Music Assessment and Technology Courses

August 23, 2017

Jake Sturtevant and Barb Vinal, instructors for NEI

The New England Institute for Teacher Education is offering two courses that arts educators may be interested in taking. Refining Assessment in the Music Classroom taught by music educator Jake Sturtevant and Technology for Educators taught be former Maine music educator Barb Vinal. Learn about the courses, registration for them, and about Jake and Barb.

EDPO 540: Refining Assessment in the Music Classroom (Online)


Looking closely at our assessment practices through a collaborative and fine-tuned lens can provide unique opportunities for growth. Connecting new assessment practices to our instruction can bring exciting changes to how we approach our students and their learning. Participants will discuss how best to apply recent Music assessment work to their own unique situations in their own school music programs. This will lead them to create a personalized plan for implementing new strategies.


Upon successful completion of this course, educators will be able to:

  • Articulate recent trends in assessment and clear connections to their own classrooms.
  • Develop and implement a personalized plan of instruction and assessment in their own classrooms.
  • Network ideas, resources and strategies with other music and arts colleagues in the field.
  • Develop a meaningful approach to ongoing analysis and modification of their own instructional practices.
  • Demonstrate a clear connection between music assessment and music advocacy in their own schools and communities.

This is an online course and the instructor will set up video conference meetings with students. To register CLICK HERE. This course satisfies a requirement for re-certification by the Maine Department of Education.

Instructor, Jake SturtevantThis course is taught Jake Sturtevant who was born and raised in Maine by a musical family. He is a prolific composer, performer, and music educator. His compositions encompass a variety genres and media including jazz, funk/fusion, vocal, chamber music, orchestral, electronic, and multi-media works.  Jake currently is a music educator at Falmouth High School. He is the former music director at Bonny Eagle High School, in Standish Maine and was music educator at Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine, Teaching Assistant of the Composition department at the University of Minnesota, and he has worked as an intern and as an independent contractor for the Maine Arts Commission.  Jake has been interested in acquiring and changing his teaching and assessment practices to focus on standard based grading. He has had the opportunity to be part of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative  formally know as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, and has taught a variety of workshops at since the initiative started in 2011. He is continually inspired by other teachers around the state and the country who have found a variety of assessment practices that help students achieve practical goals that will help them progress, while not stifling their creativity. Jake holds degrees from the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jazz and Contemporary music program (B.A., Music, 2003), and the University of Minnesota (M.A., Composition 2005), where he studied with Dr. Judith Lang Zaimont. Beyond his profession Jake enjoys his time with his family, and all outdoor activities especially hiking and skiing.

EDE 325: Technology for Educators

This online course is currently offered for 4.5 Continuing Education Units 

Course Description

In the 21st century, it is imperative that teachers keep up to date with technology tools for teaching and learning. This course will help educators best serve their students by learning how to use popular tech tools to help facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. Exploration of technology applications (including Google apps) as well as the development of an online Personal Learning Network to include social media and bookmarking make the course relevant to individual educator needs and is designed to encourage continued learning beyond the course. Participants will develop a digital toolbox to help manage classroom lesson plans, schedules, and assessments and will enhance effective communication with students, administration and parents. This course helps educators to meet some of the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Competencies for Educators.

Materials Required:

  • Ability to connect to the Internet – high speed connection preferred.
  • Current browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


Course Objectives

  • Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
  • Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
  • Model digital age work and learning
  • Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility
  • Engage in professional growth and leadership

To register CLICK HERE.

Barbara Vinal holds a Masters in Technology Educationfrom Lesley University, a Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and holds a certificate in online instruction through the Carolina Online Teacher program (COLT) through LearnNC, a program of the UNC School of Education. She is currently an Instructional Technology Facilitator and Magnet School Coordinator for the Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, NC. She has been an educator in Maine, New Hampshire, NC and Texas for over 30 years. Mrs. Vinal was a member of the Maine Department of Education Learning Results Review Committee in 2007, which developed the Maine state standards in Visual and Performing Arts. She has presented sessions at multiple conferences on technology integration in the classroom, assessment techniques and in developing standards-based curricula and served on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leadership Team.


MAC Awards Grants

August 22, 2017

Over $37,000 awarded!

The Arts Learning grants, along with several other grant programs, totaling $375,134.00 were approved yesterday by the commission members of the Maine Arts Commission.

One of this years grant recipients: Teaching artist Susan Camp will be providing an artist residency at Leonard Middle School in Old Town during this school year. She will work with visual art educator Adele O’Brien-Drake to create portraits on gourds.

The Arts Learning grants are providing $37,200.00 to a mixture of 18 schools and organizations all committed to providing quality arts education programming for young people. The selection process involves four amazing panelists who dedicated hours and hours to reviewing each application, gathering to discuss them and scoring each one, using a rubric based on the criteria. The panelists scores are added together to determine a total score.

We are considering changing the arts education grant for next year to build on the successes. I encourage you to consider applying by brainstorming ideas and having conversations with school personnel, community arts organizations, and teaching artists. If you have questions or wish to discuss an idea please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.  I’d be glad to assist you in the applications process. The deadline is the end of March BUT it is never to early to begin the planning process. Each awardee’s work will have a blog post that will include the project so you can learn about them. This years recipients are listed below with the titles of their applications. CONGRATULATIONS to all of you!

  • 317 Main Community Center, Yarmouth – Building Learning and Life Skills through Music Education
  • Bangor High School, Bangor – Ceramic/Sgraffito Artist workshop
  • Breakwater Learning, Portland – Play Start Studio: Artist in Residence
  • Figures of Speech Theatre, Freeport – The Art of Memory
  • Jazz Residency Initiative, Denmark – Jazz Residency Initiative Programming
  • Learning Works, Portland – Learning Works Afterschool, Youth Dance Program
  • Leonard Middle School, Old Town, Harvesting Identify
  • Longfellow Elementary School, Portland – Filling a Void: Building a Performing Arts Program at Longfellow Elementary
  • Maine Academy of Modern Music, Portland – Mammoth Rock Chorus in Local Elementary Schools,
  • Oceanside High School, Rockland – OHS Art Lab in the Halls – A School & Community Collaboration
  • Opera House Arts, Stonington – Creative  Stages Theatre Education Initiative
  • Partners in Island Education, Vinalhaven – Galvanizing Student Connections between the Island Landscape and Art
  • Portland Ballet, Portland – CORPS support
  • Portland Ovations, Portland – Story to Stage
  • Portland Stage, Portland – Support for Portland Stage’s K-12 Education Programming
  • The Telling Room, Portland – Field Trips
  • Union Elementary School, Union – Come Spring
  • Waterfall Arts, Belfast – Youth & Family Outreach After School Art Programs

In Today’s News

August 21, 2017

Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist

Tom Luther, one of our new Teaching Artist Leaders with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) made the news today. Tom is a musician and teaches piano and digital/computer music. He works at the Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland.

He has created a plan for his MALI work called Standards without Standards. How Teaching Artists Can Create a Flexible Learning Template. Tom spent three days with other teaching artists and PK12 arts educators at the MALI Summer Institute at Thomas College earlier this month. His application for Teaching Artist Leader included: “I’ve found teaching to be an intensely creative act, as well as a tremendous tool for personal growth, both for myself and my students. Teaching has helped me become a better listener and observer.”

You can read the entire article from the Village Soup by CLICKING HERE.

Tom’s bio

Tom Luther is an improvising composer, pianist, and media artist working in acoustic and electronic environments. He has performed throughout the state of Maine with his modern jazz group TLQ (Tom Luther Quintet), an ambient music trio called Algorithm, and as a soloist. Luther is also a media artist, working with video, live installations, and interactive objects. In his work, Luther applies traditional composition, improvisation, generative, and interactive techniques, drawing freely from his experiences in numerous musical forms. The messages and stories are universal, and genre is simply a cultural idiom appropriate to a certain group at a certain time. Luther explores these notions through adapting techniques from different genres to create hybrid works that straddle the worlds of jazz, classical, electronic, and ambient music, bending genre and blurring the boundaries that define them. He has released two albums of his music with the TLQ, “Everything Is Blue” (2012) and “Necessity(2015). His interactive installation “Spine” premiered at Waterfall Arts in 2015, and he has shown two multi-media works as the Kelpie Gallery’s annual “Wet Paint on the Weskeag” fundraiser. Luther was a featured solo performer at “Jazz on a Summer’s Eve” at the Camden Opera House, and performs regularly with TLQ and as a sideman with the Mike Whitehead Group. He is currently working on a new ambient/downtempo trio, and an interactive floor puzzle that creates music. Luther is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, and studied privately with pianist and composer Anthony Davis.



I Love This

August 18, 2017

Making a difference

I just love it when a teacher (especially a young one) shares an arts education story. Here’s one from Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Elise Bothel. Be sure and click on the image so you can get a close look at the response. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for you to pause!

“Came across this response from a second grader at the end of this past school year. I love this. This student was not interested in art at all at the beginning of the year and I was in constant contact with family due to behavior issues. At the end of the year he enthusiastically circled all materials as his favorite and ended with this perfect response to my question about being an artist.”

Please share your stories so others can learn from your experiences.


Holographic Projection

August 17, 2017

9-second demo

This video is just over a minute long that is a holographic projection of a whale. It is a photographic process that produces images thanks to the differences between two laser beams. These images are projected into a gym using a special camera. You can see the students in the background sitting on the bleachers. In the video you can see the students faces of surprise in the foreground. There is not a drop of water in this room, let alone a whale. To view the video CLICK HERE.

This process is simple developed in the 1800’s. If you’re curious as to how this is done, take a look at the youtube video below.



Your Life Story,

August 16, 2017

in six words

I may have blogged about this in the past but I just came across this article again while cleaning out a box of old stuff and just had to share it. The article is called Your life story, in six words and written by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser. I don’t know which newspaper I cut it out of or the date it was published. It helped me “pause” the first time I read it and again today. Perhaps when you read it below, you will pause as well.

     Everyone has a story. That’s the tag on the masthead of SMITH, our online magazine. Yes until we asked the world to send us six-word memoirs, even we had no idea how true it was. 

We took a page from Ernest Hemingway. According to legend, he was challenged to write a novel in only six words and came up with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” We posed the same challenge online, but we asked for true-life stories – in just half a dozen well-chosen words. 

     To launch the challenge, we posted examples from names we figured most readers would know, such as “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert (“e see world! Me write stories!”; she naturally emailed hers in from an airport runway in Indonesia) and celebrity chef Mario Batali (he sent seven, each enlightening but none as pitch-perfect as “Brought it to a boil, often”).

     More than 15,000 (and counting) submissions later; we are continually struck by what proves possible in just six words. The shots, shot life stories keep coming in. As we try this, a quick glance reveals Emily Cambridge “wanted to write but feared failure”. With half a dozen words and a few clicks of the keyboard, she has rewritten the story of her life. 

     What’s yours?

     Ex-wife and contractor now have house. – Drew Peck

     Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that. – Andie Grace

     Chinese immigrant loathing drama in Anaheim. – Eric Wong

     Can’t tonight, watching “Law & Order.” – Rory Evans

     Found true love, married someone else. – Bjorn Stromberg

     Fifteen years since last professional haircut. – Dave Eggers

     One tooth, one cavity, life’s cruel. – John Bettencourt

     Must remember: people, gadgets. That order. – Brian Lam

     Made a mess. Cleaned it up. – Amy Anderson

     Hockey is not just for boys. – Alexandra Duplin

     Put whole self in, shook about. – Melissa Delzio

     My second-grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown

Well, I though it was funny. – Stephen Colbert

     Where the hell are my keys? – Brady Udall

     Dad wore leather pants in Reno. – John Falk

     Secret of life: Marry an Italian. – Nora Ephron

     Little bit Lucy, tempered by Ethel. – Tami Maus

     I think, therefore I am bald. – Dickie Widjaja

     Took scenic route, got in late. – Will Blythe

     Being a monk stunk. Better gay. – Bob Redman

     Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan

Should not have eaten those mushrooms. – Emilie Raguso

     Was father, boys died, still sad. – Ronald Zalewski

     ABCs MTV SATs THC IRA NPR. – Jancee Dunn

     It’s pretty high. You go first. – Alan Eagle

     Me: consistently avoiding death since 1978! – Daniel Fowlkes

     New Jersey to California. Thank God. – Ayelet Waldman

     I still make coffee for two. – Zak Nelson

     It was embarrassing, so don’t ask. – Alex Lindquist

You can go to the website at http://www.smithmag.net and check out the work. Could you do this with the other arts somehow? Six notes perhaps. There is a tab for schools at the site so you can read what students have contributed.

What about you? What’s your life story, in six words? I’m going off to write mine now!


More Than Notes

August 15, 2017

Music – Teaching and Learning

Central High School teacher Quincy Stewart uses music to teach African-American history to his students. “These children have been robbed by this system. … They’ve been miseducated, undereducated and misused,” he said.

Earlier this summer a colleague sent me a link to this piece on a Detroit high school music teacher named, Quincy Stewart. He not only teaches music but pushes his students to learn other subjects including math, English and history and he does it all in music appreciation class.

Mr. Stewart said: “They walk in here and they don’t even know who they are.” So, Stewart teaches them: about the nations of Africa all the way through American Civil Rights, along with music theory. One student agrees: “This class gave me more information about myself than I could even imagine” (Einhorn, Chalkbeat).

You can read the entire article on Chalkbeat by CLICKING HERE.

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