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ENL Students in Music

  • NYU Steinhardt 35 West 4th Street, Room 879 New York, NY, 10012 United States (map)

Presented by Leonore Nelson & Debbie Degenhardt


La Idioma, Die Sprache, La Langue of Music (by Leonore Nelson)

This session will examine how the music classroom can be used as a space to promote language learning for all students. We will explore music activities in a variety of languages and identify strategies to help our students navigate new languages. Through this lens, we will then explore how these strategies can be used regularly in the music classroom to reinforce English language learning.

Teach it, Speak it, Spell it, Sing it! Teaching
English Language Learners without Sacrificing your Curricular Goals! (by Debbie Degenhardt)

Learning a language is a lot easier when materials taught are relevant to the child. Maximize the Joy of Learning with these fun, engaging song activities which not only reinforce and enhance your English Speakers’ skills, they put your ENL kids on the fast track to success! Lessons consisting of cross curricular activities, including samples from Debbie’s Literacy Through Music Curriculum, and original STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) are kid-tested, with thorough, yet easy to follow lesson plans. Your administrators and colleagues will be thrilled with these additions to your classroom!


Leonore Nelson has worked as a singer, music teacher and choir director both in the United States and abroad. For the past ten years, she has taught music in New York City schools at both the elementary and middle school level. She is a strong advocate that all students, regardless of zip code or economic status, should receive music education and has founded music programs at two New York City schools, an elementary school in the South Bronx and a middle school in Washington Heights. She is the co-founder of the NYC Music Educators Collective and City Music Educator’s Festival: Uptown. Leonore is very interested in language and spent several years living in Berlin, Germany where she studied German and taught English to both adults and children. She currently works at MS 319 Maria Teresa, a bilingual middle school in Washington Heights, where she has experience designing music instruction for various levels of ELL students. Leonore received a B.M. in Voice Performance from Umass, Amherst, an M.A. in Music Education from Columbia Teachers College, and studied briefly at the Kodaly Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary. She is currently working on her Advanced Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from SUNY Stony Brook. In addition to education, Leonore sings semi-professionally with the NYC based choral collective C4, performing modern choral music written in the last 25 years.

Ms. Degenhardt is a General Music, Choral and Orchestral teacher for Merrimac Elementary School (K-5) in the Sachem Central School District. She earned her Bachelors in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia and her Masters in Jazz/Commercial Performance from Manhattan School of Music. She has achieved Master Level status in Orff-Schulwerk training, and Level 3 training in World Music Drumming. She has presented on the Local, State, National and International levels, having presented in Osaka and Tsuda, Japan where she worked with Elementary School children and Adults. She is a Past President of the Long Island Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Assoc. (LIAOSA), and has served as an All-County Co- Chair for the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Assoc. (SCMEA). On a National Level, she served as a Local Co-Chair for Signage for the AOSA National Conference in Atlantic City, NJ and served on the Conference Committee for the National Conference in Ft. Worth, TX. In addition to her teaching duties in the Sachem School District, she has served as Choral Director, Assistant Choral Director and Assistant Band Director of their Elementary Music Festival (an All-District event in Sachem). She is also a composer/lyricist/performer of cross-curricular music, with some of her original work appearing on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and other online services. She is now a Doctoral Candidate majoring in Music Education at Five Towns College, located in Dix Hills, NY.


This workshop satisfies 4 hours of CTLE Credit (forms available at Workshop)

  • Pre-registration cost for current MEANYC members is $15 online and $20 at door.

  • Cost for non-members is $25.

  • Collegiate members can register for free.

  • MEANYC professional members get one free workshop each school year. If you are a member and haven’t claimed your one free workshop, please visit your member dashboard and fill out the form.

  • Registration is non-refundable.


Earlier Event: September 24
Annual Fall Gathering
Later Event: November 23
Culturally Responsive Teaching in Music