What Are Your 2020 Resolutions for Your Music Classroom?

Three NAfME Members Respond


This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Teaching Music magazine.


Roger Coss headshout outside in front of greenery

Photo by Moriah Henderson

Roger Coss
Music Teacher, Great Valley Academy, Modesto, California

All musicians—regardless of age or musical proficiency—need opportunities to create music. I make a purposeful effort to push

my students to get creative with whatever concept, song, or project we are working on. Once my beginning band learns their first note, they write out a rhythm with that note. Voilà! Their first composition. With every new chord my ukulele students learn, they create a simple sequence of chords to challenge their friends to perform. Student enthusiasm rises tremendously when they create their own music, even if it is simple and easy.

“Student enthusiasm rises tremendously when they create their own music, even if it is simple and easy.”

I let students in on my own musical journey—sharing my own discoveries, struggles, and breakthroughs. I say, “Let me play you a song I am starting to work on,” and then I keep them updated. Let them hear you make mistakes. Perform it for them again once you master it. Ask their opinion on dynamics, phrasing, etc.

Ukulele on white background

iStockphoto.com | walterbilotta


I introduce my older students to new music. Play songs they have never heard or a genre they aren’t used to. Highlight a new musician, composer, or band every month—try the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, or Mozart.


Karen Dickinson playing the recorder in music classroom

Photo by Hunter Robinson

Karen Dickinson
Music Teacher, Oakville Elementary School, South St. Louis, Missouri

Be mindful of the whole child. Take into consideration the students’ personality, mental health, physical health, mood, trauma history, and everything else that makes them human beings, not just student musicians.

Practice self-care. Continue to fund and participate in professional development events that are relevant. Read non-music education books. Go for walks outside. Apply lotion. Drink tea. Breathe.

Be a good mentor to my student teacher and my part-time first-year teacher. Remember what it was like to be new to the profession. Impart wisdom, and be encouraging.

“Remember that this may be just another performance for me, but for my students, it may be the only one.”

Recognize the value of preparing for a performance, not just the end product. Take time to teach all the bits and pieces of the curriculum that are embedded in the concert material. Remember that this may be just another performance for me, but for my students, it may be the only one.

An African-American teacher in an elementary school classroom with seven multi-ethnic boys and girls, 6 and 7 years old. They are having fun, excited to be in school, laughing and smiling.

iStockphoto.com | kali9


Christina DeCarbo said, “Don’t forget to have fun with your students. Dance. Sing. Act. Dress up. Be silly. Laugh. Remember, they are only little once.”


Vanessa Neri outside leaning on tree holding an oboe

Photo by Ann Campbell

Vanessa Neri
Choir and Orchestra Director, Brentwood Middle School, Greeley, Colorado

As an oboe player, it was quite the learning curve beginning to teach middle school orchestra, choir, and mariachi. That is why

one of my 2020 resolutions as a second-year teacher is to expose myself to more master educators. This means bringing in clinicians to work with my students and attending content-specific clinics and master classes.

“One of my 2020 resolutions as a second-year teacher is to expose myself to more master educators.”

I am also focused on raising money to replace very old string instruments, which are falling apart on a near-daily basis. Some of my orchestra students even share their instruments with up to three other people. Through organizations like Donors Choose and local grants, I have slowly but surely started to replace and expand our inventory.

vector of guitar, guitarron, violin, maracas resolutions to expand mariachi

iStockphoto.com | Liubov-Trapeznykova


Another 2020 resolution is to continue to develop my beginner mariachi club—the first ever in our district! Although starting the club has come with its own challenges, I have an incredible group of students who are willing to work hard and learn about this wonderful music. I cannot wait to see what will come of this new group!


What are your 2020 resolutions for your music program? Share them with fellow music educators on Amplify today.


Did this blog spur new ideas for your music program? Share them on Amplify! Interested in reprinting this article? Please review the reprint guidelines.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Marketing Communications Manager. January 1, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

April 2024 Teaching Music

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January 1, 2020


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January 1, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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