Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about our organization and how to bring Music Workshop into your classroom. If your question isn’t answered here, contact us.

A collage of three photos showing performers in a theater musical, an African American man in a white suit playing a white piano, and a man with a microphone.

About the Program

Music Workshop resources are flexible enough to integrate into any curriculum. The courses can be used in many ways: to introduce a unit, supplement a unit, as a special treat day, a post-concert rest day or grouped together to make a unit of their own. Music Workshop also makes an exceptional lesson plan for a substitute teacher.

Each Music Workshop course includes relevant, exciting, and culturally responsive music and artists to inspire your students to live a musical life. The lessons are divided into four video sections which are around 5 minutes each. Each video section is followed by prompts for a teacher-led question and answer period (around 3-5 minutes long). For virtual learning, a pre-loaded Google Form quiz is available to attach to your lesson in the learning management system of your choice. Courses include a Music in Life Lesson, which is an active listening exercise, and a Musical Movement Minute, which is a chance for K-5 students to stand up and get their wiggles out (this section is not included in the grade 6-8 version). Courses are interspersed with “Fun Facts” engaging the students with unique information on the course topic.

Courses contain supplemental materials with optional activities like word searches, coloring sheets, and fill-in forms of the questions from the video. Also included in the course materials is a document called “Sound Bites” that is a recap of the course for students to share with their families or caretakers.

All classroom lessons are free of charge. Music is for everyone!

We fundraise to support our free of charge lessons through foundation grants, private donations and our fee-based professional development program. We have a wonderful team of donors and partners that are passionate about supporting music-empowered education.

You are required to set up a unique user account to access all the materials. Once you have your own account, the only requirement for the program is that you provide feedback after teaching courses. Your feedback is vital, because we use it to ensure the quality of the program and to secure the funding that brings these resources to you free of charge.

No, you can access any part of the program, in any order, at your own pace and timing.

We have 33 courses within four series.

Instrument Series – Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Voice, Strings, Woodwinds, Brass (see also Instruments of the World under the Culture Series)

Genre Series – Jazz, Birth of Rock n’ Roll, Evolution of Rock n’ Roll, Expansion of Rock n’ Roll, Country, Classical, Rhythm and Blues, Pop, Musicals

Careers in Music Series – Part One and Part Two

Culture Series – Native American Traditional Music, Latin America: Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; Latin America: South America; Traditional Music from Africa: North, East and Southern; Traditional Music from Africa: Central and West; Popular Music from Africa: North, East and Southern; Popular Music from Africa: Central and West; Popular and Traditional Music of Southeast Asia; Popular and Traditional Music of East Asia

Soundwaves – Pink Martini, Thunderstorm Artis, Portland Cello Project, Ron Artis II and the Truth, Playing for Change

The Music in Life lesson in each course is an active listening exercise that is one of the most important elements of the Music Workshop program. Active listening involves listening with intent and no distractions. It is an important component in life and learning and is a valuable “soft skill” like problem-solving, leadership, or teamwork. Like any skill, it takes practice and effort – and music class is a great opportunity to teach this to students.

Young students today live in a world of visuals and screens that we could not have even comprehended when we were in their shoes. Taking a moment during a Music Workshop course to quietly and purposefully engage with what the music makes you feel, think, and experience is vital to understanding that music is a profoundly personal experience.

Music Workshop is designed for overall use in grades K-8. For most courses, the videos and materials are segmented into three grade groupings: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. The courses in the Culture Series have the same video for all grades, but they do include grade-segmented supplemental materials. The Careers in Music courses are recommended for grades 3-8.

The grade 3-5 video portion of each course contains all the components. For the younger students in K-2, the content has been abbreviated to allow for shorter attention spans. In the grade 6-8 version, the Musical Movement Minute has been removed, as we heard early on from teachers that this age group was not receptive to the movement activity. You can download any version of the video and materials that you find appropriate for your classroom. We recommend that you review the materials beforehand to choose the version that is most suitable for your students.

Some courses have fewer than three grade-level versions. For example, Careers in Music courses have two versions (grades 3-5 and 6-8), because these particular courses are not recommended for K-2 students. All the courses in the Culture Series have one version of the video, because we determined that all the information in this series is too important to abbreviate for younger students. We recommend that you preview those courses, especially if the content is too rich for your class. You can break up the course into multiple shorter lessons.

Music Workshop teachers are very creative with how they use the program as part of their curriculum. One teacher told us she has “Music Workshop Wednesday” as an activity to break up the week. Others use Music Workshop for a substitute teacher plan or treat day. Many teachers use the program to supplement or introduce a unit – if they are doing a keyboard unit, they select the Piano course. We have also heard from teachers who use the courses corresponding to the sections of the orchestra – strings, brass, percussion, and woodwinds – to create a unit. One of the great aspects of the Music Workshop program is its versatility.

About the Teacher Portal

Each Music Workshop account is attached to a singular email. If you teach at multiple schools, we encourage you to set up an account for each school (you can use a non-school email address to sign up for multiple school accounts) so that you can track which courses you are using for each school and we can track which schools our program is taught in. If you are uncomfortable doing this, let us know which additional schools you teach at and we will add it to our records manually.

This is not uncommon, as school districts sometimes block emails from outside sources. Please email us at or and we will reset the password for you.

Your feedback is crucial to our program quality and funding. Keeping Music Workshop programming high quality, relevant and up-to-date is our highest priority. We need to hear how the program functions in your classroom so we can continually improve the materials. Plus, Music Workshop is funded entirely by grants and donations. We do not charge teachers for the program. We use the information gathered in the feedback form to help procure the grants and donations that are critical to ensuring the growth and survival of Music Workshop. We thank you for your time and insight.

You are allowed to check out three courses at a time. After that, you will need to check in a course by filling out a feedback form before you can check out another course. On occasion, you may need to progress to another course before you have presented a course to your class. You can simply indicate that fact on the form, fill out the rest to your best ability and submit it to move onto another course. We ask that you return later and fill out the form after you have taught the course. You can fill out the feedback form as many times as you like, but are only required to fill it out once per course.

We have tried many ways to collect the feedback that we need to improve and fund the program and have found that the only way to ensure we receive it is to require feedback as teachers move through the program.

It is so convenient! Select a course to download the video, Q&A, Sound Bites and any supplemental materials you would like to include. Leave the video on your hard drive or thumb drive, where the substitute can access it, and leave printed materials for students (or leave PDF files for the substitute to print out). There is a document called “Instructions for a Substitute Teacher” included in the supplemental materials. Print these directions and leave for the sub.

Yes. In response to COVID, we modified the program so it can be used for distance, individual or blended learning. We produced a lower-resolution version of the video that is upload friendly, and amended or created other course materials to support individual and distance learning. You are able to assign a lesson via learning management systems like Google Classroom, Canvas and Seesaw. Students can access the lesson, go at their own pace and work independently from any location.

The Sound Bites document is a recap of the course contents that students can take home and share with their family or caretakers. It also gives them a record of everything they learned, so they can research further and continue learning on their own. Music Workshop strives to inspire students to lead musical lives and find their own musical paths, and we want to support their ongoing curiosity and excitement about the artists and music they experience in Music Workshop courses. 

The fill-in sheets are an optional exercise that is great for students who like to take notes as they follow along. For other students, this distracts from their concentration. We encourage teachers to offer it, but not to require it.

Still Need Help?

Check out the FAQ for our Professional Development. If your question isn’t answered there either, contact us.