Author Archive

Student Spotlight

Posted: Friday, March 26

Sometimes the instrument chooses you!

Meet Chloe, a PEAC harpist. She has been playing for about three and a half years. She says that she didn’t choose the harp – it chose her!

Her favorite thing to practice is solos. She says “it can be hard because not every piece is as easy as the one before and as we move forward we learn harder and more advanced music.” Some of her most fun things to play are glissandos (think angels and harps!) and playing pieces together with her friends.

Chloe’s superpower is kindness, and this is evident in the way she carries herself in her lessons and classes!

Chloe really misses seeing her friends, family, and teachers from pre-pandemic times, however, she does all sorts of things to keep herself busy. Some of these include drawing, watching anime, singing, dancing or playing a few of her favorite games: Gacha life, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Minecraft.

Chloe would love for her fellow PEAC musicians to know that she watches lots of Marvel movies so she would consider herself a HUGE Marvel fan!

Student Spotlight

Posted: Tuesday, March 9

Get to know Tihute!

Tihute is a violist in fourth grade and she has been playing her instrument for four years. She got interested in the viola because she wanted to play an instrument that she didn’t know much about and that was very different from the other instruments. She is now hooked, because she loves her instrument!

Tihute’s favorite thing to practice is scales, because she says they help her get better and better each day. (You are right, Tihute!) However, she does say that the hardest thing for her about practicing is knowing what to do when she doesn’t have a teacher around to help guide her and tell her what’s right or wrong.

Tihute gets lots of joy from playing music with other people. She likes to see the smiles on their faces. She particularly enjoys playing with her classmates and her teachers.

When asked what her superpower is, Tihute said that playing her instrument is her superpower – because she practices and practices every single day!

This pandemic life has Tihute missing time with her friends and family and she’s longing to play concerts in person again. (Me too, Tihute!)

In her free time, Tihute loves to go swimming and play games, go outside, and do gymnastics. She wants the other students to know about her special talent pictured below – she can hold her pinky finger in her fist! No one else in her family can do this.

Thank you, Tihute, for sharing with us this week!

Student Spotlight

Posted: Tuesday, March 2

Meet PEAC clarinetist Marcell!

I recently had the chance to ask Marcell a few questions about his experience in POP as a new PEAC student. Here are his responses.

  1. How long have you been playing your instrument? For one year
  2. What drew you to your instrument? I like the way it sounds.
  3. What’s your favorite thing to practice? I really like Ode to Joy 
  4. What’s hard about practicing for you? When I have to hold a note for a certain amount of time.
  5. What sort of musical things bring you lots of joy? or what musical activities do you find really fun? Being able to play music I’ve heard before.
  6. What is the most interesting concert you have ever attended? (could be virtual or in-person) What made it so interesting? I’ve never been to a concert but really like listening to calm music.
  7. What’s the biggest thing you miss from pre-pandemic life? Being able to see people play real instruments face to face.
  8. What do you do in your free time (outside of school, POP, and practicing)? I play video games, VR and draw.

Thanks, Marcell for letting us get to know you a little more. I look forward to introducing you to live music concerts and those real face to face encounters!

Student Spotlight

Posted: Friday, February 19

Meet PEAC bassist Noah!

Noah has been playing the bass for four years. He was originally drawn to the instrument because of its sound and size – the bigness of the bass was not a deterrent for Noah! Noah says that the hardest thing about practicing is making the time to do it, “but you have to,” he says. Wise words from one so young!

When asked what kinds of musical things bring him joy, he answered that playing with others is really fun. Noah also likes to listen to different kids of music and try to identify when the bass is being played. His favorite POP teachers this year are Miss Carlota and Miss Carolina (shout-out to the alto/bass clefs over there!)

Noah is living his best pandemic life, but he admits that the biggest thing he misses is giving handshakes and high-fives, not having to wear a mask, and being in a building with others. We hear you, Noah! I’m envisioning LOTS of POP high-fives when we are finally back in person – don’t worry – it WILL come!

Thank you, Noah – we look forward to that post-pandemic high-five from you!

May 22, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 22

Thank you!

It’s hard to believe we are coming into our last week of Pop out of the Box online programming. I have very much appreciated seeing your children while we are all stuck at home. Over the course of these many weeks, I have had a chance to reflect on the work I do at POP, and I realize now more than ever how very much the students move me. I have missed their antics as they learn to be little humans navigating the threshold between childhood and adulthood. I have missed chatting with them in my office, watching them learn a new skill, seeing their eyes light up when something goes from complete confusion to that “Oh, I get it” moment.

Although online learning is so different, I applaud your students for jumping in and giving it a try, for being brave enough to participate in a platform that at first seems very cold and indifferent. Each moment the TAs and I have with your children is a moment that grows us as teachers and as individuals. I believe even more now than ever that we have strengthened our community. We have a strong POP spirit!

Next week is our final Jubilee Celebration!

Click here to register.

This year’s Jubilee is an event you don’t want to miss. An event unique to any other we have produced at POP, this event is full of guest artists, messages of joy, resilliance, and hope. We have performances by student artists, guest artists, and TAs in an unprecedented package of speeches, pictures, and music.

If you have already registered your student for the Jubilee, we still need you to click the link above and reserve your spot.

You don’t want to miss this. Looking forward to celebrating with you all next week!


FCMS May 15, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 15

POP Out of the Box finishes Week 2!

Thank you to all of you who have been sending your students to our regular weekly programming – it is a lifeline to our TAs to see their faces each week. If you have not been attending classes or have not registered for our online programming, you are still welcome to do so! Please go here to register, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Ms. Anna.

POP out of the Box Concerts are coming up!

Register here, if you haven’t already, and once registered, visit our login page here to find the link for the performances.

Faculty Concert, Friday, May 15 at 5pm

Please join us tonight at 5pm for a virtual live concert featuring TAs from our various music centers around town. These TAs are excited to play for you, and this is a unique opportunity for your students to hear their teachers in concert.

Student Showcase Friday, May 22 at 5pm

Wondering what your fellow POP students are up to? Tune in to our student showcase next week, Friday, May 22 at 5pm and get a chance to hear some of your friends perform pieces they have been working on.

Jubilee Concert and Year End Celebration

Friday, May 29 at 5pm

Every year, POP has an end of the year celebration concert, and while we can’t be in person to do so this year, we are excited to all come together for this Jubilee Celebration! We have many wonderful things planned for this concert: we will be reflecting on our very unique year, showing our appreciation for our essential workers and sending a message of hope through music, short speeches, photos, and more. As the culminating event of the year, we hope that you will be able to join us. Your whole family is welcome to attend, not just your student. We would love to see as many faces as possible!

May 1, 2020

Posted: Friday, May 1


Have you signed up for your online POP classes yet?

Click on the Box to go there now!


Dear Families –

I was glad to get to speak to many of you this week and to hear that you are healthy and doing well. We know this is not an easy time for our students or our families, and I am grateful for those conversations this week. Checking in with you was nourishing to my soul. I miss our students!

We are looking forward to seeing many of you next week for our online POP classes! Please remember, even if you are a POP kid already, we need you go to in and choose your online classes! There are many options, and we want you to choose ones that look interesting to you.

On Friday, May 29, we are hosting our Jubilee celebration concert, and the TAs are working hard to create a special presentation for the students. Please make sure you have the Jubliee on your list of classes!

Let me highlight a few FAQs

  1. Does my student need his/her instrument for these classes?
      • NO! The instrument Family Hangouts will use instruments, but the core classes will focus on musical skills that don’t require an instrument.
  2. Can my student sign up for more than one class?
      • YES! Please have your student sign up for as many classes as look interesting to him/her
  3. Can my student invite his/her friends outside of POP to join?
      • YES! Please encourage your students to invite any of their friends to join us. POP Out of the Box is available to all students!
  4. Is there a fee for these classes?
      • NO! These classes are being offered to POP kids and their school peers free of charge.
  5. Can I as a parent/guardian come to the concerts?
      • YES! And we hope you will! Please join us for all of our concerts (there are three!)
  6. I lost the link for the registration page.
      • No problem. Here it is.

We are looking forward to seeing you next week!

April 24, 2020

Posted: Friday, April 24

Pop out of the Box Programming Starting May 4!

Welcome to our new online learning program! The staff and Teaching Artists at POP have been working hard creating some pretty awesome programming for our students, and we are excited to get it rolling. In a nutshell, here’s what we will be offering:

Core programming for all grade levels – twice a week for 45 minutes

Specialty Workshops that happen only one time – don’t miss these!

  • Practicing at Home
  • Hangout with your instrument family!
  • A Listening Salon – things you never knew about music
  • A concert by your TAs
  • and A final Jubilee Celebration – Everyone should register for this one!


You can sign up for as many classes and workshops as you would like. All of the learning is happening through the online video conferencing app Zoom. We hope you and your students will be able to join us for these creative ways to engage with music during this time.

Please Register for your classes here!

In order for us to have a good sense of who is interested in what class and to help us plan for classroom management, we are asking that you register for these classes using this portal on our website. You will find any supplemental materials here that you might need for the class, as well as a detailed description of the classes. Remember that these classes are available to your student AND to you! This is a unique opportunity for you to get a hand’s on sense of what we do at POP. We would love to have you!

And now for something a little silly, but lots of fun: Making Music with Brooms

In the spirit of making music at home, have you ever asked yourself what is music? Or what is art? Well, art and music are all around us, sometimes in ways we may not even realize. Check out this group, STOMP, who is making incredible music with brooms! They have other videos where they make music with just their hands, hose pipes, or even a box of matchsticks. Click on the link above and watch the broom video. Notice how they can make the brooms louder and softer depending on which part of the broom they use to hit the ground. This is called “dynamics” in music: loud and soft. After you have watched the video, go grab your broom and see what kind of music you can come up with – or try and play along with the guys on the video. Send Ms. Anna a video of you rocking out on your broom to your favorite music!

POP Freire Family Newsletter

Posted: Friday, April 10

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Celebrating Philadelphians in Music

While we are all separated and in our own spaces, I thought it would be fun to learn about some musicians who came from our great city of Philadelphia.

This week we are learning about Philadelphian Bobby McFerrin. Bobby is famous for his song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This song came out in 1988 and was instantly a success. It was the first acapella (voice only) song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and one of the first to have all the tracks recorded by one person – Bobby! Kind of like today how everyone is recording videos of people in their homes and then putting them together. Bobby was doing this 30 years ago!

Check out Bobby’s website here where you can be the engineer who mixes all the parts together. Choose which tracks will play at which time and come up with your own arrangement of the song.

You can also watch the music video here. Robin Williams is in the video too! (They were good friends.) Bobby’s message is still important for us today – stay strong, Dragons!

Bobby visits POP

Last year, POP had Bobby McFerrin and Stewart Copeland (drummer for the Police) visited us at St. Francis de Sales to talk about what music means to us in our lives. I believe this topic is more relevant to us now than ever before. Art is going to help us get through this time. We need it more now than ever.

Let us know how you are using music to get you through this time of isolation.

Teaching Artist Videos

Don’t forget about our TA instructional videos available to all of our students on our family portal. Do you have a request for a video? Just let me know, and I’ll have a TA make one for you.

POP TAs Doing Great Things

Mr. Devin just completed his curriculum for three levels of clarinet players all in one book – way to go, Mr. Devin! Check out some of his practice videos for a sneak peek into what that curriculum looks like.

Ms. Anna was featured in an article in the Temple News for her live daily concerts during the quarantine. Read the article here.

St. Francis TA, Mr. Nic was featured in an article in the Inquirer. Check it out here!

Upcoming programming

We have spent the last several weeks considering how best to program for our students and to meet their needs while we are all at home. Look for updates coming to your email very soon for what this will look like. In the mean time, explore the TA videos.

POP FCMS Family Newlsetter 4.3.20

Posted: Friday, April 3

Something to Brighten Your Day!

So, I feel like it’s time to lighten the mood a little bit and let you in on some pretty terrible humor. Here are some of my favorite musical jokes, and by favorite, I mean terrible. If you have one of your own, please send it along to me. Beware, these are groaners!


Teaching Artist Instructional Videos!

If you haven’t already, please check out the resources section of the family portal! Don’t know how to get there? Navigate to the POP Family tab at the top, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Click on “Click Here” and you will have access to all the videos made by all the POP Teaching Artists (TAs). If you want to, you can watch videos by any TA – feel free to practice scales or any other skill with any of the TAs, your student can explore all of the videos!


Send us a picture of how you are staying musical at home?

Whether you are practicing your instrument, watching concerts online, or creating music in the Chrome Music Lab, send us a photo of you being musical. We miss you all, and can’t wait to have you back in our classrooms.