From Music Educators, More than Praise

The Lessons Learned during QuaverCon are Deep and Enduring.

By Kristin Clark Taylor

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The music education community is still buzzing – and singing! And clapping! – as they look back at Quaver’s show-stopping performance as host of QuaverCon 2020. A new gold standard has just been set for visionary, virtual outreach.

Two full days of sharing information, spreading inspiration, and celebrating music education. Four thousand educators representing just about every state in the nation, standing strong and standing together — their union somehow made even stronger by the fact that they were participating virtually. And they all learned something; they all greatly benefitted from the experience.

Fifteen powerful presenters leading 18 live sessions with enough creative drive and energy to blow the roof off the virtual conference hall. And more than 25,000 “views” from teachers still eager to tune in, to replay, and to recreate the magic that moved within those moments when the Quaver team took music education to a whole new level.   

What lies beneath this happy afterglow, however, is something far deeper and longer lasting. In this second installment of shared teacher feedback, a momentum emerges that is stronger (and louder) than mere praise and applause. The momentum comes from those moments when values were shared, when the spirit of inclusion was celebrated, and with the happy acknowledgement that Quaver resources will be what allows teachers to continue reaching, teaching, and inspiring their students during these challenging times and far beyond.   

The chorus of teacher voices continues to rise. Take a look and a listen:

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Jeremy Nemec

Music Teacher, K-5

Conrad Fischer Elementary

Elmhurst, IL

One Word to Describe QuaverCon 2020: “Revealing!”

“I’m very new to Quaver, so this experience was very meaningful to me. I loved that all the presenters were teachers; they’d already practiced in the field what they were presenting in the conference, and they were willing and well-equipped to share their expertise and insight. That’s what I love about teachers: We’re not afraid to let other people borrow our ideas and use those ideas in their own classrooms in a way that makes a difference in the lives of their students.

I also really appreciated that diversity was such a consistent focus – not just in the content of the curriculum (though that is extremely important!) but in the diversity of experiences and expertise that every presenter and participant brought. This allowed us to touch on so many different aspects of music – orchestral, folk, chorale, even the joy of banjo playing! I loved the wide range.

The session on cultural competence was also deeply moving and informative. I work in a highly diverse student population, so I try to help my students appreciate not just other people’s cultures, but their own! So many people tend to diminish the value of their own culture and background in an effort to become part of the American culture, not fully understanding that American culture IS a culture of diversity! America is a melting pot. So we come together, we grow, we celebrate our differences, and we make a tree that bears beautiful fruit … and beautiful music. Everyone’s culture contributes to this. QuaverCon helped celebrate and honor this diversity. Thank you, Quaver.”

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Ricardo Javier Mijon

Music Educator, Pre-K-5th

A.M. Bruni Elementary

Laredo, TX

One word: “Phenomenal!”

“This is my first year of teaching, so this conference meant a lot to me. I didn’t know what to expect with a conference of this size, but within the first five minutes, I felt like I was home. Quaver is so good at making you feel like family.

I was shocked that they selected me for my “Found Sound” video! I had a lot of fun making it: I used a Lysol aerosol spray can to make a high-hat sound – I thought using the Lysol can was appropriate for the times! I grabbed my deodorant and a can of body spray, too! I also rubbed two shoes together to make a cool sound … and to get a rolling sound, I opened a book and flipped through the pages!

I enjoyed all the sessions, but “Music-Making in the Digital Classroom” really gave me some great ideas. What’s really cool is that now I have the confidence and the tools I need to teach during these challenging times. Now I know I can work with my students on production without really have to play or even touch an instrument! We can do it all digitally … and we can still be creative. We’ll still be able to make music. That brings me great joy.”

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Kristen Liegey

Music Teacher, K-4

Hickman Elementary

Nashville, TN

One word: “Innovative!”

“What resonated most with me was feeling like I was part of the Quaver team. The final session really got me. It was amazing. It felt like I was right there in the same room with Graham, Otto, and the rest of team. Being made to feel part of the community was just very meaningful to me.

I also loved the session that explored virtual choirs; I really appreciated how they broke everything down, step-by-step, giving us all the information we needed to be able to feel confident enough to try it ourselves. Confidence counts for so much.

All of the information and the tools from this conference will be useful to all of us – not just in 2020, but for years to come. Thank you, Quaver!”

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Keep your eyes peeled for more teacher feedback in the coming days … it’s simply too good not to share!

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Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.