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Kicking Off ETM-LA’s 15th Year

The 2020-21 school year begins Education Through Music-LA’s
15th Year of programming!  Even amidst the pandemic, ETM-LA is continuing to provide sequential weekly instruction to over 17,000 students across Los Angeles County through distance learning this Fall semester, staying on cue!

Our dedicated teachers and guests came together virtually for ETM-LA’s intensive week-long Summer Training Institute. They explored culturally relevant and diverse strategies for teaching music in economically-disadvantaged communities, best practices in virtual classroom management and procedures, student engagement, curriculum design, and more.

“It was inspiring to see such a well-executed virtual lesson which actually used and took advantage of some of the perks of being virtual, rather than just being a facsimile of in-person instruction. Very engaging, educational, and inspiring!” – shared an ETM-LA Teacher.

Special guest presenters led sessions along with ETM-LA’s program team – covering a wide range of topics including “Movement in the Age of Zoom,” “Distance Learning Activity Ideas,” and “Project-Based Learning for Middle School.”  In addition to diving into digital resources and software – Soundtrap, Quaver, NoteFlight, SmartMusic –  to add to their virtual learning toolbelt, the team also explored “Virtual Accommodations for Students with Special Needs.” According to Jackie Mader (, “the need for teachers who have both the knowledge and the ability to teach special education students is more critical today than ever before.

A continued focus of our work in Cultural Equity and Inclusion remains paramount in our training in order to best serve our students and communities. Training included such workshops as “Building Bridges of Unity,” “The Evolution of Black Music, and “Ethical Song Research” – offering key tools to help teachers more deeply research, reflect upon, and explore ways to further ensure that their teaching approach stays responsive to the communities with whom we engage.

One music teacher shared, “I appreciate the advice and guidance ETM-LA offers as we’re all aiming to give the students the music education they deserve despite the difficult circumstances.”


ETM-LA looks forward to continuing this important work during the new school year!


We are grateful to our Music Faculty, Program Team, and Special Guest Presenters and Partners:

Damon Carter, ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor

Franklin Gomez, ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor

Eva Gonzalez-Ruskiewicz, ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor

Ricardo Hurtado, ETM-LA Music Teacher/Therapy Specialist

Tonya Hylton-Campbell, ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor

Kaity Cassio Igari, Music Educator & Author

Victoria Lanier, ETM-LA Executive Director

Deidre Racoma, ETM-LA Director of Programs

Angelica Rowell, ETM-LA Music Educator & Performing Artist

Christopher Roberts, Lecturer & Director of Music Teacher Preparation, University of Washington

Dr. Jacqueline Sanderlin, Thought Leader, Educator and Activist & CEO/Founder of Why Not Incubator

Megan Shung, Suzuki Program Coordinator/Violin & Viola Faculty, Pasadena Conservatory of Music & Performing Artist

Gary Shields, ETM-LA Director of Community Affairs & Partnerships

Ryan Tolan, Why Not? Incubator Coach & Principal, GLAD Academics 

Allison Tuthill, ETM-LA Instructional Supervisor/Music Teacher


The Music Man Foundation

Department of Cultural Affairs, City of LA

CalASTA (California – American String Teachers Association)

Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture