Pushing Past the Challenge of Change

How do you push past the challenge of change? Particularly in the music room?

Today’s world finds us constantly needing to adapt. New technology, new ideas, the possibilities are endless.

Change can be refreshing and even necessary, but how do you push past its challenges and truly thrive?

Today on the blog, Quaver’s Kristin Clark Taylor sits down with two remarkable Quaver Music Teachers, Marcus Johnson and Angela Mangum, and Quaver CEO and Co-Founder Dr. David V. Mastran, to discuss how the changing landscape of music education has impacted them and how to equate change to growth. 

Take it away, Kristin!


Q: What’s the scariest part about change?

A: Change itself.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement right now, which you probably are, chances are you’ll agree with this next raw truth, too. Without change, you cannot grow. Period. 

A pretty smart guy named Albert (yep, as in Einstein) said it a long time ago:

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be Einstein to understand the concept that change is not only good, but necessary. In fact, if you’re itching to do something a little different in your classroom, maybe try some new tools that will supplement your style and complement your curriculum without actually replacing it—all you really need are two simple things: willingness and ability. 

But even that kind of change is challenging.

Just ask Marcus Johnson, a passionate and highly dedicated music teacher at Hemmenway Elementary in Katy, Texas who years ago decided to embrace change and try QuaverMusic in his classroom.

Johnson is now a spirited supporter of Quaver’s innovative, cloud-based curriculum, though at first, he was reluctant.

“Once I figured out Quaver’s resources were there to help me and not replace me, the entire game changed,” Johnson says. “I’ll admit it: I was a little reluctant at first, but the more I saw of the curriculum, the more I recognized how useful it was and how much growth was occurring—not just in my students, but in me, as their teacher!”

Marcus Johnson and Quaver himself! 

Seeing Is Believing

For Johnson, seeing is believing.

David V. Mastran, President and Co-Founder of QuaverMusic, expands the prism of this “Seeing is believing” principle. When it comes to QuaverMusic resources, he says: “Believing is seeing!”

“Lots of teachers don’t understand the full potential of our resources,” Mastran notes. “Many are unwilling to try out the website. Once they believe it can help them, though, they will see the vast potential. Sometimes you have to have faith that a successful company with great testimonials is producing valuable resources. You have to believe before you can see.”

When it comes to providing top-notch tools for teachers—especially in today’s fast-changing world—both Mastran and Johnson sing the same song:

“Children today learn much differently because they have so many more resources available to them, thanks to modern technology and the Internet,” says Johnson. “If there is a way to reach today’s students in a way that actually speaks to them, and that actually meets them where they are, like Quaver does, why wouldn’t I use it?” he asks.

Riding the Waves of Change in North Carolina

Another teacher who’s been brave enough to ride the waves of change in her classroom is Angela Mangum, who recently retired after 22 years of teaching.

Angie leads the chorus at Tar River Elementary!

Mangum, who spent the last six years of her career teaching music at Tar River Elementary in Granville County, North Carolina — a small, rural community about 25 minutes outside of Raleigh — has seen plenty of change.

In this case, the winds of technology have touched Granville County, too: “Not until very recently did we have access to high-tech resources in music programs,” she says of the school, who invested their Title I funds into technology.

“For the first time in my career, I had access to my own MacBook cart. Quaver’s tools, because they’re so technology-driven, really opened things up for me,” she says.

“I could use the lessons in Quaver’s toolbox to turn my students into composers! They create beautiful little pieces that they fall in love with. They can save them electronically, take them home to share with Mom, and at the same time I can show them what a treble clef is and we can explore different melodies and rhythms.”

“They’re plugged in, each one has their own ear buds, and they’re not just engaged in creative learning but in the technical process as well! And some of them are five-year-olds!” Mangum says in amazement.

Students become composers with Quaver Creatives!

Indeed, this is what change can bring to the classroom. And the quality of Quaver resources actually help make the impossible possible.

“Having Quaver available in my classroom allowed me to teach in a way I’ve never taught before,” says Mangum. “It would obviously have been impossible for me to bring 100 different instruments into the classroom. But with this technology and this curriculum, we can explore as many instruments as we like! Talk about empowering and creative!”

“Good Growth”

So although change is challenging, it is as necessary for one’s growth as food and water and sunshine. But let’s the experts do the talking.

When it comes to describing how Quaver promotes positive change and “good growth” in the classroom, here’s what they say:

David V. Mastran: “Music introduces emotion. Emotion results in engagement. Engagement facilitates learning. Quaver drives the entire process.”

Angela Mangum uses four simple words to describe what Quaver does: “Effectively reaches multiple intelligences.”

And dynamo-teacher Marcus Johnson: “Quaver has been a change agent and a creative catalyst, which is valuable to me because I know that if you don’t change, you don’t grow.”

No, you don’t need to be Einstein to understand the need for change. All you need are two simple things. Willingness and ability …

And QuaverMusic resources.


Kristin Clark Taylor is an award-winning author, journalist and former White
House communications strategist.