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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Summer 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Culturally Responsive SEL in Your Choral/General Music Classroom


June 10-August 2, 2024

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits*


$1,125 is due in full with registration.


This course is not your every day class on social and emotional learning (SEL). Get ready to dive deeper into how our general and choral music classrooms are gateways for both teacher and student to find identity, belonging, and agency. In this class, there will be discussion of topics such as: 

  • Foundational understanding of social and emotional learning for both the teacher and students
  • Elements of culturally responsive teaching specifically for the music classroom and going beyond “diversifying” curriculum 
  • Teacher positionality and philosophies
  • Introduction to transformative social and emotional learning’s effect in music learning 
  • Approaches to co-creating student-centered material and experiences 

The course will consist of reading texts and supplemental material, participating in discussions, engaging in personal reflections, and producing practical and meaningful projects that will challenge you to guide your students to be future change-makers in their communities. 

*Students enrolled in the MMEd degree program at VanderCook may register for this course at the 500-level through the student portal. Please contact Dean Sinclair at [email protected] if academic advising is needed.


Chat Session

This course is asynchronous with optional chat sessions determined by student needs and availability.



Required Text(s)

  • Required Text: Culturally Responsive Teaching in Music Education 
  • Required Text: Portraits of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning
  • Recommended Text: Culturally Responsive Choral Music Education

Learning Platform Information (Online Courses Only)

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


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Darlene Machacon

Darlene Machacon (she/her) is a high school choral director and piano/music theory instructor in Orange County, California. Previously an elementary general and choral music teacher, she has held the position of department chair, honor choir director and mentor to pre-service and early-career teachers. In 2022, Darlene became a national recipient of the Music Teacher of Excellence award from the CMA Foundation. In addition to teaching and training, Darlene is an active presenter and social media content creator (@thedarlingmusicteacher). She is a member of the ArtsEdSEL Practice Advisory Board, F-Flat Books Visionary Board, and the Social and Emotional Learning team for Music for All. She is also one of 15 national teacher leaders working for the National Association of Music Education (NAfME) and Connected Arts Network (CAN) to draw connections between musical social emotional learning (SEL) and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) for professional learning communities. Darlene focuses her work on challenging the status quo of music education, fusing elements of SEL, culturally responsive teaching and anti-bias/anti-racist approaches. Darlene holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from Biola University and a Master’s degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. When she’s not working, she loves trying out new restaurants in the area and strolling around Disneyland with her husband.
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Chicago, IL 60616-3731
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The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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