Who are the best role models to share with students?

Welcome back to another edition of Music Teachers’ Q and A – where Music Teachers all over the world help each other with ideas and resources for music Education.

Today’s question comes from Liz, and she writes:

“I was just wondering if you would know of some amazing role model musicians and performers who my upper primary kids or even junior high students would be able to relate to. I find that showing a video of an exceptional performer (with a great attitude of course!)  is a great way get students to continue to rise to a higher standard and it helps  them to believe in themselves as well. Anyway I’m always on the look out for new videos to show them and would appreciate some input from you and the network of teachers out there”

Anyway, Here are my thoughts on video:

Please feel free to share your inspirational YouTube videos and performers in the comments section below this video. We’d all love to see what is working for you when you share it with students.

The resources I mentioned in this video

Youtube Channels for the three role models I mentioned:

Other Resources:

Don’t forget.. in a world first I’m actually going to be interviewing Chris Hadfield in a few weeks time, in the Virtual Music Education Conference. What would you ask him if you had the chance? Well… actually you do have the chance! Head on over to the conference website, and if you register now you can ask a question of Chris before its too late!


  • By Vicky Ohara Reply

    There are other musicians who have severe disabilities, but through grace and divine intervention, have overcome them through music. Check out Kenny G, Tony Melendez, Diane Schuur, Rex lewis Clack and Terri Gibbs as well as Bart Mallard. All of these musicians have or have had some disability that would have discouraged the average human, but they have overcome adversity to create music that is well-known world-wide.
    And Hey, don’t forget about Beethoven.

  • By Eloise Meyer Reply

    One of the best role models that I have shown my students is Evelyn Glennie. As the first female soloist percussionist she is an inspiration to listen to and watch. Her TED video on how to truly listen is brilliant and well worth watching.

  • By Nanette Seaman Reply

    My kids were inspired by watching Eric Whitacre at our rehearsal yesterday. His use of technology to assemble a virtual choir is unique.

  • By Jenny Batten Reply

    I am currently doing a unit with the Year 5s on Natural Disasters unit and have included a composition task. To engage the students I showed them an Artscape program (see website) about Elena Kats Chernin, a composer who was inspired to create Symphonia Eluvium (Symphony of the Floods) after the devastating Queensland floods in 2011.Truelly inspiring musician and composer – and a woman too!!!.

  • By Stephen P Reply

    Here are are a couple of upper primary aged boys from Brooklyn I believe, that started a metal band.

    I find them very inspirational!


  • By J.C Reply

    Condoleeza Rice original goal was to become a concert pianist. She went on to study Political Science and became the first African American female to be the 66th Secretary of State to President George W. Bush while playing in a Chamber music group at the White House and many events.

  • By Mervat Reply

    (STOMP)is a great choice for inspiring students..
    Stomp is a percussion group that uses the body and ordinary objects to create a physical theatre performance.

  • By Janice Reply

    These suggestions are fantastic 🙂 Thank you all for taking part in the discussion and contributing such brilliant female role models too.

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