In episode 47, Kathryn and Theresa talk to Allison Russo about how she works with music educators to create a values-based music program. Allison is currently an educational consultant in New Jersey, working with both schools and non-profit organizations. After graduating from Ithaca College, she taught elementary band for several years and then began working for a jazz education non-profit, helping to bring jazz education into schools and running their gender equity program. It was through these experiences that Allison discovered the importance of incorporating social, cultural, and emotional skills and values in the classroom. In this interview, Allison shares how music educators can work with their students, schools, and communities to create a shared value statement, working towards a values-based music program. 

Episode 47: A Collaborative Journey Toward Shared Values in Music Education

Values-Based Music Programs

Recently, Allison published a book, Planning on Purpose: Creating a Values-Based Music Program. After working with nonprofit organizations, she realized that their way of being mission driven, having strong purpose and priority behind everything they did, was a very holistic way of looking at an organization. We can apply these principles to school music programs. 

“When you’re creating a values-based music program, that program is designed and then continually driven by the unique needs and principles and culture of the community.”

One of the first steps is creating a value statement, a collection of words or short statements that describe the primary principles driving the reason you do your work together. A values statement is most meaningful is when it’s created along with the students, their families, and the community. You then build the music program off of the information you collect. 

Throughout the interview, Allison walks us through the steps of creating this values statement. She offers suggestions on how to use this to strengthen the good work already occurring in the classroom and give students agency at the same time. 

Be sure to check out the full interview on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. You an also listen right here, on Spotify Podcasts!

Connect with Allison and learn more about her work:

Interested in learning more about culture and community in the music room? Check out these past episodes:

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