September 9th is the first day of school in New York City and our teachers have been busy preparing for the school year. In mid-August, Education Through Music (ETM) gathered music teachers from across its network to participate in the ETM Academy—its revamped and extended professional development (PD) workshops—in Oberlin, OH. At the ETM Academy, teachers attended sessions on Common Core and music education integration, classroom management, lesson planning and curriculum development, and music teaching methodologies. In addition, there were specialized sessions held, which were led by esteemed practitioners in the field on conducting ensembles, teaching guitar in middle school and incorporating world drumming into lessons.
Teachers were energized by the professional development sessions and are eager to apply these lessons in their respective classrooms, as reflected in their survey responses:
“I learned so much about the craft of teaching - not only through the programs/sessions offered, but also through being surrounding by so many fantastic and inspiring teachers 24 hours a day....Even whilst socializing in off time, there was constant talking of strategies and the trading of ideas. Wonderful and inspiring week!
“This experience has been SO valuable. The things we have experienced were very applicable and pertinent to our everyday teaching lives.”
“The retreat atmosphere was particularly helpful in creating a bonded community of learners and teachers.”
“The resources we have been given and the discussions that were had were very helpful.”
We wish our music teachers well – and look forward to another successful school year! As always, ETM plans to keep you informed of our partner school program’s progress. We hope you will consider forwarding this report to friends, family or colleagues interested in supporting music education. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
By the start of spring, Jamal showed me some of his school work and smiled when he told me that his grades were up. In orchestra, he never skipped a beat. I almost cried, a few weeks ago, when he brought me an essay he wrote about what music meant to him. I could see his effort come through in his writing. It was evident that he wrote and re-wrote his story many, many times before giving it to me. He wrote beautifully. I had seen where he was in the winter, and the improvement in his writing was astounding. Jamal’s hard work in both cello class and ELA are paying off and he has been selected for an USDAN scholarship to attend a summer arts camp. His gift and passion for music has motivated him to rise above his challenges in ELA. He is one of the most gifted students in the orchestra and his musical abilities are top notch. I am so excited for what is in store for him. *The student’s name was changed to protect his identity and privacy.
Please consider sharing this story with friends and colleagues who might be interested in supporting this project to help ETM provide more students with sustained and quality music instruction. Your support can make a difference!
Students from across ETM’s 28 partner schools gave a marvelous performance at the 2013 ETM Children’s Benefit Gala, and captivated the nearly 500 guests in attendance. Under the direction of ETM’s Director of Programs, Pete Pauliks, and accompanied by Gala honoree Richard Bernstein on piano, 80 choral and 60 ensemble students sang and performed two pieces. “Turn the World Around,” a folk song inspired by African culture with words and music by Harry Belafonte and Robert Freedman, showcased the students’ musical skills effortlessly. The second piece performed, “Nella Fantasia”—Italian for “In My Fantasy”—beautifully captured the hope we share, as an organization, for our students.
ETM music teachers reported that their student-participants were energized by the performance and were eager to continue practicing even after the event was over! Fortunately, between general music classes, ensemble and choral rehearsals students won’t have to wait too long for their next performance. Partner schools will be holding their spring concerts throughout the month of May, and over 700 students will perform at this year’s ETM Festival in early June at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre at Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan. It is guaranteed to be a day filled with inspiring performances!
If you would like to attend a student concert or the ETM Festival, contact ETM for more information at info@ETMonline.org.
Other recent developments for ETM’s New York City Partner School Program include the release of program evaluation finding from the 2011-2012 school year. Data was gathered through surveys and interviews with students, principals and parents and assessment tests. Highlighted findings include:
To read the full report, please visit www.ETMonline.org/evaluation.
To read ETM’s success story narratives, please visit http://etmonline.org/etm-impact/success-stories
In order to help cultivate school communities that value the arts, ETM needs your continued support. Please consider sharing this report, and the positive impact ETM is having at our partner schools, with others who might like to contribute to restoring music education in NYC schools.
For the past few months, ETM’s partner school students were busy preparing and performing in holiday and winter concerts. The students worked extremely hard to learn their repertoire, and also had fun, as one 8th-grade student noted in his concert reflection: “One of the things I learned from this experience is that while working hard you can still have fun and enjoy yourself. I felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness because we were doing a great job, which was acknowledged and rewarded by the audience response; they gave loud applauses and cheers. Our conductor commended us for a job-well done.”
Each January, ETM’s first-year band and orchestra students also make their debut performances. These petit performances offer parents, local officials and school communities an opportunity to hear students perform, while learning about the ensemble programs over juice and bagels; the event is called “Breakfast with the Band” or “Breakfast with the Orchestra.” This school year, ETM offers band at six partner schools and orchestra at six partner schools.
The Breakfast with the Orchestra at M.S. 529 in the Bronx was a celebratory event that drew many parents as well as a liaison from newly-elected Councilman Andy King’s office. The orchestra played a series of short pieces, finishing with a selection that demonstrated their understanding of blues progression. Parents snapped photos and recorded videos throughout the show, clapping and cheering for their kids.
In addition to the choral and instrumental concerts held on school grounds, students from partner school MS 180’s Special Education classes visited the Bartow Senior Center in the Bronx to share their holiday cheer. The students, who use xylophones and small percussion instruments in class as a learning technique, were eager to perform the songs and recite the poems they rehearsed with their music teacher, Leah Potteiger. According to MS 180 Principal Frank Uzzo "The students loved sharing their new found talent with the seniors. It made the holiday season special for them.”
We are so proud of all our partner school students for immersing themselves in the learning process to prepare for their concerts; their hard work truly shined through in the performances!
Please consider sharing our program with a friend or colleague to ensure that NYC students can continue to have these rewarding experiences through music, which help to build self-confidence and creativity in students.
By the start of the 2012-13 school year, ETM added six new schools to our partner school program including St. Thomas the Apostle, the first ETM partnership in Queens. The ETM model now serves over 14,000 students in 28 elementary, middle and K-8 schools throughout New York City. ETM also introduced new co-curricular ensembles at two returning partner schools in the Bronx. The upcoming holiday concert season will be busier as M.S. 529 launched a string orchestra comprised of students from its 6th and 7th grades, while P.S. 169 added a 4th grade string orchestra.
This Fall, ETM partner schools have also had visits from music education supporters and practitioners including mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, Miss USA and cellist Olivia Culpo and country music star Dierks Bentley. These visits have helped motivate and engage students, while providing them with exposure to classical and country music genres. In particular in September, Mr. Bentley visited first-year partner school P.S. 103 in the Bronx. The CMA Foundation coordinated the visit with ETM and P.S. 103, through assistance from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). The CMA Foundation not only sent Mr. Bentley as an ambassador of their program Keep the Music Playing, it also donated $20,000 to ETM to help purchase instruments and supplies for P.S. 103's music classrooms. Mr. Bentley performed for the entire 4th grade class, who sang along to his hit song “5150,” in the school gymnasium. He also visited 5th grade and 2nd grade music classes, who were eager to showcase their newly acquired music skills.
In thanks to the generosity of our supporters, ETM is able to focus on both strengthening and expanding our partner school program, while also providing important opportunities to reinforce and broaden students’ musical skills, knowledge and appreciation.
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