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Abstract Water

Susan Appe

Teaching experience:


West Portal Elementary School 2008-present

  • Created an original rigorous, dynamic general music and movement curriculum

  • Game-based music theory, drumming, body percussion, singing, song writing, dance 

  • S.T.E.M. integration, math, and literacy support to Kindergarten through fifth grades

  • Rooted in connections between current and non-euro-centric cultural and historical music.

  • Centering student's self-expression through song-writing, composition, and improvisation.

  • Instrument making, guitar, and choral program to the fourth and fifth grades

  • Produce annual show with 400 kids

  • Created/facilitated a school-wide SEL program during 2020-2021 Distance Learning.

  • Create the scheduling for all enrichment programs (2020-present)


CHOIR TEACHER 6th-8th (Student Teacher)

A.P. Giannini Middle School 2018/19

  • Sixth grade choir, including music theory, composition, cultural and historical music selections, percussion instruments and ukelele instruction 

  • Seventh grade treble choir, sight-reading, three parts arrangements, improvisation and percussion instruction 

  • Two performances with 80 students 


Richmond District After School Collaborative 2005-2015

  • Culturally relevant Orff-inspired music curriculum including drumming, movement, song writing, theater, hip hop, composition, beat boxing, storytelling, and instrument building

  • Two major performances each year with 80 kids

CHOIR TEACHER 6th-8th   (Formerly named Community School of the East Bay)

Park Day School 1999-2005 

  • 6th-8th graders 

  • Song writing, jazz improvisation, as well songs from many genres including hip hop and pop songs, show tunes, world music and jazz standards 

  • Produced two shows per year, collaborating with the jazz band and steel drum band teachers 


ABC4 Group Home 2007-2013

  • Autistic adults in their group home

  • Weekly music therapy session 

  • Musical instruments and singing, rhythm and improvisation 


Natural Resources and Peekadoodle Kids Club (2007-2012)

  • Blues, jazz, hip hop, world music-based program with dance and creative movement

  • Original music and an accompanying CD and songbook 

Moon+Pie, Sugar Soup

  • Original children's CDs, released 2008/10

  • Tracks available on "Listen" page.




  • San Francisco State University, B.A. in music, with a jazz and music education emphasis

  • San Francisco State University, Single Subject Music Credential Program

  • San Francisco State University, Masters of Arts in Music Education 

  • FUTURE PLAN: Doctorate in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University beginning Fall 2022, projected completion Spring 2025.



Areas of Special Training: 

  • STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA- WORKSHOP (2021) Summer Course through The Reading & Writing Project at Teacher's College at Columbia University

  • BEHAVIOR IS LANGUAGE (2021) course through SFSU. Training on understanding and responding to student behavior.

  • ORFF JAZZ COURSE (2020) This is a week long intensive training on using the principles of Orff Schulwerk as jazz education. Focusing on the blues roots and the improvisatory nature of jazz. 

  • SFSU (2020)"The Effects of Trauma on Student Learning" Summer training for educators through the College of Extended Learning. 

  • MOVEMENT AND THE EVERYDAY (2020) An Orff movement course I attended in Summer taught by Mika Inouye.

  • TRAUMA INFORMED TEACHING FOR MUSIC EDUCATORS (2020) A summer Orff course on trauma-informed, and healing-engaged teaching practices in the music classroom, taught by Patrick Ware. 

  • LITTLE KIDS ROCK (2019) This modern method of teaching music was created to reach students who are not served by a traditional music program. It uses kinesthetic, iconic and language based approaches to scaffold music education to serve all students.  

  • SF-CESS TRAINING (2018) This training is focused on SpEd kids ensuring and equitable access for them. It is a week-long training which continues all-year in a iGroup of your peers, so you are supported in implementing the program. 

  • INVENTING OUR FUTURE (2018) This professional development training was through the Alameda County Office of Education and focused on arts integration in secondary grades, as a means to reach equity for students not being reached by the educational system, students living in poverty, traumatized students, and students surviving toxic stress. 

  • ORFF MUSIC TEACHER TRAINING (2004-2006) I have completed levels I and II- as well as the Music and Movement course- of the Orff Music Teacher Training. Orff is a play-based way of teaching singing, music and movement to kids using improvisation, dance, and integration between the arts and academics. 

  • ANTI-OPPRESSION TRAINING (2001) This training was a weekly workshop for six weeks, led by author Elizabeth Martinez and other Bay Area activists. This particular training was for white activists, specifically to unpack white privilege and connect it to other oppressions. 

  • MUSIC TOGETHER TEACHER TRAINING (2007) The Music Together program is for children aged 0-5 and their parents and focuses on integrating perceptual motor skills, early language and coordination skills into a culturally rich music program, and results in a certification. 


References available upon request




        Local girl makes good. I grew up in the Bay Area and have been teaching music in San Francisco public schools for twenty years, as a teaching artist. I love being a part of the solution for our next generation. Music has helped me overcome a lot in my life and is a limitless tool for kids and teachers to achieve more than they thought possible. 

         I have created a music curriculum that is hip, physical, funny, game-based, well-paced, colorful, and academically integrated. No matter what grade I am with, the need to think creatively in order to present material in ways that every student can connect with is essential. When a student is struggling with something in my class, my first approach is to make it physical, vocal and visual, and then to make a game out of it. 

          I came in to fitness late in life, and so it has not been an easy road, but I recently completed my first Triathlon and I have taken all the lessons that the sport has taught me- such as mental toughness and the importance of scaffolding small steps for your self- and put them into my music curriculum.

          I earned a B.A. in music (with a jazz and music education emphasis), as well as a secondary music credential with ELA, and am working on a Masters of Arts in Music Education from San Francisco State University. My goal is to take my curriculum ideas and experience all the way to the state level and write curriculum that will be implemented in under-resourced and under-performing schools throughout California. I want to disrupt the opportunity gap that exists in our public schools, and radically change the way the arts serve our kids. I would hopefully be able to train music teachers and classroom teachers on how to let music help their kids soar not only academically but in their social-emotional development, leadership skills, creative thinking, improvisation and self-expression.

Professional Memberships: 

  • NAfME- National Association for Music Education

  • DTMR- Decolonizing The Music Room

  • CMEA- California Music Education Association

  • NCAOSA- Northern California American Orff Schulwerk Association

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