Celebrating the Arts in Schools, and Free Resources

Celebrating the Arts in Schools, and Free Resources
Posted on 03/29/2020
Celebrating the Arts in Schools

As March comes to a close, Metro Nashville Public Schools is proud to have joined schools across our country in recognizing this month as Music in Our Schools Month, Youth Art Month, Theatre in Our Schools Month, and Dance in Our Schools Month.

But with schools out for several more weeks and life changing all around us every day amid the COVID-19 public health emergency, students will need to be able to see, hear and perform works of art that inspire them just as much in April and May as they have in March.

Ted Edinger Art Teacher

Michelle Garner Cane Ridge Art Teacher

"These are unprecedented times, and we have witnessed the power of the arts to transform lives and provide opportunities for healing and human expression!" said Jeff Smith, director of visual and performing arts for Metro Nashville Public Schools. "In the wake of the March 3 tornadoes, visual and performing arts teachers and staff volunteered to assist with cleaning classrooms and moving equipment and supplies between schools that were impacted. During recent school closures due to COVID-19, visual and performing arts teachers are finding unique ways to stay engaged and connected with their students."

Despite many student art events being canceled or postponed as the district practices social distancing, MNPS teachers and students "continue to create beautiful dance, art, music, and theatre works that represent their creativity and individuality," Smith said.

Several MNPS art teachers have responded to a challenge that was forwarded by Allison Ross, visual arts coordinator, and originally shared by the Virginia Art Education Association. This challenge encourages art educators and community members to re-create portraits and tag them with #artedportraits - often with colorful, interesting and funny results.

Take a look at the portraits by Tulip Grove art teacher Ted Edinger and Cane Ridge art teacher Michelle Garner, for example.

MNPS partners in the district's work, including all of the Music Makes Us partners, are providing free online activities for students, professional development for teachers, and needed resources for our arts students.


Davis Publishing : Find visual art textbooks, teacher manuals, and more. Davis is offering their digital resources free until the end of June.

Disney Musicals in Schools/TPAC : Teachers are invited to use the accompaniment tracks from their Disney Kids or Disney Jr. musicals to let their students know they can sing the songs and send the recordings to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, who will edit the songs together for a video mashup. Teachers may choose the song the cast sings, and also include the teacher team.

Questions? [email protected]. Video Submissions can be submitted to this Dropbox folder

Frist Kids: Provided by the Frist Art Museum, this site is for students interested in knowing more about art. It has several videos, each with an art project students can make at home.

Live Lessons with Little Kids Rock

Nashville Symphony Orchestra Home Resources

Quaver Music: Every K-4 student should have log-in information provided by their music teacher. Additional free music activities are currently being provided through the site.

Save the Music Foundation : A list of music education resources provided by VH1 Save the Music Education Foundation.

Southern Word's Virtual Music Production Workshops: Through a range of online interactive workshops, teen producers of all levels will work with professional music production mentors to develop the skills to produce music. Participants will learn how to produce beats using industry-leading software, understand how to pick the right sound for the right project, and acquire the skills needed to mix like a pro, including using audio samples, loops, and virtual instruments. Davidson County teens (ages 13-18) with an interest in music - including producers, songwriters, singers, and rappers - are encouraged to register and begin creating their unique sound.


Smith offers up some of MNPS's recent arts events and accomplishments:

  • MNPS students received more than 100 gold and silver keys and honorable mentions at the 2020 Middle Tennessee Scholastic Art Awards. Two recognition events were held at Cheekwood in early February, and Hume-Fogg senior Sarah Katherine Steen was recognized as an American Vision Nominee.

  • We are thankful for the collaboration between the STEAM and Visual and Performing Arts departments for the STEAM Expeditions program. Thousands of MNPS students have experienced the joy of visual and performing arts experiences with the Nashville Opera, TPAC, Nashville Symphony, Frist Art Museum, Cheekwood, Nashville Children's Theatre, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Studio NPL.

  • More than 48 band, orchestra, and vocal ensembles performed in Concert Performance Assessments (CPAs) in February and March of this year. A Pre-Concert Performance Assessment Day was held at Hillwood High School on Feb. 17.

  • Our dance programs continue to be recognized at the state and national level.

  • Our theatre programs are highly competitive at the annual Thespian Competition. We are grateful to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Disney for all of the valuable resources provided for Disney Musicals in Our Schools and the opportunity for high school theatre companies to participate in the annual Spotlight Awards.

  • The federal Professional Development for Arts Educators grant implementation is succeeding in its third year, with a total of 29 schools in cohorts 1 and 2 participating in the program this year. We are grateful to our partners at the Frist Art Museum, Quaver Music, and Metis Associates. Teachers and students are enthusiastic about the new teaching strategies and blended learning.

  • We are grateful to our partners at the Country Music Association and CMA Foundation for their continued support with over $300,000 invested this year, bringing the total investment to over $12.5 million since 2006. Last year, the CMA Foundation funded a music needs assessment that was completed by Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and Metis Associates and is helping to drive work on a strategic plan for visual and performing arts in our district.

    The CMA Foundation will again recognize 10 teachers in Metro Schools as Music Teachers of Excellence. Each teacher recognized will receive a $2,500 award, and $2,500 will be awarded for each teacher's school music program.

    And 50 volunteers from the Country Music Association recently donated their time and talents at Croft Design Center Middle School to paint a mural and help with many projects around the school.

  • The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition and NAMM Foundation supported our first ever Music Technology Summer Institute last May, with more than 70 music educators attending that conference and receiving Blue Snowball microphones in addition to meaningful professional development. Thousands of music students and their teachers now have access to Music First applications in their classrooms through that support.

    The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition continues to support capacity-building, funding three MNPS staff positions. The strategic partnership coordinator, elementary music coach, and secondary music coach are making significant strides in supporting the work of our music teachers and students.

  • We are also deeply grateful to NOTES for EDUCATION for celebrating a decade of investing in Metro Nashville Public Schools' music education programs by providing a 3-year gift with up to $100,000 per year in funding for a total of almost $300,000.

    One of the most universal needs for MNPS music teachers is to have discretionary funding so that each teacher can fill immediate needs in their classrooms without spending out of their own pockets. To address this need, NOTES for EDUCATION has committed to supporting music education in MNPS by pledging $500 per music teacher each year for the next three years.


Follow @ArtsMoveMNPS on Twitter and @MusicMakesUsNashville on Instagram. Use the hashtag #ArtsMoveMNPS and share your arts education story and good news items by emailing [email protected]. And, students, if you are making art while school is closed, share that with us, too.

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