June 19, 2019

Philly Music Teacher Named Quarterfinalist for Recording Academy/GRAMMY Museum Award

We’re thrilled to report that Courtney Powers has been named a quarterfinalist for the 2020 Music Educator Award™ presented by the Recording Academy™ and GRAMMY Museum®

A music teacher at Edison High School in Philadelphia, this is just her most recent achievement. Ms. Powers was also chosen to present at the Association for Popular Music Education conference held earlier this month, and at the upcoming Little Kids Rock’s Modern Band Summit, which will take place July 29 – Aug 1. 

We caught up with her recently for her insights about the importance of music education and access for all.

Coalition: First tell us about your music teaching background

Powers: I hail from Leon, Kansas but graduated from Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, in 2007 and Villanova University for my Master of Arts in Education. I have been teaching urban K–12 students for 12 years in Massachusetts, Texas, and Philadelphia. I have built programs in marching band, concert band, jazz band, chorus, modern band, ukulele and drama and general music. I am also a classically trained French horn player in two orchestras, and can play more than 10 other instruments. I am also music director of Annie for the Star Players of Philadelphia.

Coalition: What, in your view, makes music so critical to education?

Powers: For me, it’s all about #musiccitizenship. The key to being a good music educator is to convey to students that music comes from and belongs to a community. Students can make their first musical connection inside or outside the classroom. This may take on wildly different forms, but the seed can be planted in school and grows from there. Students can make outside connections to ensembles, live orchestras, colleges, and more. 

Most importantly, music is for ALL, not just the elite. I want all of our students to be able to be the best music citizens they can for the greater society. That may look different for each student, and it has been different at each school I have taught at. 

Coalition: Why do you think you’re among the finalists for the Music Educator Award?

Powers: I came from a trailer park in Kansas, and we don’t make it this far. I think I was chosen because my drive for music education is my life. Not only do I love teaching students in K–12, I love teaching new educators and veteran teachers at any level. I am passionate about music, it saved my life, and I show that to my students and the music community at large.