Woman teacher sits cross-legged on the floor holding a guitar, in front of a room of young students with their hands in the air.

Music for Well-Being for Music Educators

Music teachers know that music is integral to the human experience. Throughout history, people have used music to connect with each other, express complex emotions, and make sense of the world around them. In this course, you will learn how music can help students manage the challenges they face in and out of school.

Well-Being in the Music Classroom

This course transcends traditional approaches to music education, exploring how music relates to identity, connection, and emotion. You’ll discover new ways to empower students with music, and teach them to use music listening and engagement as a tool for well-being. Join us as we explore new opportunities and techniques for music teaching and learning.

Three circular photos are stacked jauntily with colorful rings around each. From the top, the photos depict students in a classroom with their arms reaching up and out; a middle school band rehearsing on a stage, and a woman wearing headphones and smiling.

Course Overview

Through the thoughtfully curated selection of videos, readings, and written reflections in this course, you’ll explore how music can improve your students’ well-being as well as your own. You’ll discover new ways to empower students with music and gain a deeper understanding of why music is a vital element of all students’ education.

Learn about the basic principles of well-being and discover why music teachers are uniquely situated to support well-being outcomes for K-12 students.

Learn about what well-being means for children, some of the challenges youth face, and considerations for supporting well-being needs for students in an increasingly diverse society.

Learn techniques for teacher well-being and why putting your self-care first ultimately helps your students and your job satisfaction by avoiding burnout.

Consider how you can incorporate trauma-informed, student-centered, and culturally responsible teaching practices in your classroom and engage students musically for well-being outcomes.

Reflect on your role in your students’ lifelong relationship with music and learning. Build your teaching toolbox with validated techniques for well-being oriented music learning, from guided listening to choosing music for ensembles.

Discover how listening to and sharing music can help children develop deeper commitments to music, healthy coping skills, personal identity, social connection, and belonging.

Learn about established resources for student well-being, teacher self-care, and culturally responsible music education to apply as soon as you need them.

Photo shows woman in green sweater writing with pen and paper at a desk.

Bonus Materials

We want you to walk away from Music Workshop professional development courses with everything you need to put your learning into practice – the very next day. When you finish a course, you’ll get a resource kit with links, worksheets, lesson plans, and more to continue your learning and apply what you learned in your classroom.

Ready to Start Learning?

Photo shows a female teacher sitting in a classroom facing a row of middle-school students, all laughing and engaged.

Is This Course Right for You?

This course is built for music educators at all levels – whether you’ve spent your whole career teaching music or you’re just getting started. If you relate to any of these statements, this course is for you.

  • I strive to connect with my students and develop positive relationships with them.
  • I want to support my students’ well-being through music, but often don’t feel like I have much left to give.
  • I want to expand how my students understand what music can do for them and what they can do musically.
  • I see more and more challenging student behavior in my classroom, and I sometimes feel helpless to navigate it.
  • I am always looking for ways to keep my curriculum fresh so I can stay relevant in this changing educational climate.
  • I know music is vitally important in education, and I want additional tools to explain why to parents, administrators, and community members.
  • I want to help my students who are coming to class anxious, depressed, and disengaged.

Not a Music Educator?
We’re working to develop Music for Well-Being courses for general education teachers and pre-service teachers. Sign up to get notified when we launch these new courses.

Learn From the Experts

This course was facilitated by Dr. Giuliana Conti, Music Workshop’s Director of Education and Equity, in partnership with some of the leading experts in music education practice and research. Here are a few of the advisors who were instrumental in its creation.

Photo of Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome.

Dr. Sarah Bartolome

Associate Professor at Northwestern

Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome is a children’s music specialist with an interest in world music for the classroom. She earned degrees in music education from Ithaca College (BM), Northwestern University (’02 MMus), and the University of Washington (PhD).

Photo of Dr. Carlos Abril.

Dr. Carlos Abril

Associate Dean of Research University of Miami

Carlos R. Abril is Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Research at the Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in philosophy of music, general music methods, and equity, access, and diversity in music education.

Photo of Dr. Beatriz Ilari.

Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Chair of Music Teaching & Learning at USC

Beatriz Ilari (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Music Teaching & Learning at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she teaches graduate courses in music psychology, the sociology of music, cultural diversity in music teaching and learning, and research methods.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Mellizo.

Dr. Jennifer Mellizo

University of Wyoming Laboratory School & Curriculum Developer at Smithsonian Folkways

Jennifer Mellizo has been the K-8th grade music teacher at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School in Laramie…

Photo of Dr. Cat Bennett.

Dr. Cat Bennett

Assistant Professor at Oakland University

Dr. Cat Bennett is an assistant professor of music education at Oakland University, where she teaches undergraduate introductory and capstone music education courses, choral methods, student teaching seminar, and supervises choral education student teachers in their internships.

Photo of Coty Raven Morris.

Coty Raven Morris

Assistant Professor at Portland State University

Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University-San Marcos where she studied with Drs. Lynn Brinckmeyer, Jonathan Bacock, and Joey Martin.

Photo of Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome.

Dr. Sarah Bartolome

Associate Professor at Northwestern

Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome is a children’s music specialist with an interest in world music for the classroom. She earned degrees in music education from Ithaca College (BM), Northwestern University (’02 MMus), and the University of Washington (PhD). She is also a fully certified Kodaly educator, having received all three levels of certification from the New England Conservatory’s Kodaly Music Institute and serving on the faculty of the Kodaly Levels Program of Seattle.

Photo of Dr. Carlos Abril.

Dr. Carlos Abril

Associate Dean of Research University of Miami

Carlos R. Abril is Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Research at the Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in philosophy of music, general music methods, and equity, access, and diversity in music education. Dr. Abril has served on the Research Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and is Chair of the Society of Research in Music Education. He has also served on over ten editorial boards in North America, South America, and Europe. Prior to joining the University of Miami, Dr. Abril was an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Northwestern University. He received his Ph.D. in music education at The Ohio State University, an M.M. in performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a B.M. in music education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He is also a former general music and choral educator in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where he was named the Region V Teacher of the Year and awarded the Cervantes Outstanding Educator Award.

Photo of Dr. Beatriz Ilari.

Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Chair of Music Teaching & Learning at USC

Beatriz Ilari (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Music Teaching & Learning at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she teaches graduate courses in music psychology, the sociology of music, cultural diversity in music teaching and learning, and research methods. She has conducted extensive research with babies, preschoolers, and school-aged children from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. In her work, she uses a variety of approaches to study different aspects of musical development and growth of infants, children, and adolescents. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature. Beatriz Ilari collaborates regularly with researchers from USC’s Brain & Creativity Institute and Bionic Ear Lab, and with scholars from different research centers and universities across the globe.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Mellizo.

Dr. Jennifer Mellizo

University of Wyoming Laboratory School & Curriculum Developer at Smithsonian Folkways

Jennifer Mellizo has been the K-8th grade music teacher at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School in Laramie, WY since 2002. She is also an independent researcher and a curriculum developer for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. She has been recognized as a Wyoming Arch Coal Teacher of the Year in 2014, the Albany County School District Teacher of the Year in 2016, and a 2021 Fulbright U.S. Scholar (Spain).

Photo of Dr. Cat Bennett.

Dr. Cat Bennett

Assistant Professor at Oakland University

Dr. Cat Bennett is an assistant professor of music education at Oakland University, where she teaches undergraduate introductory and capstone music education courses, choral methods, student teaching seminar, and supervises choral education student teachers in their internships. Over the past 15 years, Cat has taught and studied vocal music in many countries around the world, teaching K – 12 general and choral music in Japan and Thailand, and working as a volunteer music teacher in Honduras and South Africa. Prior to completing her PhD at the University of Miami, she studied vocal jazz and Creative American Music. Cat also has a BME from Ithaca College and a MME from Indiana University.

Photo of Coty Raven Morris.

Coty Raven Morris

Assistant Professor at Portland State University

Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University-San Marcos where she studied with Drs. Lynn Brinckmeyer, Jonathan Bacock, and Joey Martin. She received her Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University in the Spring of 2020. She is currently the Hinckley Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education and Social Justice at Portland State University. She has presented at educational conferences and professional developments across the country including the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.

Woman with short grey hair and black glasses smiles while looking at a sheet of paper.

Continuing Education Credit

The Music for Well-Being for Music Educators course is worth eight hours of professional development toward continuing education requirements. Teachers receive a certificate of completion when they finish the course and can download the course syllabus or PD reimbursement document if needed for pre-approval or reimbursement.

Get Details on Continuing Education Credit

Scholarships Available

We don’t want there to be barriers for teachers to benefit from our professional development courses. If you can’t afford the enrollment cost or receive reimbursement from your school or district, please fill out this form to request a scholarship.

Free Music Programming for K-8 Classrooms 

Music Workshop has a rich library of free classroom content that is ready to bring music to life in any K-8 classroom. Our free classroom curriculum is customized by grade level and covers musical genres, instruments, careers in music, and music from cultures around the world. 

Course materials include high-quality videos, teacher-led question and answer sessions, active listening exercises, and movement activities. These materials are also perfect for substitutes as they are ready to go, easy to manage, and continue students’ musical learning even in the absence of the music teacher.

Explore Music Workshop’s Free Classroom Curriculum