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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2023 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


General Music: There’s Nothing “General” About It!


February 13-May 5, 2023

Course Code



2 Graduate Credits/3 Graduate Credits*


$1,140 for course 556B is due in full with registration. $1,065 for course 6823 is due in full with registration. A $15 Late Fee will be added beginning February 13.


Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Yawn-inducing labels like “general music”, “music appreciation”, and “specials” do a huge disservice to the astounding array of topics and activities possible in the modern day junior high classroom! You already bring your own unique strengths, interests, and resources to the classroom, as do your students. This collaborative and practical course will lay the foundation upon which you can create a customized, comprehensive educational experience which resonates with everyone who takes your class. 

This course is for anyone who is:

  • Looking for new lesson ideas and inspiration
  • Unsure of how to tie current activities together into a cohesive curriculum
  • Creating a program from scratch
  • New to, or considering, teaching middle school music
  • Struggling with student engagement
  • Tasked with writing curriculum for your school or district
  • Breathing 🙂

* This course is offered at two course levels. Students enrolled in the MMEd program at VanderCook are eligible to enroll for the 500 course number. Students not enrolled in the MMEd program who wish to earn graduate credit as a MECA Continuing Education student should register for the four digit course number. The difference in credits earned and tuition cost is attributed to the difference in tuition rates for the MMEd and MECA Continuing Education programs. If you are unsure which section is best for you, please contact us directly at [email protected]


Chat Session

Recommended, but not required: Feb 19, Mar 5, Mar 19, April 2, April 16, and April 30, 6:30-7:30pm CST



Required Text(s)

Middle School General Music: The Best Part Of Your Day, Second Edition, 

by Elizabeth Ann McAnally

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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Renée Burnett

Renée has an irrepressible passion for middle school music education. Originally from Minneapolis, she holds a Bachelor in Music Education degree from DePaul University and a Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook. She taught middle school music and choir in Orland Park, IL, for 27 years, building the district’s middle school program from the ground up. This required routinely overhauling the curriculum to incorporate advancements in technology and ever-changing trends in popular music. Her efforts resulted in the implementation of guitar and keyboard instruction throughout the district, with an emphasis on American music styles and songwriters. In addition, Renée greatly expanded the district choral program, directed elaborate musical productions, and co-facilitated highly creative fundraisers that helped make her vision a reality. Perhaps most significantly, she has mentored a great many panicked educators who were unexpectedly assigned to teach a music class. Renée currently teaches voice and directs shows at School of Rock in Oak Park, and provides private vocal coaching to students of every age and experience level.

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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