October 16, 2019

Coalition Launches Music Teacher Coaching Initiative in Nashville Schools

Being a music teacher can be a really hard job. Keeping students’ attention, finding relevant lesson plans, and building a passion for music in just a small portion of the school day can challenge even the most experienced teachers. That’s why the Coalition launched a music coaching initiative in the Metro Nashville Public Schools this summer, to support music teachers in challenging environments, improve the quality of music instruction across the district, and open access for every student to meaningful music-making experiences at school each day.

Two full-time music coaches support Nashville’s nearly 200 music teachers with mentoring support to help improve their skills, increase their job satisfaction, and stay in the school system.  The coaches place a special focus on supporting new teachers in classroom teaching and management, and lesson pacing. 

We’d like to introduce you to both coaches in this and next month’s newsletters, starting here with Elementary Music Coach Franklin Willis. For the past decade, Willis has served as a music educator, instructional leader, and arts advocate with the Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County Schools. During his tenure with MNPS, Willis has been recognized for his innovative thinking and creative teaching techniques. He works tirelessly to educate the public about the positive outcomes of a quality music education.

What is your mission as a music coach?
Franklin Willis: I support music teachers in creating a learning environment that fosters meaningful cultural experiences in the performance, understanding and appreciation of music. My immediate goals are to build positive relationships with music teachers to create an atmosphere of trust and respect, while remaining student-focused. My long-term goal is to build a curriculum model that will streamline Elementary Music instruction in Metro Nashville Public Schools. No matter what your zip code is, all students will receive standards-based, district aligned music educational experiences.  

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 
FW: Collaborating with teachers to build strong elementary music education programs.  In my short time as a coach I have learned that I can’t give all the solutions, but instead I provide teachers with tools to create their own solutions. From helping first-year teachers effectively set up their classrooms to assisting veteran teachers with implementing technology into their lessons, these experiences have been fulfilling.

What is your best advice for music teachers? 
FW: Stay current and continue to learn and collaborate with your colleagues. Staying current to me means understanding and learning what your students are interested in, following hot topics in education, or even listening to music on the Top 100 Billboard charts. Attending professional development sessions and conferences will build your “teacher toolbox” with new and innovative teaching strategies that will enhance your instruction. Collaborating with music teachers in your district by sharing your favorite lessons, song arrangements, concert ideas, or even fundraisers that have been successful will foster long lasting professional relationships.  

Next month, meet Secondary Music Coach, Glenn Fugett.