fbpx

Sign up for our mailing list!

Subscribe for email updates, highlights from our partner schools, and exciting news from the field of music education.

Catching up with ETM Alum, Lenny Weissman

As we approach the midpoint of the 2023-2024 school year, we’re excited to share the story of Lenny Weissman, who after starting with ETM last school year at P.S. 23 in the Bronx, is now teaching at the school as a full-time, certified teacher with the NYC Department of Education. Lenny talks to us about how he got involved with music education, what he loves most about the profession, the impact ETM has had on his career, and some of his plans for the school year.

 

Tell us your story and how you came to ETM. 

After I graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2018, I moved back to New York City where I was born and raised. After about a year of exploring music production through internships, I was interested in a different avenue in the professional music world. So I applied for a job as an after-school music production teacher and started working at a middle school in Jamaica, Queens. This experience was tough but I met a lot of talented young kids through the program. 

In the spring of the following year, the pandemic happened and I continue to teach classes remotely. It was during this time that I had the interest in going back to school and getting a degree in music education. So I attended Hunter College, and received my masters degree in January of 2023. 

As I was searching for teaching jobs, I came across ETM. As I learned more, the fact that ETM provided music teachers with resources, oversight, and accountability in terms of supervision really attracted my interest, especially as a new teacher. Its focus on developing and training teachers who want to get better was a really high selling point for me.

So I was hired and started as an ETM teacher in the spring semester of 2023 at P.S. 23 in the Bronx. I taught at the school through the rest of the school year, and was eventually hired by the school as a NYC DOE teacher leading into the 2023-2024 school year.

 

What & where is your current position and what do you love most about teaching music? 

I still teach at P.S. 23, the school I started as an ETM teacher, now as a NYC DOE teacher, teaching general music to kindergarten through 5th grade.

I have found that helping a young person navigate their way through the world, especially with music, has been really meaningful for me. You can have some students who are quieter, and music class allows them the opportunity to share their voice with their peers, to come out of their shell, and they don’t even realize they are doing it sometimes. Music is a big piece of the puzzle that a lot of students need- it’s cross-curricular and can integrate into what’s going on throughout the school building.

And as a musician, I love being a music teacher because it’s a constant reinforcement of the power of simplicity. You go to a music college and you spend a long time thinking about music in a technical way, and when you’re writing music you have to be special and flashy. I don’t feel that I have to be that way as a teacher. I’ve come to learn that it’s the most calm way of applying music, and I can take that with me and try to manifest that approach in my own music making.

 

What skills or experiences did you gain at ETM that you found most useful and helpful in your career as a music educator?

In my first week after being hired by ETM, before I even started at my partner school, I had three days to shadow other ETM teachers at two different schools. And in these few days, I learned so much, maybe even more than what I got out of half of my time at grad program. To see two teachers with different styles in the classroom, meet additional teachers and the opportunity to incorporate an abundance of content into my lesson plans, made me feel supported from day one.

Overall, ETM’s enthusiasm for sharing new content, its access to resources for teachers, and the persistent, regular support that ETM provides was so helpful in starting out, especially when I did so in the middle of the school year. ETM also helped open a channel of communication between the administration and me, which I’ve continued to build at the school.  

 

What are your plans for the music program at your school this school year and beyond?   

One of my big goals is for 2nd through 4th grade students to be confident in reading music notation. Also, the kids are so capable of reading and performing rhythms – I want them to start creating their own rhythms, so when I give them actual instruments and sheet music, that can apply this foundational theory to their own music-making. 

 

Central to our model is establishing career pathways in the field of music education. Our aim is for ETM Teachers to be hired by the NYC Department of Education – and they are! Click below for more inspiring ETM stories and learn about our truly unique model of music education.

Charity Navigator Four-Star Rating