MENC President Showcases School Music Programs for Lang Lang International Music Foundation

MENC President Scott C. Shuler (far right) led a visit to the music program in the Darien, Connecticut schools. From left are Rick Sadlon, Director of Music, Darien Schools; Stephen Falcone, Superintendent of Schools; and Cari Hills, Executive Director, Lang Lang International Music Foundation.


MENC President Scott C. Shuler champions high-quality, sequential music programs. On September 15, he had the chance to showcase such a program in Darien, Connecticut, for Cari Hills. She is executive director of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, founded by 
concert pianist Lang Lang.

Earlier, Hills had contacted MENC leaders to explore ways the foundation could work with MENC to help integrate technology into all school music programs.

The daylong visit to the Darien schools included visits to hear string, band, and orchestra groups on the high school, middle school and elementary levels; discussions about curriculum—which is linked to the National Standards for Music Education; organizational structure, use of technology, and assessments.

“Innovative music educators all over the country are experimenting with creative course offerings that entice the current generation of students into lifelong involvement in music,” said Shuler, who is the arts education specialist in the Connecticut State Department of Education. 
He added,

“Under the expert program leadership of Rick Sadlon, Darien’s dedicated team of music teachers recognized the need to:

  • Take creative risks and learn new skills
  •  Engage their students in composition and improvisation within traditional ensemble classes
  • Cycle their ensemble students through a repertoire series representing common style periods and genres
  • Teach ukulele in the upper elementary grades as a pre-guitar instrument that carries over into middle and high school guitar offerings
  • Offer an enormously popular high school elective that explores recording technology and how music is currently created.”

High school string students in Darien, Connecticut.

Shuler said Darien’s music program is “a model of how music teachers can help today’s students find paths they are willing to walk into their adult lives in music.”

MENC and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation will continue to explore potential partnership possibilities. The foundation seeks to “inspire the next generation of music lovers and performers by cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology.”

Lang Lang debuted with the Chicago Symphony in 1999 and in 2009 Time magazine named the 28-year-old musician one of the top 100 “Most Influential People in the World.”

The superstar pianist has performed with many of the best-known symphonies around  the world, and played a key role in the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. On September 29 he performed with the Vienna Philharmonic in New York  to open Carnegie Hall’s fall season.

Discuss music technology on the MENC Forums

Have news of a national interest  to share. Contact Roz Fehr

Darien Music Department

Lang Lang International Music Foundation

Roz Fehr, September 30, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education