WURRLYedu portal usage spiked tenfold from February to April as schools transformed to virtual … [+] instruction in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of WURRLYedu.

Music education has grown virtually to support students learning at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Top artists are even teaching lessons online in order to support students and generate income while live shows and events are on hold. The new normal for many students is connecting with musicians on platforms like Santa Monica, California-based WURRLYedu Music Education, which recently launched a free web-based version of its online music education program featuring real-time cloud-based recording to assist students learning remotely. 

“Being stuck at home can be stressful, boring and isolating, so we wanted to give kids a safe place to express themselves during this time. (WURRLYedu) is like TikTok but it’s safer and fully regulated,” says Nadine Levitt, founder and CEO of WURRLYedu. “Music encourages creative thinking, offers an emotional release, and because it’s inherently collaborative, it can be a way for students to stay virtually connected and engaged with their teachers and classmates while they are learning remotely.”

WURRLYedu’s new content platform engages K-12 students with high-quality, culturally-relevant music education programs designed to improve musical, social and emotional skill development. One-touch audio and video tools allow users to select a song, customize the key and speed or start from scratch, record themselves, enhance their recordings and share them with their teacher and classmates. Children can also access thousands of popular songs, customization tools and a portable recording studio. 

Educators access the web portal for personalized curriculum, lesson plans, a music library of more than 5,000 popular and classical music songs with timed chords and lyrics, teacher resources and videos featuring Grammy Award-nominated and winning artists like Lee Brice, Nate Ruess, Kenny G and T-Boz who inspire kids to learn and practice recording their favorite popular songs. American solo artist and former guitarist in the band Scars on Broadway, Franky Perez, leads guitar tutorials for “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”

WURRLYedu, an extension of the free music discovery and creation app WURRLY, has grown to support music educators in schools across 22 states. While some teachers like those of the School District of Philadelphia have already implemented the student web portal into classrooms before the pandemic began, now millions of students in the U.S. are enjoying free access to WURRLYedu while completing the school year remotely. 

Because the portal is device agnostic, the barrier to entry is dramatically lowered. Usage of the platform spiked tenfold from February to April when most schools closed their doors this year. One student, Levitt says, used the platform for 12 consecutive hours.

Boy wearing headphones looks at ipad.

Millions of students in the U.S. are enjoying free access to WURRLYedu while completing the school … [+] year remotely.

Photo courtesy of WURRLYedu.

Levitt believes that every child in America should have access to a quality arts education and that equitable access should be available to keep every student engaged in learning and connected to his or her peers year-round. With the end of the school year fast approaching, she is now working with educators, camps and other programs on strengthening summertime distance learning. 

“There is a positive opportunity now for self-correction in education,” explains Levitt. “Teachers have been begging for more access to technology, and we can consciously now decide how to piece together this menagerie of experiential learning. People who will excel at distance learning will be those that will completely reimagine it.”

According to the National Association for Music Education, schools with music programs have higher graduation rates (90.2%) than those without (72.9%). The Education Commission of the States reports that 46 states require an arts credit to earn a high school diploma, and 43 states have instructional requirements in the arts for elementary and secondary schools. To further music education, WURRLYedu has partnered with multiple education organizations including the California Department of Education.

Allison Frenzel, education programs consultant for the arts, media and entertainment sector of the California Department of Education’s Career Technical Education Leadership Office, says that music and arts programs are especially vulnerable to cuts during the pandemic. In response, she is helping promote a national “Arts Education Is Essential” statement already signed by more than 50 national organizations including the Recording Academy, Carnegie Hall and WURRLYedu. 

The statement reads, “It is imperative that all students have access to an equitable delivery of arts education that includes dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts that supports their educational, social, and emotional well-being, taught by certified professional arts educators in partnership with community arts providers.” 

“Our biggest fear is that everything arts-related is on the chopping block, so we’re going to have to fight and leverage these industry partnerships in an advocacy capacity,” says Frenzel. “Right now there are more resources for music education than in any other sector–Live Nation’s partnership with the Music Forward Foundation, Girls Make Beats, Spotify’s Soundtrap, WURRLYedu–they are all making sure that people can access music education and keep it alive.”