September 16, 2019

NYC Panel Focuses on Real, Relevant Music Education

As an early start to the school year, the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition gathered affiliates, thought leaders, friends of music education, along with students and teachers from The School District of Philadelphia to discuss “Real, Relevant Music Education.” The room at Dolby SoHo in Manhattan was full, and the conversation high-energy.

The Coalition’s executive director, Dr. Lee Whitmore, moderated the conversation of panelists, who included:

  • Ivan Barias, the Recording Academy national trustee, and GRAMMY-winning producer from Philadelphia
  • Paralee Knight, Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Frank Machos, School District of Philadelphia
  • Kevin Mitchell, National Amusements and Emerson College
  • Brandon Pankey, Live Nation Urban
  • Ariel Sheman, Music Unites

Both panel and audience members jumped right in. Panelists talked about what music meant to them in their youth and reflected on those who influenced and encouraged them to be active in music. A key focus of the conversation was programs that engage young people in relevant ways so that music education is real, culturally connected, and engaging. Examples included the School District of Philadelphia’s commercial music program provided by DASH, how Twitch, Amazon’s gaming and eSports platform is growing into education, and Music Unites’ engagement in public school music programs around the United States.

One of the most thought-provoking questions came from Hechinger Report editor-in-chief, Liz Willen, who asked the panelists how relevant they find music education programs and service providers to be, and how effectively they can address inequity across American music education — there are nearly 4 million students in public schools that still have no access to music education, and 75% of those young people are in underserved public schools.

Hear what they said, and see a video of the panel, next month on