Meet our teacher, Nicole Guimaraes, of Mount Daniel Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia. She teaches music to kids in kindergarten through second grade.
Ms. Guimaraes always had a passion for teaching and has been at it now for over eight years!
But in 2017, she found herself struggling with her middle school general music class when she heard about a free professional development course. Thinking that it might provide the key to reaching her students, she jumped at the opportunity and drove over an hour to her first Modern Band 101 workshop hosted by Music Will. Ms. Guimaraes immediately started applying the hip-hop resources and other tools she had learned in her classroom, and it resulted in an instant connection with the students. She knew she had found the right path for herself and her students.
That very same year, her students started writing their own songs and submitted their work to the Music Will Songwriting Contest. Three of Ms. Guimaraes’ students ended up winning the contest!
“I will never forget telling those three girls that they won,” she says. “They all started crying, they were so happy. It was such a special moment.”
Ms. Guimaraes finds that one of the most amazing things about teaching music is that it allows students who may not shine academically in other classes to stand out. At her students’ last concert, there were some student soloists who performed, and their teachers were blown away by them because they had not been expecting to see those specific students in front of the ensemble. “We even made our guidance counselor cry (happy tears, of course)!” she recalls.
Ms. Guimaraes’ unique approach to teaching involves creating most of her own lessons. She also doesn’t give her young kids “bad grades” because she believes it creates a negative association with music – which is not her goal.
“I truly believe that if my kids leave second grade loving music, I have done my job. They can learn the technical skills later,” Ms. Guimaraes explains.
Her impact on her students becomes abundantly clear when she realizes that she can’t think of a single kid in her school who doesn’t enjoy attending music class. “To me, that is everything.”
You can follow what her students are up to in the classroom on Twitter, @mrs_guimaraes. If you would like to learn more about our Modern Band workshops, check out our professional development calendar.
Thank you for all that you do to change the lives of your students, Ms. Guimaraes! We are so grateful to have such dedicated teachers like you in our community.