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Music Education Impact

Why this matters

music educators are inspiration catalysts

Music educators are everything. The lifelong habit of singing is likely to come to life thanks to a great music educator who creates unforgettable singing experiences for young people. Singing has a ripple effect on overall school participation and attendance, critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem-solving.

Even though music educators and their students are under immense budget pressures and waning social support, barbershop has the power and the Barbershop Harmony Society has the resources to uplift that music educator directly for greater harmony in their classroom.

Education funding and priorities

Vocal music programs in the schools are under intense budgetary pressures. In the U.S., more than 1.3 million elementary students fail to receive any music instruction. Kids everywhere are missing out; underserved populations, including students of color, urban communities, and rural settings, are disproportionately deprived of this critical part of a well-rounded education.

It’s confounding, because studies show school music programs engage students by improving their overall participation and attendance, and encouraging critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem-solving. And can set them up to sing for life.

Pressures on young men discourage singing

Studies show that social pressure, lack of support from peers, and even the simple reality of a changing voice can make singing a risky choice for young men—not an easy thing for adolescents who may already feel insecure. The result: by high school, young women singers outnumber young men by as much as five to two. That in turn makes singing still less acceptable to peer-conscious young men, and so on, and makes it harder for the music educator to find young men to sing in their choral program.

How we make it happen

Helping educators leverage barbershop in the classroom

CHORUS - youth Chandler

Using barbershop in the classroom can be the vital first step to empowering the music educator and reinvigorating that choral music program. Music educators who discover and adopt barbershop are amazed at the depth and breadth of resources we offer, and how quickly barbershop can bring new life to their programs.

We support them in many ways:

  • We make direct investments in the growth of music educators through scholarship programs and Continuing Education Units that each year give more than 350 music educators the tools they need to grow barbershop programs at all levels.
  • We provide classroom curriculum in the free Music Educators Guide that walks choral directors through barbershop basics and gets kids singing close harmony.
  • We meet thousands of music educators face to face as presenters, performers and clinicians at the big events of our peers who advocate for educators: American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the National Association of teachers of Singing (NATS).

We make it easy for music educators

Every choir room is different, and every educator unique. A busy teacher needs to be able to engage all students. No worries, because we offer:

  • Music that fits all voices, whether SSAA, SATB, or TTBB, so educators have options for all students. Particularly with the challenge of changing male voices, our broad spectrum of arrangements gives great flexibility.
  • Music ranging from the simplest close harmony to the toughest BHS International champ-level charts.
  • Quick tastes in the form of tags that give immediate satisfaction.
  • Extensive and high-quality YouTube videos to inspire and fire up the students.

We give their students something to work towards

  • Students respond to challenges: a concert, a contest, a trip. We offer all three in our Next Generation Barbershop Program with chorus festivals and quartet contests that are open to every combination of men’s, women’s, and mixed voices.
  • We offer student scholarships to our major education events, too, where they can meet the best of barbershop performers and other students who share their passion for harmony.

Our impact

We know educators put barbershop to work in their classrooms

Harmony University (HU) is a week-long immersive experience where the Barbershop Harmony Society faculty and staff walk music educators through a customized track for implementing barbershop in the classroom.

“Harmony University is a mountaintop experience with the finest faculty I have ever experienced.”

— 2019 HU Attendee
  • Over 96% of music educators participating at HU implement barbershop techniques in their classroom, like rehearsal techniques and vocal pedagogy.
  • 95% of music educators who attend Harmony University walk away excited about the tools they’ve gained to increase the quality of their chorus or music program.
  • Over 70% of the music educators that attend Harmony University join an online cohort of other music educators across the world to connect with after the program

Your gift helps music educators fire up their students

When you make a gift, we can:

  • Underwrite scholarships for the Music Educators track at Harmony University, to incentivize professional development and deliver CEUs to the classroom magicians who inspire young singers.
  • Arrange more new music directed at the junior and high school classroom, voiced for the specific needs of young singers.
  • Expand partnerships with the professional music associations, the “gatekeepers” whose endorsement of barbershop gives teachers confidence in trying it.
  • Connect more kids to each other at the Next Generation Barbershop festivals and contests