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To my music students/parents:

As we all discover the best methods to continue our music making, please check Google Classroom as well as my teacher page on the school website:

This page will include resources that we will be using as we work from home.

Examples of lessons that will be placed on this page include (but not limited to):

  • Videos of various music making via with reflection questions that I will provide
  • Creating a music listening diary
  • Activities in composition and arranging music
  • Lessons using platforms such as
    • Noteflight Learn has many resources for teachers and students and is working to add more every day to assist teachers with online instruction. Noteflight Learn protects student privacy, is COPPA and FERPA compliant, and is suitable to children of all ages. In addition, I can integrate this platform with Google Classroom.

Through this all I will emphasize Engagement Over Assessment. Music is not created for a teacher to grade; it is created to make the world a more beautiful place. As we start online lessons, I will focus less on the grading and more on getting students engaged and making music together. I will be looking at completion-based grading (e.g. 100 points for sharing with 3 friends) over trying to grade performance or quality. My primary goal is to have students be engaged.

Mentorship Over Music. One of the best things about being a music teacher (and there are many) are the relationships that I develop with my students. I currently teach students that I have been making music with for 7 years. The music room has always been a safe place for kids. I will provide opportunities for students to set-up skype or zoom “meetings” with me to make music or to just “check-in.” Social and emotional support is very important as we all experience the changes that we are experiencing in the world today.

For those students that do not have internet access or electronic devices at home, please take a packet of review materials with you before leaving school today.

Let’s all stay virtually connected as we figure this out together and be sure to use music in your lives everyday.

Mr. Brownell
(607) 592-4364

Michael W. Brownell, General / Vocal Music 6-12

Mr. Brownell received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, his Master of Music degree in Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music, and holds a New York State Permanent Certification in Music K-12. He has taught at McGraw High School since 1988 where he serves as Director of Vocal Music for grades six through twelve and Producer / Music Director for the annual musical production. He is a past director of the Syracuse University Men’s Chorale, and has experience teaching both general and instrumental music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Mr. Brownell is active as a clinician and guest conductor. He currently holds the office of Immediate Past President of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA). Previously he served NYSSMA as President (2016-2017), President-Elect (2014-2015), Second Vice-President (2012-2013), Third Vice-President (2009-2011), Chair of the Council of Music Education Associations (2006-2008), and Zone 3 Representative (1999-2004). He is a Past President of and has hosted many festivals for the Cortland County Music Teachers Association (CCMTA), is an active NYSSMA Adjudicator for voice, and has served on the NYSSMA All-State Chorus Selection Committee. He is also a member of The National Association for Music Education, The American Choral Directors Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams" -- Arthur O'Shaughnessy

The Music Department at McGraw Central School offers a quality, comprehensive, and sequential program which enriches the students, school and wider community. The department's motto, "Committed to the Tradition of Student Musical Excellence," not only serves as a beacon guiding it through our present times but also acknowledges and honors the department's rich history of musical achievement, service, and prominence as an embodiment of what is truly possible in public school music education.

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2019-2020 Vocal Music Lesson Schedule

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Music Directors (1950-present)
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Melinda McCool, Superintendent
10 West Academy Street
McGraw, NY 13101
P: (607)836-3636