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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2023 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


The Way of Music – Creating Sound Connections in the Music Room


February 13-May 5, 2023

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits


$1,065 is due in full with registration. A $15 Late Fee will be added beginning February 13.


Music educators gain new mastery in the creativity and community of music making. Many, if not most, music educators feel they lack the training and experience to confidently and skillfully
use improvisation techniques and strategies to meet the musical and personal goals of their students. This course addresses that need and provides a “more than music” skillset that supports teachers and students. Improvisation techniques are applied to group music making as a way of creating, enhancing, and supporting interpersonal relationships, Such as active listening, empathy, validation, leadership, risk taking, mindfulness and creativity. A unique improvisation-based approach is explored as a means for identifying, validating, and supporting
social and emotional goals and as a tool for self-awareness and relationship building–all within the context of music making.

After completing this course students will:

  • have a greater capacity for music improvisation, at all stages of the musical journey.
  • be better able to recognize and use improvisation techniques for building musical and interpersonal
  • identify and use facilitative techniques to identify and manage a variety of conditions and relationships
    among and between students.
  • have a better understanding of the psycho-social implications of musical relationships and how those
    can be leveraged in one’s personal life in the form of self-care and care of others.


  1. Music improvisation techniques and “experientials.” Students explore simple concepts to build an
    improvisation vocabulary and increase capacity and confidence.
  2. Musical Relationship building and applications. Students focus on techniques of organization,
    structure, empathy, redirection, bonding, and more.
  3. Facilitative techniques for moving beyond music. Students apply music improvisation as a means for
    creating opportunities for connection, expression, sharing, and support.


Chat Session

This course is asynchronous with weekly Zoom meetings as support. (Tuesday evenings 7-7:30 pm Pacific Time)


Music degree and proficiency on at least one instrument (or voice)

Required Text(s)

The Way of Music – Creating Sound Connections in Music Therapy (Sarsen

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).



Kalani Das

Kalani Das, MT-BC, is an Orff-certified music educator, board-certified music therapist, and professional musician who has worked with the likes of Yanni, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, and Kenny Loggins. He is the author of over 12 books, numerous audio and video resources, and directs and produces the World Drum Club and Ukulele Club YouTube channels. As a long-time ukulele player and teacher, he recently published the Ukulele Club Multimedia Resource for music educators. He is a frequently requested presenter at music education conferences and workshops, and is Director of Golden State Music Therapy in Los Angeles. Find out more at

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.

© 2023 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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