A STEAM-Powered Music Room: Empowering: Students Through Makerspaces

All online Summer MECA
courses begin on June 7
and conclude on August 1,
except as noted.

Registration Extended!
Registration closes at
5:00 p.m. CST on June 20, 2021
for ONLINE Courses.

Visit our MECA FAQs page.

Add, drop, change or withdraw
using the
 Add/Drop Form.

For all other MECA-related
questions, contact us at
or 312.788.1139.

A STEAM-Powered Music Room:
Empowering Students Through Makerspaces

June 7July 2, 2021

The students we teach each day will grow up to have professions we could never dream of, and preparing them for this future can be a daunting task. This course will provide hands-on experiences with lessons that focus on musical objectives but incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math concepts. Participants will explore the value of student empowerment through problem-solving and planning, as well as opportunities to reflect and connect through weekly discussions. Coding, Digital Audio Workstations, video editing, and tech-less makerspace activities will prepare participants to create their own lessons based on their specific teaching assignments, student needs, and materials on hand. Participants will leave the course with an active plan to incorporate STEAM-powered lessons. 

This course is designed for general music educators in grades K-8 and requires some purchased materials.


Abigail Blair

Blair,_Abigail_headshot_2020Abigail Blair has 16 years of experience in general music grades PreK-5 in the Chicago suburbs. Her education includes a bachelor's degree in music education from Augustana College, a Master of Music Education degree from Boston University, and Orff certification instruction from Vandercook College of Music and DePaul University. She has a background studying composition and music production through Berklee College of Music and is an Apple Teacher. She is adjunct faculty at North Park University in Chicago and enjoys teaching at universities, workshops and webinars on the subjects of interactive classrooms, STEAM, arts collaboration, musical production and music pedagogy. She is a contributing author for Activate! Magazine as well as author for other publications from Heritage Music Press. In addition, she is the creator and author of Beat Blocks (R) products and lessons and co-creator of #BlairFinchProject.

Kathryn Finch

Finch,_KathrynKathryn Finch (MMEd '03) has 22 years of experience in the elementary general music classroom and currently teaches in a northern suburb of Chicago. She speaks passionately about the shift in music education from teacher-led activities to student-led activities and focuses on practical ways music educators can transform their classrooms to empower their students to own their learning. She has been a guest on the Music Ed Mentor Podcast on empowering music students and recently joined the team at Activate! Magazine as a contributing author of general music lesson plans. A published work, Creating Adaptive Instruments with a Makey Makey, can be found in the Fall 2019 issue of the Illinois Music Educator Journal. She received her bachelor's degree in music education from Augustana College and her master’s in music education from VanderCook College of Music. She is a co-creator of the #BlairFinchProject, certified in all three levels of Orff Schulwerk, an Apple Teacher, a technology leader in her school district, and is generally passionate about an inclusive music experience for all her students. Read more about Finch's professional journey at

Course Details

A STEAM-Powered Music Room:
Empowering Students Through

Abigail Blair

Kathryn Finch

June 7-July 2, 2021

Chat Sessions
TBD once the course has commenced.

Credit Options & Tuition
No-credit Option: $199,
due in full with registration
Course Code 7651A

1 Graduate Credit: $355,
due in full with registration
Course Code 7651B


Required Text(s)
Full Steam Ahead
by Abilgail Blair 
& Kathryn Finch
(Heritage Music Press), 
available here.

Software/Hardware Requirements
Participants will need a Makey Makey kit, available here.

MECA Online
is powered by Schoology

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

Summer 2021 MECA courses officially begin on Monday, June 7. Soon after you register, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. On the morning of June 7, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

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.

Online grades will be reported by mid-June. If you need a transcript, please visit the online transcript request page. For faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).

More information about Schoology can be found at


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc