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Photo Credit: © JOY Yamhill County

Virtual Forums are intended as a space for members to gather as a community, problem solve, and create new tools and skills for our work. We intend to grapple with the problems and questions probing our field forward, and to build community with one another. Each group has different goals, but is intended to offer training, and/or problem solving space related to the field. Each group is facilitated by members and leaders from the field. This year’s virtual forums will include:

Teaching Artist Forum

The Teaching Artist Forum aims to provide a space for Teaching Artists working with El Sistema-inspired programs to collaborate, network, and workshop teaching ideas and strategies. Through six discussion-based forums facilitated in partnership with the Teaching Artists Training Institute (TATI), participants will explore best practices in music education by looking at case studies from peer Teaching Artists, address common classroom success and challenges, and idea swap tools for implementing new teaching techniques.

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Facilitated by

Teaching Artists Training Institute

Teaching Artist Training at the New World Center Miami Beach

Led by Anna Barson

Managing Director, TATI

Anna Barson is based in Durham, NC and is a passionate educator, musician, and arts advocate. As the Managing Director of the Teaching Artists Training Institute (TATI), Anna is excited to develop a sustainable community of belonging that provides applicable and tangible tools and resources for music educators across the US. Anna looks forward to deepening her impact as a nonprofit leader through community-building, training teaching artists to develop culturally responsive classrooms, and engaging nonprofit leaders and educators in conversations around access, equity, inclusion, and social justice in the music classroom.

Prior to working with TATI, Anna taught orchestra at the elementary and middle school levels before transitioning to administrative positions at Kidznotes, an El Sistema-inspired music education nonprofit, and SKJAJA Fund, a community-based scholarship program. Anna holds a dual Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance and Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts degree in Arts Management and Cultural Leadership from Colorado State University.

Outside of work, Anna can be found performing with local orchestras, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, or camping in the mountains with her dog, Milo.

Founded by a generous grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Teaching Artists Training Institute (TATI) was launched in 2020 and is guided by the belief that transformational music education starts with transformational training for teachers. In just three years, TATI has engaged more than 230 Teaching Artists across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Providing more than 5,000 hours annually of professional development, TATI equips Teaching Artists with the tools and skills necessary to strengthen their teaching practice and be better prepared to support the more than 20,000 underrepresented students and communities they work with across the country. TATI is powered by Miami Music Project, which provides legal and fiduciary oversight, financial management, and administrative support. For more information, visit

  • September 15 12-1:30pm ET
  • November 17 12-1:30pm ET
  • January 12 12-1:30pm ET
  • February 16 12-1:30pm ET
  • April 19 12-1:30pm ET

Program Director & Manager Forum

The Program Director & Manager Forum is an action-oriented, working group focused on sharing best programmatic tactics, strategies, and practices within the field. These sessions are aimed at Program Directors, Program Managers, Site Directors, but may be useful and applicable to other program decision makers and Teaching Artists.  

As Program Directors & Managers, your position within an organization is unique in that you interface with many stakeholders within the program, whether that be students, families, teaching artists, and executive staff. Some of you may also deal with community partners, donors, and boards.  

These sessions are intended to create a network of Program Directors and share out best practices collectively. Sessions will be a hybrid of some panel discussions and group discussions.

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Facilitated by Gabrielle Molina

Executive Director, Project Music

Gabrielle Molina (she, ella, siya) is currently the Executive Director of Project Music, a youth development and El Sistema-inspired music nonprofit located in Stamford, CT. In addition to her work at Project Music, Gabrielle is on the coaching faculty of AIM, the Academy for Impact through Music, where she coaches and mentors teachers from around the world working in ‘music for social action’ organizations. From 2019-2023, she was a faculty member and career coach at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Prior to joining the leadership team at Project Music, Gabrielle founded Teaching Artists International, a music nonprofit that creates teaching artist exchanges spanning 4 continents. She is the winner of the 2020 Sphinx Tank, awarded to the “Next Great Cultural Entrepreneur.” In 2022, she was named one of Yamaha’s “40 Under 40” — Celebrating Excellence in Music Education. Gabrielle has held fellowships with the National Arts Strategies, the Global Leaders Program, Mass Challenge, and the Harvard Innovation Labs. Gabrielle holds K-12 teaching credentials in CA and CT and began her career at YOLA (Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) and at iCAN (The Incredible Children’s Art Network), two El Sistema-inspired programs in Southern California. Gabrielle holds a Master’s in International Education Policy from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

  • Thursday, Oct 5 12pm-1:30pm EST
  • Thursday, Nov 16 12pm-1:30pm EST
  • Thursday, Jan 11 12pm-1:30pm EST
  • Thursday, Feb 15 12pm-1:30pm EST
  • Thursday, March 21 12pm-1:30pm EST
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