The Mockingbird Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 DeLucia Awards for music educators, including the recipient of this year’s $1,000 DeLucia Prize. Each of these award winners has demonstrated a passion for music education such as by teaching in an exceptional, innovative, or unique manner; impacting their communities in a substantial way; and/or using unconventional techniques, discourse, or concepts in their roles as music educators.
Mark Unbehagen (Cabrillo Elementary, Ortega Elementary, Sunset Ridge Elementary, Ocean Shores Elementary, Vallemar Elementary in Pacifica, CA)
Even though he teaches over 900 students at five different schools every week, “Mr. U” manages to keep them all engaged through his creativity, innovation, personal warmth, and terrific sense of humor. He constantly encourages kids to create their own music, especially through the Mystery Box Challenge, where teams of kids are given a set of musical “ingredients” (a rhythmic ostinato, melodic ostinato, crescendo, etc.) and asked to create a piece of music that they perform on xylophones and other instruments. Since he only gets to see each class once a week, he also takes the time to make videos explaining the musical concepts they have been learning, as well as videos featuring student drawings and musical compositions by students, which he emails to parents every week. (The parents learn a lot from them too!)