In celebration of Music In Our Schools Month and ahead of the inaugural GRAMMY In The Schools Fest during GRAMMY Week 2021, GRAMMY.com is shining a light on institutions carrying the torch of innovative music education during an unprecedented time.
Museums and cultural institutions offer some of the best music education programs for students in the country, and the pandemic has prompted many of them to upgrade their online learning resources and add virtual experiences that people anywhere can access.
Below, discover how 10 institutions have risen to the occasion to make music education more inclusive during COVID-19.
GRAMMY Museum — Los Angeles
Though the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles is currently physically closed, more than 25,000 students in the Los Angeles area have taken an in-person tour. Plus, more than 10,000 students have participated in a workshop since it opened in 2008.
GRAMMY Museum’s many local, regional and national music education initiatives continue, and there’s a significant way to support them from home online. Proceeds from subscription and video purchase fees for COLLECTION:live—GRAMMY Museum’s streaming channel featuring artist interviews, livestreams and performances—go straight to those programs.
These include career-focused camps for high school students who are interested in various aspects of music creation and the music business (GRAMMY Camp and GRAMMY Camp Weekend), after school experiences and awards for music educators who go above and beyond. The GRAMMY Museum has additional satellite experiences in the United States that will reopen once it’s safe to do so: GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey; GRAMMY Museum Gallery at Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, Michigan.
Lincoln Center — New York
Thanks to Lincoln Center At Home, families everywhere can check out educational performing arts programming from the Lincoln Center Pop-Up Classroom. Currently available on-demand classes in the music realm include instructional videos on how to write an aria (or operatic solo for voice), music composition and even building your own musical instrument.
Additionally, the Passport to the Arts initiative is currently offering free virtual classes, workshops and performances designed for people of all ages with disabilities and their families through mid-May. Musical highlights from Passport to the Arts include workshops on jazz architect Louis Armstrong, interactive sessions with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and a class on crafting melodies featuring advice from the New York Philharmonic.
New Orleans Jazz Museum — New Orleans
The first phase of a new Jazz Education Center for K-12 students at New Orleans Jazz Museum opened prior to the pandemic, and the building is currently back open for in-person visits and virtual concerts.
The institution is poised to continue the New Orleans Jazz Museum Music Outreach Program in schools under a new partnership with the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. For post-K-12 learners: researchers can make an appointment to browse the museum’s archival collections at Donald M. Marquis Reading Room.
Motown Museum — Detroit
Back open for in-person visits with increased safety precautions, the Motown Museum is located inside Motown Records founder Berry Gordy’s original headquarters, a house turned studio dubbed Hitsville U.S.A. where the label’s familiar classics were made.
Taking a tour inside the house that brought Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and Diana Ross to the world (to name a few) remains one of the most special music history experiences in the country.
The educational programs for 2021 include both in-person and virtual experiences, like day camps for middle school and high school students (Spark Summer Camp and Ignite Summer Camp), a quarterly Entrepreneurial Legacy Forum and the online Lyric Project.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem — New York
Though in-person school tours, student workshops, musical performances and hands-on experiences including an "instrument petting zoo" are presently on pause due to COVID-19, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem has some intriguing online educational sessions planned in March and beyond.
Upcoming events happening this month, such as Music on the Brain, a look at how songs affect the space between your ears, and the 15th edition of the Jazz and Social Justice salon discussion series, can be joined from home.
Stax Museum — Memphis
The pandemic led the Stax Museum to offer a virtual museum tour/field trip and accompanying study guides for students everywhere to enjoy and learn about the legacy of Stax Records, the legendary record label that brought artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Dramatics and The Staple Singers to the world.
There’s also Stax Music Academy, which offers master classes and college preparation, among other life skill building workshops and course efforts.
Kennedy Center — New York
The Kennedy Center is on a pandemic schedule of virtual performances and Kennedy Center @ Home releases educational arts videos every day and has a robust education center with free curriculum-based lesson plans for teachers, podcasts, digital lessons, activity ideas and more.
Highlights specific to music include virtual field trips to see the National Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s Concerts and American Pops Orchestra.
The Smithsonian — Washington, D.C.
There’s a dedicated Smithsonian Music portal for the museums and institutions that collectively make up the Smithsonian where you can keep up with all of the online musical events happening.
One can also take advantage of its vast educational resources, like the Smithsonian Learning Lab, which allows students to create and share content derived from the collections, and world music curriculum plans from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
Musical Instrument Museum — Phoenix
Musical Instrument Museum has reopened for in-person visits, although field trips and big group visits are on hold for now.
Schools can purchase virtual education programs consisting of video collections with field trip activities including music creation and music instrument lessons and sessions with artists in residence.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Cleveland
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offers free online learning materials, including 34 years of uncut induction ceremony footage and programs and Rock Hall EDU.
There, you’ll find K-12 and college level information such as research guides to artists like Whitney Houston, Madonna and Aretha Franklin.
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