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Music in our Schools Month: 279Online teaches music creatively

For more than 30 years, the National Association for Music Education has observed Music in Our Schools Month which highlights the value music brings to the lives of students. Most people think of music classes with instruments and singing, but students at 279Online learn about music in a unique way. 

“It took me a while to fully let go of the need to have performance ensemble classes online. Connecting compassionately with scholars is important for a positive learning environment and their development,” said Kevin Schieberl, music teacher at 279Online.

Schieberl approaches learning creatively with passion. His class of about 20 students joins Making Music through Google Meets to learn more about the compositional elements of everyday music they love. In one lesson, students were challenged to pick a song and identify qualities including form, tempo and dynamics. 

“You can hear everything by the end of the song. Did it get louder? Did it get softer?” Schieberl asked students. 

In the chat, students discussed thoughts and ideas with each other and expanded their thinking on musical elements. This lesson also allowed students to express their individuality by picking a song that was important to them. Some students made selections from video games and anime, while other students made selections that resonated with their lived experiences. 

One student picked the song “High Hopes,” by Panic! At the Disco, which sparked a conversation about mental health, while another student picked a song called “Cia Va Av” by Chenning Xiong. Schieberl leaned into the conversation and addressed topics as they came up. 

“After over twenty years of teaching, the idea of taking on a new challenge was refreshing to me,” Schieberl added.