Chelsea Sardoni and Ashley Cuthbertson: Questions About Culturally Responsive Teaching in Music | S03E02

When Chelsea Sardoni, an elementary generalist reached out to Missy with a series of questions relating to Culturally Responsive Teaching, Missy knew right away who to look to for insight. Listen in to this interesting and instructive conversation between Chelsea, Missy, and Music Teacher and Educational Consultant Ashley Cuthbertson!

Ashley Cuthbertson (she/her) is the Founder & CEO of A. Cuthbertson Consulting, LLC, an educational consulting firm that partners with schools, school districts, and organizations to help music educators build and maintain high quality music programs that attract, engage, and retain music students by centering equitable and culturally responsive pedagogical practices in their music curriculum & instruction.

 A Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Ashley holds a Master’s in Education, as well as certifications in the Kodály approach and Arts integration. Ashley has over twelve years of experience in education as an elementary general music & choral educator, an elementary band educator, a K-12 musicianship instructor, a private lessons instructor, lead teacher, new teacher coach, adjunct professor, and consultant.

 A passionate advocate for music education, Ashley additionally serves the National Association for Music Education as a member of the Repertoire Diversity Task Force and the Virginia Music Educators Association as chair of the DEI Council.

Learn more at:

“Happy Birthday, Dr. King! A Music Unit Featuring Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday (Blog Article & Full Unit Plan with Lessons & Accompanying Resources)

Chelsea Sardoni is an elementary general music teacher in Massachusetts. She currently teaches grades 1-5 and also is a conductor for the South Shore Children’s Chorus. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for self expression and exploration. Chelsea works to design instruction that is culturally relevant beyond diverse repertoire choices. She initially reached out to Missy to dive deeper into this journey to better herself and her learning communities.

Music and Connection: Donovan Taylor Hall | S03E01


Youth Advocate Donovan Taylor Hall and Missy collide like a supernova in this Season 3 opener. What was supposed to be a conversation about Donovan’s work helping kids develop a true growth mindset turned into 2 people connecting on multiple levels and having an incredibly real conversation about working with kids, being educators, learning how to learn, and the power and place of music in Donovan’s life. This one is not to be missed!

Donovan Taylor Hall is a youth advocate and educator that teaches kids how to build positive self-identity. He has been featured on the Today Show, NowThis, DailyMailTV, and several podcasts to discuss the importance of positive youth development. Donovan teaches his self-skills curriculum through coaching, speeches, and online content.

Donovan’s Website:

The Today Show Interview:


Short Film “Sleepwalking in the Rift” featuring Dan Romer’s music:

The Great Return – Thoughts on the 2021-22 School Year Pt. 2 | S02E14


Listen in to Part 2 of the discussion between Guest Host Jasmine Fripp and Kelsey Burkett and Dr. Chantae Pittman. In this episode they discuss what it was like helping singers with the realities of in person choir rehearsals, performances, and competitions. They also take time to evaluate their perspectives on the current state of things for Black music educators as well as the “great exodus” of educators in the past year.

The Great Return – Thoughts on the 2021-22 School Year Pt. 1 | S02E13


Fellow music educators, it’s been one HECK OF A YEAR! We’ve dealt with the ebbs and flows of COVID, reestablishing excellence in our music programs, rebuilding culture in our classrooms, helping students repair their mental health, fighting teacher burnout, and watching our colleagues join “The Mass Exodus of Educators,” mending our hearts from traumatic events in our country, and fighting for an equitably-active education. Join three beautiful, highly-qualified music educators, Jasmine Fripp, Dr. Chantae Pittman, and Kelsey Burkett, as they give their honest opinions regarding the 2021-2022 school year.

Jasmine Fripp is a Grammy-nominated music educator and the founder of Passionate Educators, Inc. With seven years of teaching experience in public and charter schools, she has built award-winning choral programs and provided Black and Brown students with various opportunities to excel within and outside the world of music.

Passionate Educators, Inc. encourages and empowers music educators of all cultural backgrounds to create classroom environments that promote anti-racism, solidarity, and wellness.


Dr. Chantae D. Pittman is the Director of Choral Activities at Campbell High School in Smyrna,GA in the Cobb County School District, and adjunct professor at Georgia College and State University. Dr. Pittman is passionate about all forms of music. She is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University having received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 2010. She has since earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education at VanderCook College University (Chicago, IL, 2013). In May 2021 Dr. Pittman graduated from The University of Georgia where she completed her Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Choral Music Education.

During her 12-year career in choral music education she has taught students from elementary through high school. Due to that experience, and her demonstrated commitment to excellence in performance, she is highly respected as a choral clinician, music education consultant, instructor, grant writer, and adjudicator. She is very active as a soprano soloist and choral musician as a member of the Grammy award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus since 2011, and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus since 2020. Having performed with orchestras, choirs, and small vocal ensembles throughout her career as a musician, Dr. Pittman proudly continues to learn, grow, and develop as a musician and pedagogue. She is a proud and active member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), National Educators Association (NEA), Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), Sigma Alpha Iota, Professional Music Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Raised in Solon, OH, Kelsey D. Burkett is a 2006 Graduate of Capital University, where she majored in Music Education and served as the alto section leader in the renown Chapel Choir.  She completed her Masters of Music in Music Education and Kodaly Certification from Capital University in 2019. In her 17th year of teaching, she has a passion for the developing voice and middle school singers. She serves as the Director of Choirs at Hilliard Memorial Middle School, in Hilliard, Ohio, where she directs the 7th Grade Treble Choir and 8th Grade Treble Choir. Alongside Jeremy Witt and Alyssa Schott, she also directs the Jaguar A Cappella Program, which consists of four contemporary a cappella groups comprised of singers in the 7-12 grade levels at Hilliard Bradley High School & Hilliard Memorial Middle School.  She is co-director of Bradley High School’s premier Contemporary A Cappella Group, Shades of Blue, who have performed at the National A Cappella Convention and have consistently placed in the Quarterfinals and Semi Finals of the ICHSA Varsity Vocals circuit.

Ms. Burkett is a warrior for Social Justice within her community, and recently co-founded the Hilliard BIPOC Alliance, for her coworkers of color within the Hilliard City School District, working for change within and outside of their classrooms.  Recently, she co-presented as part of the OCDA Virtual Series “New Directions” on the Decolonization of Choral Ensembles.  She also serves as the South-Central Region Chair for the Ohio Choral Director’s Association.

In March 2020, Ms. Burkett was selected as one of 10 educators from across the United States as a Country Music Association Music Teachers of Excellence.  She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Ohio Music Education Association, and the Organization of American Kodaly Educators.  She lives in Columbus with her 3-year-old daughter, Harper, and their cat, Phil.

Dr. Krissy Doyle-Thomas: Everyday Neuroscience for Music Teachers | S02E12


Canadian neuroscientist Dr. Krissy Doyle-Thomas talks with Missy about music and the brain, and touch on the importance of neuroplasticity in learning. They also discuss the tremendous stress under which many educators find themselves, with Dr. Krissy offering a few powerful, practical steps to help teachers protect their overall mental well-being.

Dr. Krissy Doyle-Thomas (Ph.D.) is a Medical Neuroscientist and Professor in Toronto, Canada. She is an expert in medical conditions that affect the brain and mental health. She has received several prestigious fellowships including fellowships from the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada. Dr. Krissy’s research has been published in numerous high impact peer-reviewed journals and presented nationally and internationally to both academic and non-academic audiences. Dr. Krissy has been celebrated as one of Canada’s top 150 black women who excels within her field.

Dr. Krissy is passionate about helping people maximize their potential as it relates to understanding how the brain works. She is committed to translating scientific research into meaningful information that can help communities live healthy, mindful lives.



Dr. Doyle Thomas’ Instagram:



Karen Howard: So Now What? Going Beyond Performative Allyship | S02E11


Tune in to hear Dr. Karen Howard, the very first guest on Music Ed Amplified, talk about what has happened in Music Ed since their first interview in 2020 when it comes to decentering whiteness. We have more DEI committee’s than ever, but have we made real gains in these areas in our music classrooms and what can we do to keep moving forward as a profession?

Karen Howard is Associate Professor of Music at the University of St. Thomas. She teaches courses in global music traditions that emphasize marginalized and underrepresented cultures, transforming music education curricula, research methods, children’s music, and vocal/choral music.

Karen’s research has been published in the Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, and Music Educators Journal. Her books include World Music Pedagogy Vol III: Secondary School Innovations, First Steps in Global Music, and Dance Like a Butterfly: Songs from Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana. Karen is the editor of the newly created series World Music Initiative (WMI) through GIA Music. While all music is music of the world, WMI is focused on uplifting underrepresented traditions in music education.

Karen is a frequent presenter on matters of diversity in curriculum, anti-racism in music education, and performance practices from multiple cultures. She is also one of the facilitators of the Smithsonian Folkways (SFW) Certificate in World Music Pedagogy as well as part of the Education Advisory Committee for SFW.


Mentioned in the Episode

Cultural Connections by Design:

Decolonizing the Music Room:

Passionate Black Educator (Jasmine Fripp) Facebook Page:

Learning for Justice:

Smithsonian World Music Pathways Summer 2022 Course

GIA Publications:


Voice Collectors:

Harambee! Songs and Games from Tanzania:

Alice Hammel: Connecting with Autistic Students in the Music Room | S02E10


Does the thought of working with Autistic students make you uneasy, or do you feel lost knowing how best to serve this population in your school? Join Missy as she speaks with Dr. Alice Hammel about how to forge true connection with these students, especially in the context of a self-contained classroom.

Dr. Alice Hammel, Virginia Music Educator Association Outstanding Educator (2018) and current President of the Virginia Music Educators Association, is a widely known music educator, author, and clinician whose experience in music is extraordinarily diverse. She is a member of the faculty of James Madison University, and has many years of experience teaching instrumental and choral music in public and private schools.
Dr. Hammel has put these varied experiences to great use while compiling a large body of scholarly work. She is a co-author for four texts: Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach, Teaching Music to Students with Autism, Winding It Back: Teaching to Individual Differences in Music Classroom and Ensemble Settings, and Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Practical Resource. Dr. Hammel is Past-President of the Council for Exceptional Children – Division for Visual and Performing Arts Education.

Dr. Hammel’s Books:

Mentioned in the Episode:

Whachu Think, Sis? Three Black Women’s Perspectives on the Current State of Music Education: Part 2 | S02E09

Part 2 of the conversation with Maria A. Ellis (Girl Conductor), Jasmine Fripp (The Passionate Black Educator), and Karla Bell (The Graceful Educator) as they talk honestly about what is going on in music education, especially when it comes to issues of diversity, equity, and antiracist practices.

Whachu Think, Sis? Three Black Women’s Perspectives on the Current State of Music Education: Part 1 | S02E08


Listen in on a conversation with 3 powerhouse music educators: Jasmine Fripp (The Passionate Black Educator), Maria A. Ellis (Girlconductor), and Karla Bell (The Graceful Educator) as they talk honestly about what is going on in music education.


Karla Bell, The Graceful Educator, is a veteran Music educator, serving more than 15 years in diverse settings, serving grades Kindergarten through 12th grade and post-secondary education. She currently serves as the Choral Director William Penn High School in Colonial School District in New Castle, Delaware. She is a mentor and teacher’s teacher. Using equity, anti-racist, and trauma-informed lenses, she facilitates graceful learning spaces for scholars and empowers fellow educators to do the same. Karla believes in the gifting and potential of every person she encounters. She is a catalyst. Her passion is removing barriers for uninhibited access to opportunity and laying a strong foundation for present and future generations. She leads and serves on equity and curriculum teams and facilitates professional development at the school, district, and state levels.

The Graceful Educator Website:

Maria A. Ellis is a very passionate music educator and choral conductor. She currently serves as the Director of The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus and is the host of Bach and Beyoncé – The Radio Show on Classic 107.3 FM The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis, MO.  Maria is an active clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the United States and abroad.  Maria holds a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She has served as a host for The St. Louis Symphony’s Link Up Program, The Community Engagement Manager for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs and an Ensemble Director for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs new Virtual Chorus. Maria is the Repertoire and Resource Chair of Inclusivity for the Missouri Choral Directors Association.  She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Educators, Missouri Alliance for Arts Education and holds Level 3 Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education. Maria is the owner of Girl Conductor LLC which provides diverse music education resources.

Maria’s Website:

Jasmine Fripp is the founder of The Passionate Black Educator (PBE), an organization that advocates for Black and Brown students by providing opportunities to learn and advance through music, fine arts, and education. PBE empowers current and future educators of all cultural backgrounds and career fields to create classroom environments where teaching is effective, all cultures are celebrated within the curriculum, and solidarity is mandatory. Jasmine also serves as Director of Choral Activities and General Music Instructor at KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School.
Jasmine’s Solidarity Superheroes page on Facebook:
Additional links to resources/people mentioned in the show:

Otto Gross Productions:
Fiverr (where you can “hire” someone online to score something for you):
Hanif Fazal’s Instagram:
Website The Center for Equity and Inclusion

Elise Hackl-Blumstein: Accessibility in the Music Room | S02E07

Have you struggled when it comes to making sure that all learners in your classroom have equal access to your instruction? This conversation between Missy and Elise is a great starting point for you- listen to Elise talk about Universal Design for Learning and how it can transform your program and learn about how it goes hand in hand with Social Emotional Learning.

Elise Hackl (she/her) is a neurodivergent accessible music teacher & accessibility coach in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, working with neurodiverse individuals from preschool through adulthood. Elise is a proud alum of Illinois State University (BS in Music and Special Education ’14), Concordia University Chicago (MA ’17, MMEd with Principal Certification ’22), and Wichita State University (MME ’19). Elise’s main focus in her research is training and preparation for accessible classrooms. In 2018, Elise was nominated for the Illinois State Board of Education ‘Those Who Excel’ Teacher of the Year program, receiving an award of merit.

Elise has presented multiple sessions at NAfME, ACDA conferences, and has served as a featured guest on many podcasts. Her contributions can be found in music journals around the Midwest as well as printed work with Music ConstructED and F-flat Books. Elise has also contributed chapters for the GIA book Portraits of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning (edited by Scott Edgar, published in 2021), and for the Oxford University Press resource Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Practical Resource (by Alice Hammel & Ryan Hourigan, published in 2017). Elise currently serves as the director of the International Championships of High School (ICHSA) and judge of Collegiate a Cappella. In order to help make music more accessible for all, Elise has an accessible music store designed with financial and neuro/physical diversity in mind ( and often shares lessons and activities on her teacher instagram page @accessiblemusicroom.

Accessible music store (lots of freebies):
Instagram:  @accessiblemusicroom
Elise’s Reccomendations: