We salute music educators for the tremendous impact that they have on their students’ lives and in their communities. On this page, we highlight their hard work and perseverance through the challenges of the pandemic by sharing their students’ achievements from the past year.

The Woodlands High School

Aaron Michaelson - Orchestra Director
Conroe ISD

Here at The Woodlands High Orchestra, we have made it a priority to keep the music going. Last spring when everything shut down, we were able to produce a concert of student created videos of solos and small ensembles. Then once school opened again we have been exploring a lot of small chamber music pieces, much like what the Houston Symphony has done this season, where students can return to making music together while safely spaced out. While we have not had a live audience for any concert since last January, I am happy to say that we have only had to cancel once concert outright. All the others, 6 in total, we have been able to record and release virtually.

The Heights Violin Studio

Kaori Matsui Barvin - Suzuki violin instructor
Private Music Studio

When one of the students’ father Larry told us he has stage 4 cancer we knew we had to do something. We decided to have a benefit concert in his honor to raise money. Students got together every weekend to have play-ins on their driveway to promote the event to their neighbors and to practice playing together with masks on. It was an incredible event. We were so happy to get to play together and we raised $10,000! This weekend we are having another concert - this time at a parking lot of a retirement home in the Heights.

Beth Yeshurun Day School

Julie Sacks - Music Specialist
Private Elementary

4th grade class bucket drumming performance

The challenge this year was to create meaningful performance opportunities without singing. Some grades used plastic plates, some did a scarf dance, some used flashlights, some did body percussion. In 4th grade, we learned a bucket drumming routine, which the students helped to create. My 4th graders had so much fun putting on this performance, and even though we couldn't sing out loud, we were all still humming the tune and singing the song in our heads and our hearts for weeks! Proof that "learning" a piece of music is not limited to knowing the words. We learned rhythms, beats, patterns, teamwork, and used our own creative ideas throughout the process.

Klein Cain High School

Sundas Mohi-Truong and Katie Lindler - Orchestra Directors
Klein ISD

The Klein Cain High School Chamber Orchestra performed their first live concert with limited audience on March 9th, 2021. This group of students has demonstrated how music can persist even through the toughest of times. Although 75% of them are online learners, each individual has elevated their musical skill to a level at which they are able to perform as a true chamber ensemble, without conductor. Even though they only regularly meet after school once a week in person, their steadfast commitment to their artform is evidenced by the music we make despite these circumstances. Performing without conductor is a challenge even in a “normal” year, but to do so in this situation where we are not meeting every day is truly outstanding, and requires extreme dedication. I have been continuously impressed by how much these students care about sharing their best musicianship with any and all who will listen.

Music educators: We want to spotlight the ways you and your students have made great music together during this challenging year. Submit photos or videos of their achievements at houstonsymphony.org/teachingwins


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