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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Pass the Baton: Empowering All Music Students: Book Study


February 12-May 3, 2024

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,125 is due in full with registration. A $15 Early Bird Discount will be applied until January 14.


Every student deserves to take ownership of their musical learning journey! This book study, Pass the Baton: Empowering All Music Students, will guide music educators in understanding the importance of student empowerment and provide practical strategies to integrate this mindset into existing lesson plans, programs and traditions. Together with the authors of the book, Kathryn Finch and Theresa Hoover, participants will build on strengths and current teaching practices to create a more learner-centered experience where students actively engage in the creative process, discovering their unique voices, interests, and choices. Through activities, discussions, and personalized guidance from the authors, participants will be equipped to curate a dynamic classroom setting where students take a proactive role in shaping their musical experiences, thus bolstering their artistic growth and expression.


Chat Session

Students should attend 4 chat sessions on Zoom. The first chat session will be Sunday, February 25th at 6pm CST. The following chat sessions will be determined by the class participants once the course begins.



Required Text(s)

Pass the Baton: Empowering All Music Students, by Kathryn Finch and Theresa Hoover (available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most book retailers. Also available as a Kindle ebook through Amazon.)

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).


Theresa Hoover Headshot 800x800 1

Theresa Hoover

MECA Faculty

Theresa Hoover is a musician, educator, and author. She is an advocate for student voice in the music room and helps teachers empower students throughout their musical experiences by transforming their classrooms into student-centered learning environments. Theresa has taught instrumental, general, and vocal music in a variety of settings, most recently teaching middle school band in Northern Virginia. Prior to that, she taught for 14 years in Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Penn State University and a master’s degree in wind conducting from West Chester University, both in Pennsylvania. In the fall, Theresa will begin working toward a PhD in Music Learning and Teaching at Arizona State University. Theresa is a recognized presenter and clinician at local, regional, and national level conferences, including the International Music Education Summit, the Virginia Society for Technology in Education, and several state music education conferences. She is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and was selected as a member of the Google Certified Innovator program, participating in the London 2019 cohort. Theresa’s passion for supporting music teachers in using Google Workspace for Education has extended into popular graduate courses at the University of the Arts and other universities. She is also the Technology Editor and committee chair for Women Band Directors International. In addition to her school teaching, Theresa served as the founding director of the Chester County Youth Wind Ensemble and is currently on staff of the Virginia Winds Academy. She has also been the guest conductor for several elementary and middle school ensembles in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Theresa is the author of Empowering Ensembles With Technology, published by F-flat Books, and the co-author of Pass the Baton: Empowering All Music Students, published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Her writing has been featured on several online publications including her own blog, Off the Beaten Path: A Music Teacher’s Journey When not teaching, you can find Theresa curled up with a good book, on the running trail, traveling to visit family and friends, or spending time with her dog, Dizzy.

Kathryn Finch (1)

Kathryn Finch

MECA Faculty

Kathryn Finch has twenty-plus years of experience in the elementary general music classroom and currently teaches in Northbrook, IL. She speaks passionately about the shift in music education from teacher-led to student-led activities. She focuses on practical ways music educators can transform their classrooms to empower their students to own their learning. Kathryn co-authored the book, Pass the Baton: Empowering All Music Students as well as two other teaching resources, Full STEAM Ahead: Lessons to shift instruction, empower students, and transform your music classroom and Everyone Loves a Story: Bringing books to life through music. 

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