What We Do

Pedagogical Approach

MeMA-Music believes integrating the arts into everyday learning is a critical component of a well-rounded and holistic education for young people. We offer a stimulating and engaging arts-integrated and project-based academic program grounded in social justice for young people ages 13-19, of all backgrounds and abilities. Students activate their minds and spirits by bonding with one another through the power of music and creative arts. Our diverse and equitable curricula include music, art, literature, stories, history, and individuals from various ethnic backgrounds that help students feel connected and engaged. Our program unit, Voice Your Soul, makes history come alive and allows students to make connections to different themes through the power of music.


Our partnership role is to support the teacher’s success in delivering high-quality arts-integrated programs that provide equitable educational opportunities for students. Our program is not meant to replace traditional curricula, but to supplement and enrich classroom lessons and allow students to make meaningful connections between subject areas. By integrating and expanding daily curriculum, aligned to meet State and Common Core standards, MEMA-Music provides educational materials and resources to collaborate with teachers on using our methodology in the classroom. MeMA works together with teachers to establish clear instructional goals and outcomes. Our program model can be adjusted to fit student needs and teacher expectations. Our residency consist of 25 sessions, plus a culminating event—a showcase of student-created social justice projects, including visiting professional teaching artists to mentor students with their final projects.
In the first part of the unit, students increase their knowledge of how people have protested injustice in the past and present by analyzing texts—song lyrics, videos, social media posts, news, and other mentor texts—to determine the intended message and meaning, and what makes the content uniquely powerful. Legendary songs of the ’60s-’70s will be a mentor text for how music can be more than entertainment, but a platform for social commentary and change. Other forms of protest—marches, walkouts, sit-ins—will provide students with a broader understanding of how you can peacefully communicate your message about injustice. Students will learn what makes a message powerful and consider how they can craft their own message of change.
In the second part of the unit, students will apply what they have learned about social justice issues and protests of the past and present, and create a social justice project in groups or individually. The culminating project will challenge students to integrate what they know and can do in language arts, social studies, technology, and civics to voice their own position on an issue of their choice, support their position with research-based evidence, and present it in a compelling way that makes others in their school community care and want to get involved. Students create their culminating social justice project using various forms of media such as technology, film, visual art, creative writing—songs, rap, poetry, stories—dramatic skits, and more. Students work with role models and mentors in the music industry, art, multimedia, and other fields, providing professional guidance as they discover their voice and ideas. Rigorous standards-based expectations will apply to all projects, while students will also have the freedom to develop a format that draws on their own interests, strengths, and experiences.
Time for students to shine! Student-created projects are presented en masse as a student showcase in the school auditorium, giving students a chance to feel proud of their accomplishments. Classmates, teachers, parents, and the community are invited, attendees. Reflections and self-assessment of the effectiveness of their project will increase students’ self-awareness of their strengths and areas of growth within the integrated content areas in the unit.
Our unit includes the following resources: Lesson activities and projects, rubrics, graphic organizers and assessments, videos, mp3 songs, song lyrics, additional primary/secondary sources such as historical speeches, news clips, charts/graphs, social media posts, and current event information, and lavalier mics for projects. These tools mix learning with creativity, getting students to work in teams, share ideas, give and take feedback, analyze and annotate, brainstorm, make cool projects, and be themselves!