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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Upbeat! Mindset, Mindfulness, and Leadership in Music Education and Beyond


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.


This course is a practical, reflective, and community-building book study of Upbeat! Mindset, Mindfulness, and Leadership in Music Education and Beyond (GIA Publications) with the author Dr. Matthew Arau. Educators will have the opportunity to engage with meaningful topics that can elevate their quality of life and personal fulfillment while raising the wellbeing and success of their students through creating a compassionate and inclusive culture. Divided into three parts—Ignite, Inspire, and Lead—Upbeat! takes readers on a journey from internal self-reflection to outward expressions of leadership, with chapters addressing such topics as:

• Mindfulness

• Self-care for mental and physical wellness

• The transformative power of positivity and gratitude

• Growth mindset in the classroom

• Mindful breathing and listening in an ensemble setting

• Fostering an inclusive culture of excellence and connection

• The essential qualities of an effective leader

• Integrating social and emotional learning into the music classroom and ensemble

• How to develop a thriving student leadership program


The course will consist of reading, discussions, meditation, virtual chat sessions, supplemental material, and practical projects to work for your personal life and for the students and classes that you teach. Developing a personal mindfulness, mindset, and wellness plan, applying the strategies in the book in your classroom, and reflecting on the book’s journal questions will ensure that Upbeat! goes beyond just being a book that you read and positively transforms how you live, lead, and teach.

Dates for 6 Upbeat! Zoom classes are the following Tuesdays and Sundays, 6:00-7:00 pm Central Time:

#1 Tuesday, February 13

#2  Sunday, February 25

#3 Sunday, March 10

#4 Sunday, March 24

#5 Sunday, April 7

#6 Sunday, April 28



Chat Session

See Overview.



Required Text(s)

Upbeat! Mindset, Mindfulness, and Leadership in Music Education and Beyond by Matthew Arau
(Available through GIA Publications at or through Amazon. Also,
as a Kindle e-book on 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).


Matthew Arau portrait with Upbeat and Lawrence University Main Hall 1

Dr. Matthew Arau

Dr. Matthew Arau, author of Upbeat! Mindset, Mindfulness, and Leadership in Music Education and Beyond and founder of Upbeat Global, is an Associate Professor of Music and the Chair of the Music Education Department and Symphonic Band Conductor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dr. Arau is also on the graduate music education faculty of VanderCook College of Music and the American Band College of Central Washington University. Dr. Arau serves as Leadership Editor for GIA Publications, Director of Community Engagement for SLAM (Servant Leadership Association for Music), and as a Conn-Selmer Education Clinician. Dr. Arau has guest conducted, led professional development, and presented clinics on leadership, mindfulness, growth mindset, rehearsal techniques, and creating positive cultures in 38 states and 4 continents in person. He has presented and/or keynoted at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic several times, the Western International Band Clinic, the NAfME National Conference, numerous State and Regional Music Education Association Conferences, the ACDA Next Direction Conference and ACDA Leadership Conference, the ASTA Virtual String Teachers Summit, and the Conn-Selmer Institute. Thousands of high school students have attended his Upbeat Leadership Academies across the country to develop their leadership skills and reach for their fullest potential. Dr. Arau believes in the power of positivity and joy to make meaningful, transformative change in individuals and organizations. In addition to being in demand as a keynote speaker, presenter, and professional development facilitator, Dr. Arau has conducted honor bands in Australia, Greece, Cyprus, and Malaysia, and All-State honor bands across the United States. Dr. Arau draws on a deep reservoir of fifteen years of experience as a successful middle school and high school band director in Loveland, Colorado, where he led his bands at Walt Clark Middle School and Loveland High School to numerous honor performances and championships and pioneered the Leadership Symposium. Dr. Arau earned his D.M.A. in Wind Conducting and Literature from the University of Colorado Boulder, his M.S. in Music Education from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University, and a B.M. in Music Performance (jazz studies), Music Performance (classical), and Music Education and a B.A. in Government from Lawrence University. He lives with his wife Merilee in Neenah, Wisconsin accompanied by their sugar glider, Flash, and two Dachshunds, Savannah and Eli. Dr. Arau’s website is
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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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