Presenter and author Jen Rafferty began her career as a music teacher in Central New York. Jen brings her energy, humor, and expertise to all professional development workshops and is known for her practical ideas and passion in her presentations. She currently serves as the Co-chair of the New York State School Music Association’s (NYSSMA) Secondary Classroom Committee and is a member of the advocacy committee. In 2020 she founded Sing Together, an international virtual singing community of singers of all ages and abilities. Her most recent publication is A Place in the Staff: Finding Your Way as a Music Teacher, available at J.W. Pepper. Jen is also the executive producer and host of the podcast Take Notes where she highlights the intersection between music education and the social sciences.
As we grow up, the lens in which we see the world is heavily tinted with what we’ve experienced during our earliest years which in turn influences our thoughts and actions. You must be aware and accept that you have implicit bias in the first place, and then understand how to respond when something challenges that bias (which will also definitely happen).
Of the many changes I’ve experienced over the past year, singing on Zoom has become one of the most profound. These are four things I’ve learned while teaching singing online that will be helpful to carry over to any in-person choral rehearsal.
Music education has changed dramatically over the last few months. As a result, many programs are in danger of cuts, and potentially many students will not get the school music experience that they deserve. So what can you do? How can we ride this wave of change while advocating for our music programs? Here are three tangible ideas that can help with your advocacy efforts.