While a new year always signals change, what has not changed is the dedication of Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) to bringing hope and joy to students through social-emotional learning-focused music classes, engaging virtual events, and opportunities to showcase students’ musical skills.
Throughout the holiday season, ETM-LA’s typical winter concerts pivoted to become virtual Winter Music Shares, where partner school students demonstrated skills learned in the music classroom on Zoom for family and friends. Each school and grade level performance was unique – from performing “Jingle Bells” using American Sign Language, to singing and dancing, to taking turns playing instruments for the class. In a performance follow-up survey, the parent of ETM-LA partner school student Luna shared, “Music has helped my daughter have confidence and joy for learning at school. Without the music program, school would not be as engaging and fulfilling for her.”
In January, ETM-LA hosted its annual benefit virtually, featuring a Disney sing-along open to everyone at no cost. The 15th Year Celebration Benefit showcased performances by Alan Menken (Academy Award-Winning Composer/Songwriter: Beauty & the Beast, Little Mermaid, Aladdin), Jodi Benson (Tony Award-Nominated Singer/Actress and original voice of Ariel, The Little Mermaid), and Anthony Evans (#1 Billboard Artist in Gospel; Beast, Beauty and the Beast performance at The Hollywood Bowl). The benefit also included a virtual choir of ETM-LA partner school students performing “Seize the Day” from Disney’s Newsies. Students, parents, Principals, and community members joined in the fun and helped raise funds to Keep the Music Playing at ETM-LA!
“When the pandemic hit, my mood went down. I was a little disappointed ‘cause I thought we wouldn’t be able to learn music or it wouldn’t be just the same as in-person. It turns out that my school figured out a way to do Zoom classes . . . every week I have something to motivate me to go to school.” – Renata, 4th Grade student at ETM-LA partner school Providencia Elementary
February brought Black History celebrations into the music classroom for all students as ETM-LA teachers creatively taught the lasting impact of Black music and musicians. Music Teacher Josh Wen taught his 5th graders about Gospel music and the history and significance of the song “We Shall Overcome”, one of the oldest surviving songs of Black music. Music Teacher Angelica Rowell explored the Blues, Bessie Smith, and Langston Hughes with her students; through identifying form, rhyme, and poetry, students created their own Blues lyrics, including “The YouTube Blues” written by her Kindergarten class. And Music Teacher Kimberly Cox Johnson created an entire lesson unit about the history of Black American Sign Language and its impact on marginalized communities. “Every year when we get to Black History Month, I try to think outside the box. A lot of times we look at it from the same lens; I try to figure out different ways to approach it,” shares Kimberly.
As February ended, ETM-LA hosted its Winter Training session for all Music Teachers, which was open to the public. Sessions included a deep dive into Latin American music and culture, culturally responsive teaching and the brain, and music activities for the culturally responsive classroom. ETM-LA proudly offers over 100 hours of exceptional training for music educators and over 420 combined hours of guidance for schools across Los Angeles County in their commitment to building long-term, sustainable music programs.
ETM-LA is unwavering in its mission of working alongside low-income area schools and ensuring equity and access to quality music education in these challenging times, when the joy of music is needed more than ever before. Your support will help ETM-LA continue bringing music and all of its benefits to students across Los Angeles County, and help us close the gap for under-resourced schools that remain deprived of yearlong music and arts programs in their core curriculum.
Thank you to those who have generously given to help provide essential music education services to over 19,000 students across Los Angeles County!
ETM-LA provides quality, yearlong, core curriculum music instruction in under-resourced Los Angeles schools as part of the school day for every child. Since its founding in 2006, ETM-LA has grown from 2 schools and 800 students to serving approximately 19,000 students at 46 partner schools in Los Angeles County.
Renata, ETM-LA Partner School Student
Student Choir - Virtual 15th Year Celebration