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virtual zoom conference with person singing into a microphone

WATCH: Recording of conference

(February 21, 2021) — “Lifehacks: Music at Home” was another successful event from HNU’s “Teachers and Parents as Education Co-Navigators” series. The virtual conference was a collaboration between the HNU School of Education, HNU Kodály Center, Oakland Youth Chorus, and other local community partners.

Ever since the transition from face-to-face instruction to an online format, educators and parents have been finding new techniques and music skills to keep students engaged. The conference brought together all these inspiring new ideas and learnings. 

Before participants separated into specialized breakout sessions (see full list below), Trey McLaughlin, the renowned keynote speaker, spoke about music and staying connected. 

McLaughlin is an international clinician, performer, honor choir director, music educator, and composer. He composes and performs original works and prolifically arranges covers with his own recording ensemble, “The Sounds of Zamar.” 

McLaughlin asked, “When we are faced with a global pandemic and the world is shifted from under our feet, what do we do?” He recommends that instead of falling into despair, we instead, rise above.

“Our musical experience is unique to each and every one of us, as is our taste in music, and as is our way of creatively expressing ourselves in music,” explained McLaughlin. “You need to figure out what you need to do to enrich your own life with music.”

McLaughlin reminded the audience of how music can do to help, “First and foremost, music is motivation. We all have that one playlist we listen to before we’re about to do something important or when we need something to cheer us up. Music can lift our spirits and keep us encouraged during difficult times in our lives.”

Throughout the pandemic, McLaughlin was inspired by other artists, groups, and musicians who maintained their collaboration virtually,  “Music is absolutely and positively inspirational. It allows other artists to show you their art, and you can use that inspiration to find innovative ways to stay involved and to involve others.”  

McLaughlin continued to explain how music is also unity, and he encouraged everyone to find ways to come together even though we cannot physically be together. “Lastly, music is love and it definitely opens a door for human empathy. Music can help bring people of all different cultural backgrounds or even people of different ages together. Music has the power to transport us from where we are to another place, but it also has the power to connect everyone all together.”

The event included the following breakout sessions:

  • “Favorite Songs & Games for Children” (grades K-8) presented by Rita A.
  • “Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo” (songs from the Philippines) presented by Tiffany Barry
  • “Love, Hope, & Belonging” (for parents & educators) presented by Minami Cohen
  • “Beatbox” (all ages) presented by Bryan Dryer
  • “Guitar Hacks for Beginners” (all ages) presented by Peter Gidlund
  • “Taiwanese & Mandarin Songs for Children” (grades K-5) presented by Vita Hsieh
  • “Children Songs of Peace” (K-5) (Gullah music) presented by Michelle Jacques
  • “Trauma-Responsive Music Collaborations” presented by Trevor Nicholas
  • “Find Your Voice” (all ages) presented by Emery Williams
  • “Musicalizando (Children songs from Colombia)” presented by Jessica Calderon
  • “Jack En Poy” (songs from the Philippines) presented by Tiffany Barry
  • “Sing, Play, Move” (for young children) presented by the HNU Team
  • “Music of Black History” presented by Rhonda Crane
  • “Circle Singing” (all ages) presented by Bryan Dryer
  • “Taiwanese & Mandarin Songs for Children” presented by Vita Hsieh
  • “Designing Rhythms & Reading Pitches” presented by Kevin Seal
  • “Building Collaborations in Music” presented by LaNell Martin
  • “Trauma-Responsive Music Collaborations” presented by Trevor Nicholas
  • “Take Note!” (grades 6+) – using online apps presented by Emery Williams
  • “Actions Songs for the Living Room” (K-5) presented by Eli Wise
  • “All the Feels” presented by SF Opera
  • “Clap, Sing, & Play Along” (English & Spanish songs) presented by Delia Zavala