Soundtrack of Black Lives Matter: Activist Music in the Classroom

with Maria De Valle, Nicholas Ryan Gant, Janelle Lawrence, Alice Tsui & Martin Urbach
Thursday, August 6, 2020
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

In this hands- and voice-on session for teachers who use (or want to use) music in their classroom, participants will engage in anti-racist, abolitionist, liberatory, community music-making. We will talk about the ways music has been central to liberation movements throughout history, and then work together to make music that responds to the current moment.

Maria De Valle is the CEO of Shine on Kids Arts Initiative. A music teacher with eight years of experience, she has founded music programs in elementary schools throughout the city. Shine on Kids NYC gives families the opportunity to bond, learn, and grow together through musical experiences.

Nicholas Ryan Gant is a New York-based singer/songwriter. A graduate of Howard University, Nicholas works as a vocal coach in the New York area, sings support vocals for the likes of Mariah Carey, Ledisi, Run the Jewels, Sy Smith, Miri Ben-Ari, and Michael McDonald. His latest project, Maze EP, is a collaboration with producer Kriswontwo from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Janelle Lawrence is a writer, composer, performer, and the Artistic Director of Broad Views on Broadway, a non-profit Theatre Company dedicated to equal opportunity and representation of new theatre pieces. Their work has been seen at Club Cumming, Teatro La Tea, Joe’s Pub, and Dixon Place, and they are co-moderator of Musical Theatre Factory’s Women/Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Roundtable and a 2020 Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellow.

Alice Tsui is an Asian American/Chinese American pianist, music educator, scholar, activist, and lifelong Brooklynite. She holds degrees in Piano Performance and Music Education and is completing a doctorate at Boston University. She is the founding music teacher at P.S. 532 New Bridges Elementary, in Crown Heights, and is on the piano faculty at the Manhattan School of Music’s summer program. Alice facilitates freestyle rap, hip-hop, improv, and comedy musical experiences with youth and adults across the U.S. with Freestyle Love Supreme.

Academy Fellow Martin Urbach is a Latinx immigrant, educator, activist, and composer. At school, he creates “liberated spaces” where kids fall in love with music and use music to promote social justice. He is a doctoral candidate in music education at Columbia University, holds a BA in jazz performance from the University of New Orleans, an MA in jazz arts from the Manhattan School of Music, and an Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College. He teaches music at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City.

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