“Children’s Music Collaboration Project”

2024 Elementary Excellence Award Recipient

Maize Elementary General Music Class

Maize, KS


Across the country and the world there are people in musical careers who are specifically creating music for children. I believe children should find music that speaks to them, is current, and of high quality. What better way to do this then to introduce them to the artists making music for them right now! My students are researching current children’s music artists, interviewing them through Zoom, and performing their music in the classroom and on stage. With over 15 collaborations since 2022 my students have found music that speaks to them that their whole family can enjoy.


  1. Students will interview people with careers in children’s music virtually and in-person to achieve the following goals:
    • Broaden their understanding of the career opportunities available in music
    • Improve interview techniques
    • Discover personal connections and familiarity between themselves and the artists behind the music they enjoy
  2. Students will perform music by current artists to achieve the following goals:
    • Gain a deeper connection to the music because they know the artist and the story behind the song
    • Experience higher family engagement with music due to the quality and content of the songs
  3. Students will build a library of music and artists that they can hold on to for the rest of their lives.
  4. Students will seek out music they connect with rather than settle for what is the most popular or easy to find.
  5. The staff of Maize Elementary School, District of Maize, and the surrounding community will see the value in music education presented in a relatable and intentional way that cannot be ignored.

Target Audience

My students and their families are my target audience. Music is a required class for Kindergarten through 4th Grade students at Maize Elementary School and each grade level puts on one music stage performance each year. I want these performances to be something that families look forward to and create long term positive memories. I truly believe that to achieve this I need to find music that is high quality in it’s composition, lyrics, and relevance to my students and their families. This is why I have pursued this initiative.


This initiative started in the Spring of 2022 and has become a part of our curriculum as it pertains to music stage performances at Maize Elementary School. Procedures and expectations for finding artists to collaborate with has been established over the last year. To take this initiative further, I applied for and was awarded a grant to bring one of our artist collaborators, Roy Moye III, to our district in August of 2023. He will perform for all of our Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students at our district performance venue. The next step I am taking is attending the Children’s Music Network conference in Boston, MA in November of 2023 to make face to face connections with artists we have already collaborated with, as well as meet new artists that we can collaborate with. I also hope to present details of this initiative at our state music educators conference in February to encourage other educators to try this in their districts.

Overview of Planning and Execution

I have done the planning and execution of this initiative since it began in Spring of 2022 with the support of my building principal. He has attended each 30 minute zoom meeting we have had with collaborating artists, paid for music when artists requested it, and partnered with me on the grant request for the district wide performance of Roy Moye III. The Maize Elementary School PTO is financially supporting me by contributing $1,000.00 towards my trip to the Children’s Music Network Conference in November of 2023. The Maize Education foundation awarded me $4,000.00 to pay for Roy Moye III to perform his STEMusic concert in August of 2023. I would also like to give credit the artists who willingly shared their music and time with me and my students to make this initiative possible. At minimum each of these artists participated in a 30 minute zoom interview and 16 of the 19 artists allowed us to perform one of their original songs in a Maize Elementary School music program. The participating artists are: Elliott Park, Vered Benhorin, Walter Martin, Suzi Shelton, Harold “Fyutch” Simmons , Stacey Peasley, Desi Oakley, Kristina Sims, The Juicebox Jukebox (Brad Skistimas), 123Andres, Laura Doherty, Kim Noller, Tallest Kid in the Room(Bret Turner and Ian Walters), Joanie Leeds, Jesse Jukebox(Jesse Friedberg), Justin Roberts, Lucy Kalantari, and Amelia Robinson.

Tools and Resources

I heavily relied on Instagram to find and follow artists and then make our initial contact with them. Once a collaboration was established, we communicated through email and used Zoom as well as Google Meets for our 30 minute interviews. During the preparation of each song, I would take videos and send them to the artists to show our progress. After the completion of the final performance, my student would create thank you cards and I would send a picture of the student with their card to the artists to let them know how much we appreciated their generosity and talents. Myself and my students were also invited by Suzi Shelton to be featured on her weekly YouTube show to highlight our initiative and our performance of her song “Party Monsters” in one of our music programs. My students also went to each of the artist’s website to research them and write speaking parts to share with the audience about the artists at our music programs.

Marketing and Promotion

Sharing updates and thank you’s with the collaborating artists really went a long way in opening doors to more artists in the Children’s music community. They have a really strong network and happily introduced me to colleges and creators that my students are excited to meet and learn more about. I have also done my best to incorporate the whole family in our music performances. Elliott Park has generously allowed us to feature one of his songs in all of our programs since 2022. One performance featured our Maize Early Childhood four year old pre-kindergarten students singing “Simple Song”. Many of them were siblings of Maize Elementary Students. I have had parents surprise their students by coming on stage during the performance and singing to them (“All Ways”). I had classroom teachers come out on stage and sing with them (“To the Moon and Back”). During our October 2023 performance we will feature the Maize High School cheerleaders during the song “Technology” by Roy Moye III. The Maize High School Madrigals will be performing my arrangement of the song “We all Want to Fly” by The Tallest Kid in the Room along with my students. We will also feature some of our own Maize Elementary Staff and Alumni in a live rock band for the song “Recess” by Justin Roberts. All of these collaborations bring attention to the value of music education and help create a culture of community through music that starts in Elementary School and will be a foundation for their musical growth.


We had an expenditure to Laura Doherty of $250.00 for the use of her song in our music program and the production of the song backing track. I personally paid her $50.00 and my school paid the other $200.00. To hire Roy Moye III to perform for our district, the Maize Education Foundation paid him $3,250.00. This amount covered two thirty minute performances for Kindergarten and 1st grade students as well as two hour long performances for second grade through fourth grade students. An additional $750.00 of the grant funds were also split between the five STEAM teachers at the elementary schools to give them supplemental supplies to teach follow up lessons in connection with Roy’s performance. To attend the Children’s Music Network conference I personally paid $525.00 for hotel, food, and conference attendance. The Maize Elementary Parent Teacher Organization will additionally contribute $1,000.00 towards the cost of flights and other expenses incurred during the conference.


The Zoom interviews took a decent amount of practice to do well on the logistical side of things. I had to make sure I was aware of what time zone our interviewee was in, I had to have sound and a screen that let my whole class hear and see the interview but a specific mic and computer that allowed the artist to see and hear the students who were asking questions. I also had to prepare my students to know how to behave during the interview when they were just watching it, which for some ages was harder to remember than others. Thankfully, we all improved with practice. I also had one artist that I was hoping to collaborate with that asked to be paid more than I had in my budget so we ended up not being able to work together which was unfortunate.

Success/Effectiveness Measurement

Our evening stage performances are outside of the school day and therefore I have chosen to not grade them or require them. As an elementary student there are many factors that are out of the control of our students that might keep them from participating in an evening performance. However, this is our most public musical display of elementary music education during the year therefore I do try and stress the importance of it to our students.

Since this initiative started I have had roughly 98 of 100 students attend and be represented by family in the audience at their grade level music performances. Absences are only because of illness or a family death. Our parents look forward to these performances and my students are proud to ask their family and extended family to come learn about music and see and hear the work they have done in class. Additionally, the willingness of students and families from other schools (the pre-school and high school) to voluntarily participate in our performance shows that our community is seeing the value in the music performances and in supporting music education. We had 68 4-year-olds and their families choose to participate in our evening performance in the fall of 2022 which is over 1/3 of the student population.

Community Impact

This initiative has helped families enjoy music together on a regular basis. My students look forward to the work and time it takes to prepare for a music program because of this initiative. I can also say that my own engagement and musical passions have been ignited during this initiative. I am hoping that this will continue to bring our district together and the local music education community as well as we shine a light on quality music that is relevant to our students.

Advice for others?

The first step to incredible collaborations is to say hello and share your passion for your students and music. It is worth the effort to find a way to perform music that is relevant to your specific community. Your students deserve to connect to music rather than be required to perform it.

Supporting Materials





Music Concert Event Ticket Bookings Promotion Banner

Autumn Fall Blank Page Border for School Students

Planets Program