From the President

by Jake Harkins

February 2024

Dear SongWorks Community, 

Spring is just around the corner! In a few short weeks the vibrant dance of amber, violet, and indigo flowers will be in bloom against the fresh emerald grass. The golden sun will shine early in the morning and longer into the evening, and with it the activities and patterns of the world around us will change. Whether we like it or not, our own little worlds will change, too. The world is growing, and so are we. 

I’m delighted to share that the SongWorks Educators Association is hosting a number of opportunities to grow this Spring and Summer! In this newsletter you will explore exciting details about our Spring Virtual Conference Series, glean insights into voice discovery from a SongWorks founding member, celebrate a number of SongWorks Educators’ presentations and workshops, and learn about our 2024 Summer Certification Courses.

Change—it’s a guarantee in life. Sometimes it happens when we least expect it, sometimes when we least desire, sometimes when we never knew we needed it. If we’re intentional, change has the potential to occur when we manifest it. How do we manifest change? We seek experiences that grow us. As humans, we’re designed to seek and engage in experiences that energize us. We enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend; we read a book by a favorite author. We seek experiences that expand us. We begin to learn a new piece of music; we try cooking a new delicious recipe. Experiences that energize and expand us—these experiences are what give us the feelings of satisfaction and success at the end of the day. When we make a habit of seeking change, seeking expansion, seeking what energizes us—we’re cultivating habits of seeking aesthetic growth. It’s a natural part of being human.   

Just as we create aesthetic growth for our personal lives, we can find ways to create an environment and interactions that nurture aesthetic growth in our music classrooms. At the SongWorks in Practice (SIP) session, “Cardinal Cornerstones: Part 3,” I shared some short reflections on aesthetic growth, weaving the neuroscience and research of energizing changes in life, and applications for our classrooms and teaching practices using the SongWorks approach. I invite you to watch an edited version of these reflections (below). SWEA members can access the full recordings to that SIP Season (nearly five hours of content) which includes SongWorks Certification Faculty unfolding lessons that put these ideas into practice. As they so masterfully model, there is a strength to be discovered—for both students and teachers—from developing a habit of seeking aesthetic growth.

In these last few months of the school year, I encourage you to embrace aesthetic growth, personally and professionally. Fill your life, including your teaching, with things that bring you energy. Throughout this school year you’ve been planting seeds; now it’s time to bloom. Do the things you find joy in, and do with them with love.

It has been a pleasure and honor to serve SWEA as your President. I look forward to the bright future of our organization and our leadership in music education.


Jake Harkins
President, SongWorks Educators Association 

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