About SongWorks

What is SongWorks?

SongWorks is an international network of educators. Activities of this organization are built on the premise that students should be at the center of and actively involved in the study at hand. Music and music activities become the catalyst through which this happens. Teachers at every level of the educational field from early childhood through university, classroom and music teachers alike contribute and gain insight through this network of educators.

Leadership of SongWorks

Officers

President:  Taryn Raschdorf, VA
President-Elect:  Max Mellman, NJ
President-Elect Apprentice:  Vicky Suarez, TX
Past President:  Ruthanne Parker, PA
Secretary:  Betty Phillips, OR
Treasurer:  Anna Langness, CO
Registrar:  Alice Nordquist, MD
Grants Administrator:  Emilee Knell, UT

Directors

Jake Harkins, VA
Beth Cain, AZ
Mary Stockum, CO
Yoshie Kaneko, Japan
Kate Smith, Canada

Committees

2017 Conference Chair:  Taryn Raschdorf, VA
Website Chair:  Pam Vellutini, OR
Communications Chair:  Lisa Schoen, MN
Grants/Scholarships Chair:  Emilee Knell, UT
Newsletter Editor:  Jake E. Harkins, VA
Academic Coordinator:  Leah Steffen, MN
Emerging Pioneers Coordinator:  Sammi Smith, OH
Emerging Pioneers Advisor:  Peggy Bennett, MT

The Origins of SongWorks

Following a 20-year association with Mary Helen Richards’ work, Education Through Music, SongWorks was incorporated in 1992. “English EdVentures” of Japan became affiliated with SongWorks in 1995. We believe that Mary Helen’s enthusiasm for teaching and playing with children, her compassionate approach, and her attention to musicality are evident throughout the work of SongWorks.

Our Purpose

The purpose of SongWorks is to search for and practice ways of making music and interacting with people that preserve and celebrate the dignity of both. As a guiding principle, this purpose will focus our work on:

  1. Practices that foster interactive, facilitative learning environments.
  2. Strategies that empower the learner within the context of music experience and study.
  3. Networks that encourage collaboration between diverse disciplines, professionals, and interest groups.

Our Principles of Teaching and Learning (SongWorks I)

  1. Students have the right to be treated with respect and dignity for their ideas, skills and stages of development. (Video)
  2. Students deserve an engaging learning environment in which they feel safe enough to demonstrate freely their understandings and skills through various types of participation.
  3. Student learning is the responsibility of both teachers and students.
  4. Learning is holistic and constructive.
  5. A teachers attitudes, behaviors, and methodologies should be compatible.
  6. Accurate and constructive feedback helps students become independent learners.
  7. Quality of life is enriched through music and singing.

Our Principles of Teaching and Learning Music (SongWorks II) (Video)

  1. The major goal of music study is the development of a responsiveness to music.
  2. The musicality that is critical to music performance is just as important in music study.
  3. The fundamental skill in music behavior is listening.
  4. The way music sounds rather than how it looks guides the selection and presentation of patterns for study.
  5. A distinction exists between skills and concepts that are musically easy and those that are musically simple. (Video)
  6. Song provides direct involvement for making music and studying sound relationships.

More About SongWorks and SongWorks

During SongWorks activities, also known as SongWorks, learning often takes place in the form of singing games. The games provide the context for student immersion in social interaction, movement, language, thinking, listening, and music. Singing activities are designed to be engaging and enjoyable, and at the same time they provide groundwork for serious progressive study and skill development. Challenges that elicit maximum responsiveness from students are constructed by the teacher and provided through the singing games. (Video)

  1. Bennett P. D. & Bartholomew, D.R. (1997). SongWorks I: Singing in the education of children. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
  2. Bennett P. D. & Bartholomew, D.R. (1999). SongWorks II: Singing from sound to symbol. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

History of SongWorks

History of SongWorks by Peggy Bennett – SongWorks Newsletters, October 2008, December 2008, January 2009, May 2009, & September 2009.

President’s Letter SongWorks Newsletter, April 2010
The MHR Collection at UNL by Peggy Bennett – SongWorks Newsletter, September 2009.