Teaching Songwriting, Improvisation & Creativity in the Classroom


Fall MECA Online Courses
All Fall MECA online courses
are generally held from
Sept. 21 through Dec. 13, 2020,
unless specified.

Registration closes at 11:59 p.m.  
on September 18, 2020

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For other MECA-related questions,
contact us at
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Teaching Songwriting, Improvisation & Creativity
in the Classroom

September 21December 13, 2020

Learn how to incorporate songwriting into your teaching in order to revolutionize your lesson planning, boost student morale, heighten creativity, manage your classroom effectively, and develop your students' social, emotional and musical “VOICES.” Course participants will observe, develop, discuss and demonstrate best practices for implementing improvisation and songwriting in various genres at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Participants will discuss and demonstrate the importance of songwriting in modern and traditional music education systems, and will consider the practical application of how to incorporate innovative methods into their personal practices. This course is designed to help teachers observe, plan and initiate new methods and approaches towards music learning that are culturally responsive, forward-thinking and innovative.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Plan and incorporate songwriting and improvisation at each grade level.
  • Demonstrate effective lesson and unit plans that are centered around songwriting.
  • Create project-based learning curricula that are designed around songwriting, production, arranging and performance.
  • Incorporate songwriting and hiphop education as a means of cultural relevancy with inner-city students.
  • Discuss and demonstrate why songwriting and creativity is a necessary part of student development.
  • Build connections between music history, music theory and music innovation.

Instructor: Marc Evan Diaz

MarcEvanDiaz_CoverMarc Evan Diaz is a motivated and passionate educator who empowers students of all ages to discover the strength of the voice and creativity. He has produced 16 international children’s albums (in partnership with Fiddlefox Music), and has taught urban populations professionally for over 10 years at the K-12 public school and collegiate levels. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (Cum Laude) with a double major in music education and performance, Diaz uses a mixture of traditional techniques and modern methods to teach such topics and classes as Songwriting and Production, African American Music and Social Justice...from Spirituals to Hiphop, and Music of the World: International Childrens Music. Through strategic curriculum, inspired teaching and project-based learning sequences, Diaz challenges students to discover and use their voice to intentionally produce social impact.

Course Details

Teaching Songwriting,
Improvisation & Creativity
in the Classroom

Course Code 6720

Marc Evan Diaz

2 Graduate Credits

$710, due in full with registration

Online Sessions
Wednesdays, 4:00-5:30 p.m. EST


Required Text(s)

Software/Hardware Requirements
Internet access is required. 

MECA Online Course Details
VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.

Fall 2020 MECA courses officially begin on Monday, Sept. 21. Soon after you register, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, simply visit to login. On the morning of Sept. 21, 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.

You’ll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You’ll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy school schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!

Online grades will be reported by mid-October. If you are in need of a transcript please visit the online transcript request page. If you are in need a quick turn around time for your transcript please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


VanderCook College of Music

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

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