together! If that is not
possible, retention could be challenging. In case that happens,
turn to a teacher who has built a program from scratch for some
encouragement. Many of our colleagues have started programs
in brand new schools, in addition to the many teachers who have
inherited programs they had to resuscitate and rebuild. These
schools have thriving choral programs! Yes, starting from scratch
has its own challenges, but it can be done.
All of these considerations should be carefully examined
through the lens of your individual teaching context, with your
personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being
and limitations in mind. The next few months will likely be hard,
but find your teaching people and plan to lean in and lean on.
(You know you’re singing it.)
The current state of music making, choral music education,
and education as a whole might appear disheartening, but I
remain hopeful, positive, and almost excited, to witness and be a
part of the growth, innovation, and collective progress we will see
in our profession. I thank you in advance for your contribution
to our state, our NCMEA organization, and for your hard and
fast work on behalf of all students seeking refuge, belonging,
achievement, and joy in our choral music classrooms.
GEORGE N. PARKS
IN MUSIC EDUCATION AWARD
The George N. Parks Award honors an
exemplary music educator who embodies
the characteristics and leadership that Mr.
Parks showed his students every day.
To nominate a music educator, visit
Submit your nomination by September 9.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 23
Donald Walter, Chair
Please take care of your students and yourselves. Make sure
they have a safe place within their “music family.” One of
the things I value most about school music making is the
creation of a community where students are safe to be themselves,
share themselves, express themselves. I challenge all of us to
make our programs more inclusive and less exclusive. As music
educators we have the opportunity to create school cultures that are
welcoming to all students. Let’s make the most of that opportunity.
Online teaching is hard. Obvious, right? It’s not the same as
face-to-face instruction. We miss the interactions with the kids.
All the things that make the day go by: the little jokes, foibles,
and quirks that make each orchestra class special. We miss the
comfortable rhythm and pace we established with our students
throughout the course of a year, and the many years we teach them.
For me, transitioning to online teaching was very much like
going through the five stages of grief. First was denial. I did my best
to keep everything the same as it was. But that
didn’t work. There are huge equity and access
issues. Synchronous playing over the internet is
Then came anger. I got frustrated because
things weren’t going to be the way I wanted
them to. No one seemed to have an answer that
just worked. Then came bargaining. If I could
only do X, then the kids would do Y, and it
would all be okay! Um... yeah... not.
I explored a multitude of online resources
to try to find a great solution. There are a
lot of amazing tools available, but too many
to choose from. Then came depression. The
realization that my students wouldn’t get to
play at the new performing arts center or
participate in Jr. Western Region Orchestra.
Finally, there came acceptance. When I realized
the situation was what it was, and I had to
muddle through as best as I could. I want to
share what I developed with you. It’s still a
work in progress and I appreciate constructive
One of the things I enjoy about middle
school teaching is the use of method books.
24 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
! " "
It may sound strange, but I appreciate that when you work out of
a method book, all the students get the chance to play melodies.
I also appreciate that a method book used well (not in order)
promotes continual technical development. I think constant
development gets kids hooked on solving new challenges.
That success leads students to excitement and a feeling of
accomplishment. I wanted a solo musical experience that could
create the same situation. The question was what could do that
while in quarantine? I found my solution in old time music/fiddle
tunes. I like teaching fiddle tunes because everyone gets to play the
melody. Even the bass players!
Teaching fiddle tunes comes with a word of warning: make
sure to do your research on the fiddle tunes you choose. Some
fiddle tunes have terrible racist histories and awful lyrics. Some of
these tunes are hiding in plain sight in the method books we use.
We owe it to our students to make sure we are not perpetuating
institutionalized racism by using “whitewashed” tunes.
Sample Fiddle Tune with Four Difficulty Levels
Rock the Cradle Joe Sample Lines
Beginner and Intermediate Line arranged by C. Mack
Proficient and Advanced line adapted from https://tunearch.org/wiki/Rock_the_Cradle_Joe_(1)
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # $ # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # #
# $ # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # " # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # Advanced
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
SAVE THE DATES for the Southeast Honors String
Festival and String Teachers Conference, January 22–24,
2021, hosted by the UNCG School of Music.
Join us for this intensive and exciting three-day event for
high school string students and middle and high school
Visit our website or call for more information. Online
submission of student applications and audition
recordings, as well as registration for teachers,
will be accepted beginning in November 2020.
For more information, call:
(800) 999-2869 or (336) 334-5299
Resources for Music Educators
NAfME Societies and Councils have compiled distance learning and professional development
resources from their own original teaching experiences, music educators in their school districts,
universities, communities, peers, or other trusted sources. Available to NAfME members at no
cost to help you keep teaching, learning, and making music through coronavirus disruptions.
Learn more at bit.ly/VirtualTeachingLearningMusicEd or visit nafme.org.
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NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 25
I went through several permutations of my online fiddle unit
modules. At first, I had different tunes for each middle school
and high school class, but that was burning through material too
quickly. So instead of different tunes for each level, I settled on
having the same fiddle tune for all classes, arranged in four levels
of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, proficient and advanced. The
students were free to choose whichever level suited them.
I got the beginner lines from Dr. Christen Blanton Mack, the
director of the UNCG Old Time Ensemble and my daughter’s
fiddle teacher. This level had simple rhythms, mostly following a
basic rhythmic pattern. To create the intermediate level, I consulted
with Mack to modify the beginner tunes by adding double stops
or varying the rhythms. I got the advanced version from the
Traditional Tune Archive, a website that has tunes posted under a
Creative Commons license. To make the proficient version, I would
simplify the advanced version, taking out double (or triple) stops.
I transposed most of the tunes into D or G to make them work
Complete this checklist before uploading your performance video.
Did you watch the sheet music video for your level?
Did you download the PDF of the music for your level?
Did you watch the walkthrough/demonstration video for your
instrument and level?
Did you look at the key signature to figure out which letters are
sharp (#) or flat (b)?
Can you name the letter name for each note?
Do you know which finger to use for each note?
If you play:
Violin or viola, do you know where fingers should touch or be
spaced apart (finger patterns)?
Cello, do you know which fingers you should use or extend to play
sharps (#) or flats (b)?
Bass, do you know when you should play 2nd finger or 4th finger,
and where to shift (if needed)?
Can you play the correct rhythms for each measure of the song?
Do you know which direction your bow should go for each note in
the entire song (up, down, slurs, etc.)?
Have you figured out the “roadmap” for this song? (Repeats, 1st and
2nd endings, etc.)
Is your instrument in tune?
Can you play this tune in tune?
Did you practice the hard measures until they became easy?
Can you play this tune all the way through without stopping or
Have you watched your video to make sure it’s the one you want to
Once you feel good about your answers to this checklist, upload
for the majority of instruments. In the illustration, you can see a
sample snippet of the various levels written out.
Delivery of instruction
To facilitate students’ successful learning, I recorded video
walk-throughs of each part. These short, three-minute videos were
basically sight reading sessions where I played the tune, highlighted
tricky spots and provided guidance on how to overcome the
predicted problems. Also, I posted screencasts of my music
notation program playing the arrangements, so students could
follow along and create an aural image of how the music “should”
Further, I held live help sessions where students could play
their tunes for me. These sessions were not well attended! During
the course of instruction, I challenged the students to make a
recording better than mine to become the new model video.
You can view sample video resources at my school webpage:
Evolution of assignments
I went through various types of assignments. For a while I had
the kids working on, and recording, four measures at a time. That
was a lot of grading and hard on the students who had to share
devices. So I changed to only requiring a recording of the whole
tune. At first, I used a numeric rubric to grade assignments (right).
Then I decided to have the kids grade themselves using a
checklist. I wanted to streamline the grading process as much as
possible. But I also wanted some interaction between the students
and myself. So, I had them copy and paste my comments into the
first question of their reflection checklist and then write a reaction
to my comment.
Once your teacher has marked your recording complete, copy
their comments and fill out this quiz.
Paste the comments from your teacher here:
What is your reaction to your teacher’s comments?
Did you enjoy working on this tune? Why or why not?
For the following questions, indicate whether each statement is
true or false.
I played with a strong, clear tone, free of squeaks or
I played the correct letters (notes).
I played the song in tune.
I played the correct rhythms.
I performed the correct bow directions (down, up, slurs, etc.).
I played through the tune without stopping or restarting,
except when I had to turn the page or scroll the screen.
For the following question, answer in the text box below the
Do you have any questions or final thoughts about this
26 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
In the end, I had about 70%
participation in the fiddle unit. I had
the students complete a Fiddle Unit
Reflection at the end of the year. Most
of the comments were positive. Many
students expressed an appreciation
for getting to play something different
than our normal concert music.
They reported they liked being able
to choose their level of difficulty. I
enjoyed putting the materials together
and really liked seeing the students’
performance videos. For the final
Fiddle Portfolio, the students were
encouraged to add creativity to their
performances with props or dances.
I received some hilarious videos that
made teaching in quarantine a little
Tone Superior 5 Excellent 4 Average 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor 0
Clear, strong sound free of
Pitch Superior 5 Excellent 4 Average 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor 0
Correct notes played in tune
Steady Pulse Superior 5 Excellent 4 Average 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor 0
Consistent forward motion that
you could tap your foot to in a
regular, even pattern
Rhythm Superior 5 Excellent 4 Average 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor 0
Notes played for the lengths
indicated in the written music
Articulation Superior 5 Excellent 4 Average 3 Good 2 Fair 1 Poor 0
Bow strokes played in
the correct direction and
appropriate style: legato,
tenuto, detache, staccato, etc.
11TH ANNUAL DECEMBER 3 - 5
onor Band Festival
Dominic Talanca conductor
uncw director of bands
Rodney Workman guest conductor
asheville high school · asheville
Contact Dominic Talanca
NOMINATIONS DUE OCT. 7, 2020
UNCW is an EEO/AA institution. Questions regarding UNCW’s Title IX compliance should be directed to TitleIX@UNCW.edu.
Accommodations for disabilities may be requested by contacting the Department of Music at 910.962.3415 at least 5 days prior to the event..
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 27
Online Jazz Teaching for
by Dr. Justin Binek
Why am I qualified to write about this? Truth be told,
I’m honestly not. I am not an expert in online content
delivery in any way, shape, or form. But I leapt into it
head-first in early 2018, when my daughter was born a week into
the semester. Rather than trying to hire someone to fill my place on
a (very) short-term basis, my dean and I decided the best solution
was for me to work from home and teach remotely during this
time. So I’m coming at this from a place of someone who jumped
into online teaching and very quickly learned some things I hope
will be of service to those who now find themselves jumping into
the world of online teaching, whether they want to or not, and
whether or not they have any experience in it.
Depending on the size of the class, it’s probably wisest to do
a blended approach. Unless every student has their computer
wired up via an ethernet cable and with everyone using mics
connected to an external interface, the lag is going to make it
impossible to have everyone play simultaneously. What you CAN
do is set up a group chat to demonstrate larger points at work,
then set up separate one-on-one sessions to listen to students
perform with play-alongs. In addition to tracks you yourself
can provide, consider using recordings from Jamey Aebersold,
PlayJazzNow.com, the Learn Jazz Standards YouTube channel, and
I know, I know. We all complain about the wonkiness of some
of the chord comping on iReal Pro, but in moments when we’re all
scrambling to try and find the most effective ways to teach, being
able to quickly set up six choruses of “Lullaby of Birdland” in G
minor at mm=150, export it as an audio file, and send it to students
is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Again, this is a time for creativity and flexibility. This can
also be a great time to have students dig into more transcription
projects, which can then be performed either one-on-one for the
instructor or over a broader group video platform. The name of
the course is Jazz Improvisation – it’s a great opportunity to think
about improvisation in a much broader meaning of how we go
about our teaching!
A big source of discussion I’ve seen online has been centered
around, “How do we rehearse ensembles?” Eric Whitacre’s Virtual
Choir notwithstanding, it’s a logistical nightmare (and, for most
school groups, a virtual – pun intended – impossibility to set
up a synchronous online rehearsal). So, with that in mind, let’s
talk strategy. The fundamental question everyone who directs
an ensemble at this point needs to ask themselves is this: are we
preparing for anything? My college has canceled all public activities
and performances through May 20 (the day before graduation).
For me to assign rep for my Funk Band to work on would be
creating busy work for the sake of creating busy work (and likely
breeding resentment among my students). However, my colleague
to take our
top vocal jazz
the studio to
record over the
they do have
they are still
If your ensemble has canceled all remaining performances,
don’t make your students learn music they will never perform.
Instead, look for projects that will still inform their performance
practice, such as guided listening reviews and score study/analysis.
Whatever the case, please don’t make the students schedule a time
to perform their individual parts for you for a grade online. That’s
just… I hate to use the word pointless, but I’m going to use it
anyway. That’s just pointless.
If there is the possibility of performance later this semester, this
does change things, and will require some creativity. Addressing
the vocal side of things first: the easiest way to assist students in
their practicing is through the creation of part tracks. Many choral
directors are already in the habit of creating part tracks (and partminus
tracks) as learning aids, and this is extremely helpful for
assisting students in practicing remotely. One of the most useful
kinds of part tracks that can be generated is to enter parts in Finale
or Sibelius, and then generate separate MP3s that involve panning
everything to one side (I usually do hard left) except for one part.
This allows the student to practice their part in context with the
option to either hear or not hear their line. Arrangers like Kerry
Marsh, Matt Falker, and Jeremy Fox already provide part track
options for their charts upon purchase, and it’s often a matter
of simply contacting other arrangers to see if they can quickly
generate the same.
If you DO happen to teach in a school that provides all students
with laptops or iPads (and specific software), there is the option
to have students record themselves into a common interface (like
GarageBand), which actually does give the students practice in the
art of remote recording. If the students don’t have a decent USB
microphone or microphone interface, this exercise might not have
a whole lot of usefulness, aside from the experience of having done
so (which can be its own reward, of course).
For instrumental ensembles, the easiest thing is to provide
students with big band or combo reference recordings to practice
with at home (this also works on the vocal side as well, particularly
if a group is doing material from groups like the Real Group, New
York Voices, etc.). This can actually be an EXTREMELY useful
teaching tool. For instance, Basie-style swing can be one of the
hardest concepts to teach a jazz band – why not have them practice
playing along with the Basie Band? (Honestly, they should be doing
this anyway, but this provides an opportunity to make them get
into the habit of doing so.)
** This is only a selection of the entire document compiled by Dr. Binek. The
webinar can be found on the Jazz Education Network website (http://jazzednet.
org/resources/teaching-online/) and a full PDF of the supplemental handout is
available as well.
28 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
by José Rivera, Ph.D.
In 2019, North Carolina began requiring teacher candidates
(interns) seeking an initial teaching license to submit passing
scores on a nationally-normed and valid performance
assessment. Unlike traditional knowledge-based licensure exams
(e.g. Praxis II), performance assessments are often completed
in K – 12 classrooms and are designed to authentically assess
candidates’ readiness to teach. The edTPA is an authentic
standardized classroom-based performance assessment tool showing
how prospective music teachers develop, and evaluating student
Teacher candidates in over 41 states participate in this assessment
as part of their teacher education programs or state assessments prior
to becoming teachers. North Carolina is among 12 states requiring
successful completion of edTPA assessment for teacher certification.
The edTPA is offered for 27 different subject areas or teaching levels,
but there is only one assessment for K – 12 Performing Arts. This
assessment provides teacher candidates opportunities to demonstrate
their music knowledge and to develop, implement, and reflect on
their teaching practice and student learning.
The evidence (artifacts and commentaries) teacher candidates
submit is evaluated based on five components of teaching practice:
• Planning (Task One)
• Instruction (Task Two)
• Assessment (Task Three)
• Analyzing Teaching
• Academic Language
Teacher-candidates need to provide evidence for the Planning,
Instruction, and Assessment components within the corresponding
tasks and will provide evidence for the Analyzing Teaching
component across all three tasks. In addition, they will provide
evidence for the Academic Language component in the Planning
task, as well as in the Instruction and/or Assessment tasks.
Parallels to National Teacher Certification
Many teachers in North Carolina are already acquainted with
the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Similar to
edTPA, the National Board Certification assessment uses multiple
measures of teacher performance, including classroom video,
student work sample analysis by the teacher, and written analysis
about their teaching practice. Unlike the National Board assessment,
there's no written exam and no testimonial about the professionalism
and leadership of the teacher outside of the classroom.
What are Student Teacher Requirements for
The centerpiece of the edTPA process is a portfolio that describes
and documents authentic practices from the candidate’s teaching
experience during their internship semester. The portfolio integrates
several main tasks (Planning, Instruction, and Assessment).
Task One: Planning for Instruction and
This task focuses on the teacher candidate’s planning process
related to a learning segment of three to five consecutive lessons.
Cooperating teachers assist the teacher candidate in selecting a
class and providing contextual information; identifying the learning
segment to be planned, taught, and analyzed; collaboratively
deciding on the curriculum, content standards and objectives;
and reviewing the teacher candidate’s lesson plans. Plans include
instructional strategies, learning tasks for diverse student needs,
formal and informal assessments, and instructional materials and
The teacher candidate’s Task One responses to questions and
prompts are assessed in the following areas:
1. Planning for learning;
2. Planning to support varied student learning needs;
3. Using knowledge of students to inform teaching and
4. Identifying and supporting language demands; and
5. Planning assessments to monitor and support student
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 29
Supporting Teacher Candidates: Task One
Clinical teachers play an important role in the success of teacher
candidates (music interns). They bring a wealth of knowledge,
unique expertise, and diverse teaching experiences benefiting
teacher candidates’ overall internship experience. Clinical Teachers
play a significant role supporting teacher candidates in the planning,
implementation, and assessment of instruction in the edTPA
• Share or collaboratively make plans for each music class/
ensemble with the teacher candidate.
• Assign or collaboratively select developmentally appropriate
repertoire or songs early in the semester.
• Assist teacher candidates to locate IEP’s or 504 plans for
planning for students with learning, physical, emotional,
or intellectual exceptionalities (including gifted learners).
EdTPA requires teacher candidates to plan for instruction
accommodations or modifications of up to three students
from a class.
• Provide detailed feedback on the learning segment (three
to five lesson plans) before students begin the edTPA
• Share/demonstrate “tried and true” instructional strategies
and effective assessment (formative and summative)
practices for individual, small, and large group settings.
• Discuss ways to teach depth of knowledge, progressive
development of student’s musical skills, musical literacy
skills, throughout their learning segment. Lesson plans must
build on each other to help students create, perform, and/or
respond to music and to make connections to knowledge/
skills, contextual understandings, and artistic expressions.
• Cooperating teachers collaborate with candidates about
student performance strengths/weaknesses.
• Set dates to capture edTPA video (all of the lessons within the
learning segment should be recorded, even though only 20
minutes will be used.) Above all, plan time to recapture video
if things do not go according to plan!
Task Two: Instructing and Engaging Students
The second task focuses on the teacher candidate’s instructional
practice. Recording the candidate’s interactions with students is a
required element of this edTPA task. The cooperating teacher applies
his/her knowledge of students and their families when assisting the
teacher candidate in selecting the class to be recorded and obtaining
parental permission. The teacher candidate must submit two
recorded (uninterrupted and unedited) clips totaling no more than
20 minutes demonstrating the candidate’s interactions with students;
these clips may be from different classes.
Task Two responses to questions and prompts are assessed in the
1. Learning environment;
2. Engaging students in learning;
3. Deepening student learning;
4. Subject-specific pedagogy; and
5. Analyzing teaching effectiveness.
How Can Clinical Teachers Support Teacher
Candidates: Task Two
• Begin the semester by setting/demonstrating your
instructional, classroom management, and organizations
systems or routines.
• Assist your teacher candidate in recording, either personally
or arranging for a colleague to do so, while the teacher
candidate focuses only on teaching.
• Provide daily feedback on teacher candidate’s pacing, student
engagement, instructional practices/supports including
(modeling, scaffolding, sequencing, direct instruction,
breaking tasks into smaller tasks, quality of feedback,
chunking, prompting, student centered vs. teacher centered
activities, teach for transfer, rote to note or aural to visual,
and activities using several learning modes), and the use of
• Assist teacher candidates by taking video clips of their
teaching early on. This is quite helpful!
Task Three: Assessing Student
In Task Three, the teacher candidate assess student learning
through summative and formative assessment from the learning
segment. The cooperating teacher guides the teacher candidate in
defining the evaluation criteria, selecting work samples from three
students for qualitative and quantitative analysis – one student must
have a specific learning need – determining the feedback provided
to each of these students, and identifying evidence of student
understanding of targeted academic language to demonstrate the
impact of a candidate’s teaching performance on student learning, all
centered around a single central focus.
The teacher candidate’s Task Three responses to questions and
prompts are assessed in the following areas:
1. Analysis of student learning;
2. Providing feedback to guide further learning;
3. Student use of feedback;
4. Analyzing students’ language use; and
5. Using assessment to inform instruction.
Supporting Teacher Candidates: Task Three
• Discuss ways to develop, implement, and gather data using
summative and formative assessment.
• Video record and assess the teacher candidate’s use of
instructional feedback (is it immediate, specific, related to
the task, and does it encourage student participation?)
• Encourage teacher candidates to take time to keep a journal
to reflect on their daily experiences. They can include
reflections about daily instructional or behavioral goals,
habits, and general observations about teaching and learning.
• Remind teacher candidates to submit additional video
evidence of verbal feedback or samples of written feedback of
30 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
• Teacher-candidates and clinical teachers should plan an
assessment that makes sense in their classroom environment,
and supports the learning that is planned for students
before and after the edTPA experience. Ideally, the clinical
teacher assists teacher candidates in determining the skills or
knowledge to be assessed and the best assessment method.
Additional Ways to Support Teacher Candidates
• Remind teacher candidates to record themselves as often as
possible. This will provide additional video material to select
from before submitting the two video clips for edTPA.
• Remind students to plan for additional formative assessment
• Remind students to practice using academic language
and plan to elicit student’s responses practicing the use of
• Clinical teachers and teacher candidates can – and should –
arrange to review videos together to help check progress
and make adjustments as needed. Review them together
(rather than discussing the lesson from memory after its
conclusion); it is possible the teacher candidate will have a
different perspective on the lesson than the clinical teacher.
How Much Time does edTPA Take to Complete?
EdTPA only requires three to five hours of consecutive
instruction with one class. However, candidates spend a good deal of
time preparing for instruction, including:
• Completing a context for learning;
• Developing three to five lesson plans;
• Developing summative (i.e.,pre-and post-test) and formative
assessments tools; and
• Collecting parental permission for video clips.
Teacher candidates will also be writing commentary sections of
the portfolio (self-assessment, reflecting on their teaching practices
and student response). The key to success to edTPA relies on the
teacher candidate’s preparation. Remember to ask for a copy of their
lesson plans and your instructional feedback (informal conferences).
EdTPA Terminology and Using “Academic
An important component of the edTPA assessment process is the
use of Academic Language, better known as “how musicians talk”
about musical terminology. Student teachers will be assessed on how
they incorporate academic language demands and language function
in their learning segment. Teacher-candidates are expected to
demonstrate ways students will use academic language in classroom
instruction. The following edTPA terms are commonly associated
with the use academic language.
Learning Objectives: How do learning objectives make
connections to knowledge/skills, contextual understanding, and
Academic Language: What key music vocabulary terms or
concepts (words, phrases, or symbols) will you teach and how will
you teach students that vocabulary in the lesson?
Language Function: Considering students’ language assets and
needs, what is one language function essential for students to learn
music knowledge within the segment’s central focus? i.e. analyze,
perform, express, compare/contrast, describe, evaluate, explain,
Language Demands: function, vocabulary, discourse, and syntax.
Discourse: How students and teacher talk, write, and participate
in knowledge construction, using the structures of written and oral
language (writing responses, reviews, analyzing music structure).
Syntax: The rules for organizing words or symbols (music
notation, solfege) together into phrases, clauses, sentences, or visual
Additional Language Demands: Academic and specific musical
vocabulary and/or symbols; plus, at least one of the following: syntax
Language Supports: What specific instructional supports or
strategies (during and/or prior to the learning task) will be employed
to help students understand.
Performing Ensemble Settings and edTPA?
There are several factors clinical teachers and teacher candidates
might consider when selecting a particular performing ensemble for
• EdTPA requires teacher candidates to plan for instruction
accommodations or modifications of up to three students from
a class. Ensure the class selected for edTPA serves students with
learning, physical, emotional, or intellectual exceptionalities
(including gifted learners).
• Choose a class your teacher candidate is able to demonstrate
formative and summative assessment practices for individual, small,
and/or whole group settings.
Full Ensemble: The challenge of the large ensemble is to
engage the entire group. They must address pacing of the set of
lessons so all students remain engaged and provide appropriate
accommodations for students who require them. This highlights the
need for candidates to dialogue with their cooperating teacher and
reach agreement about how much new material or how many new
activities to introduce to the students. For large ensembles, teacher
candidates might consider any of the following for their central
focus: style, technique, composition/improvisation, or evaluation.
Sectionals: Many band or orchestra programs offer class periods
divided into instrumental sections (brass, woodwinds) or classes
with a combination of instruments in their daily schedule. However,
if the performing ensemble is too large, instrumental sections can be
pulled out to do any of the above with the one section.
Chamber Vocal or Instrumental Ensembles: This setting offers
opportunities for more student-directed learning. The teacher
candidate coaches a chamber ensemble with a central focus related
to the repertoire or context-specific techniques of chamber music.
Teacher candidates should not feel the need to reinvent the
wheel to make edTPA fit within their student teaching context, nor
feel pressured to give general music, music appreciation, or theory/
reading/writing lessons in a performance-based class. Through
careful planning, clear instruction, reflective evaluation, and support
from their clinical teacher and university supervisor, teacher
candidates can make edTPA work within any performing ensembles.
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 31
Other ways to help your student teacher
successfully complete edTPA
• As an experienced teacher, you likely make several decisions
every class period without even thinking about them.
However, edTPA requires candidates explain the reasoning
behind their decisions. The more candidates hear you justify
the choices you make in your teaching, the better idea they
will have about what good reflection looks like when they
themselves are teaching.
• Assist your teacher candidate in identifying students
with special needs (including students with IEPs, 504
plans, English language learners, struggling readers,
underperforming students or those with gaps in academic
knowledge, and/or gifted students).
• Assist teacher candidates in managing their time effectively.
Teacher-candidates will need help managing their time in
your classroom. In addition to creating the lesson plans,
recording video, and assessing, the candidate will be writing
extensive commentary responses explaining their teaching.
• Encourage your student teachers to video record themselves
teaching early in the semester (before they begin teaching
their edTPA learning segment). A trial run in which you help
teacher candidates record a lesson is also recommended. This
ensures there will be no technical issues on the actual day.
edTPA Getting Started at
edTPA Resource Library for Stakeholders at edTPA.aacte.org
Making Good Choices: A Support Guide for edTPA Candidates at
Making Good Choices State Specific Requirements at
Tips for Using Video to Improve Practice at
Understanding Language Demands for Performing Arts
Bastian, Kevin. C., (2018) edTPA in North Carolina: Early Evidence on
Candidate Performance and Predictive Validity, Education Policy Initiatives at
Bastian, K.C. Lys, D., & Yi, P. (2018). A framework for improvement: Analyzing
performance assessment scores for evidence-based teacher preparation program
reforms. Journal of Teacher Education.
Chapman, D. & Henninger, J. C. (March, 2016). Divergent perceptions:
Evaluating novices’ evaluations of their work as teachers. Paper session
presented at the National Association for Music Education Music Research and
Teacher Education Conference, Atlanta, Georgia.
Kumar, A. B., & Meals, C, D., edTPA in an Ensemble Setting? It CAN be done!
Accessed May 28, 2020. www.google.com/h?q=edTPA+in+an+Ensemble+Settin
Sato, Mistilina. (2014) What Is the Underlying Conception of Teaching of the
edTPA?, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 65(5) 421–434.
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity. (2015). edTPA
Assessment Handbook: K-12 Performing Arts for Washington. Pearson.
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity. (2016). edTPA
Guidelines for Acceptable Candidate Support.
Free Curriculum Units for the
Music Responding Standards
Created through the Teaching with Primary Sources program of
the Library of Congress
Focused on helping educators connect to the Library of Congress’s digitized archives, and helping teachers learn how
to incorporate primary sources into the classroom, NAfME has created curriculum units connected to the Library’s vast
resources in music, including audio, video, still images, and sheet music files.
• Band: middle and high school
• Orchestra: middle and high school
• Chorus: middle and high school
• Music Theory and Composition: high school
• General Music: K, 2, 5, 8
Download the newest curriculum units for Kindergarten General Music and High School Music Theory/Composition,
along with Band, Orchestra, Chorus, and General Music, at bit.ly/LOCcurriculum.
nafme.org | 1-800-336-3768
32 | NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR
Arts Education Is Essential
This statement of support for arts education has been reviewed and endorsed by the national organizations listed on pages two and three.
It is imperative that all students have access to an equitable delivery
of arts education that includes dance, media arts, music, theatre, and
visual arts that supports their educational, social, and emotional
well-being, taught by certified professional arts educators in
partnership with community arts providers.
Teaching and learning will never quite be the same in our post-COVID-19 world. However, our commitment to provide rich
and varied educational experiences remains unwavering. The arts have played an important role in these tumultuous times
and will continue to do so for all students, including the traditionally underrepresented, those with special needs, and from
low-income families. Here’s why:
Arts education supports the social and emotional well-being of students, whether
through distance learning or in person.
Self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-management and perseverance, social awareness and relationship skills
are central to any arts education activity, no matter the age and ability of the student or the environment
in which the learning takes place. The arts, with their strong emphasis on team-building and self-reflection
are supremely suited to re-ignite students’ interest in learning through collaboration, while simultaneously
fostering creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
Arts education nurtures the creation of a welcoming school environment where
students can express themselves in a safe and positive way.
Celebrating our ability to come together as educators and students is vital to creating a healthy and inclusive
school community. The arts, through a rich partnership among certified arts educators, teaching artists,
and community arts providers, play a valuable role in helping students and their families build and sustain
community and cultural connections.
Arts education is part of a well-rounded education for all students as understood and
supported by federal and state policymakers.
As defined in ESSA, “music and the arts” are part of a well-rounded education. Every state in the nation
recognizes the importance of the arts as reflected in rigorous PreK-12 state arts standards. Forty-six states
require an arts credit to receive a high school diploma, and 43 states have instructional requirements in the arts
for elementary and secondary schools. As noted in Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor: “An
education without the arts is inadequate.”
The healing and unifying power of the arts has been evident as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. We have
seen and heard it play out through works of art on sidewalks, shared musical moments from porches, in plays and dance
performances, and every other imaginable iteration of art making. As states and schools work through multiple challenges
in the years ahead, arts education must remain central to a well-rounded education and fully funded to support the wellbeing
of all students and the entire school community.
© 2020, SEADAE
Arts Education Is Essential
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 33
883-C Washington Street
Raleigh, NC 27605
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Music
Master of Music
Doctor of Musical Arts
Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education
For complete degree offerings, application information, and
audition requirements, please visit: vpa.uncg.edu/music/apply
NORTH CAROLINA MUSIC EDUCATOR | 34