The 2020 recipient will receive:

  • A $3,000 honorarium
  • A $1,000 grant awarded to their school
  • Two tickets to the 62nd GRAMMY Awards® in Los Angeles, plus travel and accommodations
  • ...and will be honored at a special GRAMMY Museum event in Los Angeles!

DEADLINE: All applications must be received by 5:00 PM PST on December 6, 2019

For application guidelines and FAQs, please click here.

For more information about the program and our FREE professional development resources for teachers, please see below. 


Explore Teacher Webinars

Explore Teacher Workshops

Click here to view each award recipient’s unit.

Click here for additional lesson plans/units.


The Jane Ortner Education Award celebrates K-12 educators who integrate music into English, social studies, math, science, and foreign language instruction. Applicants submit one original unit of lessons that incorporates music and are then eligible for prizes and unique professional opportunities. In addition to our annual award, the program offers free professional development webinars, workshops in Los Angeles and across the country, and an online library of music-integrated lessons for use in the classroom.

The Jane Ortner Artist Award recognizes an artist who embodies the Museum's educational mission and shows passion and dedication to education through the arts.

Jane Ortner was a devoted and beloved public school teacher who valued music as a powerful tool for teaching academic subjects.  Through the daily use of music in her classroom, Mrs. Ortner instilled in her students creativity, confidence in their abilities, a sense of community, and a love of learning. In her memory, the GRAMMY Museum and the Ortner family are proud to honor K-12 academic educators who foster a creative learning environment and enhance the educational experience through the use of music.

What are the requirements?

  • Complete the application
  • Submit an original unit of lessons for your English language arts, social studies, science, math, or foreign language class. It must incorporate music as a tool for teaching course content.
  • A unit can focus on foreign language instruction (e.g. lessons for Spanish class) but the submission itself must be in English.
  • Each teacher must complete his/her own application. There are no team submissions and there is no nomination process for the Jane Ortner Education Award.

Who can participate?

  • Elementary, middle, and high school educators who teach English language arts, social studies, science, math, or a foreign language.
  • Previous recipients of the Jane Ortner Education Award are ineligible.

Do I have to sing or play an instrument?

No – educators don’t have to sing or play an instrument, although we encourage the exploration of artistic abilities! 

What are some examples of lessons that incorporate music?

Click here to view each award recipient's unit

Click here to view additional teacher submitted units

What are the prizes?

The 2019 recipient will receive:

  • A $3,000 honorarium
  • A $1,000 grant awarded to their school
  • Two tickets to the 61st GRAMMY Awards® in Los Angeles, plus travel and accommodations
  • ...and will be honored at a special GRAMMY Museum event in Los Angeles!

How do I apply?


DEADLINE: December 1, 2018

The adjudication process:

Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of teachers and education administrators.

Our judges recommend that you keep these criteria in mind when preparing your curriculum:

  • Creativity 
  • Teachability – can the curriculum be implemented successfully and with ease?
  • Transferability – can the general design of the lesson(s) be modified for students of different ages/grade levels?
  • Level of engagement – will students be actively engaged in a number of ways? (e.g. writing, discussing, working in a group/individually, and so on)

What if I have additional questions?

Please write to us at [email protected]

Jane Ortner Education Award Recipients


Heather Moore – 11th Grade U.S. History

Arcadia High School – Arcadia, CA          

"Getting Happy – Life in the Great Depression"

Download Unit

Heather Moore majored in history at Occidental College in 2003 and earned her master's in teaching the following year. She has been teaching US History at Arcadia High School for 15 years, including Advanced Placement, college prep, and US History courses for English Learners. At Arcadia, Heather is also the faculty adviser to the Student Council Apache Commission and the subject lead for US History. She married her high school sweetheart, Michael, and together they have two children, April, 8, and David, 4. Heather is active in her church, particularly with children's ministries and music, enjoys reading, is an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan, and is trying to train her puppy not to destroy the house. 


Lois MacMillan – 8th Grade U.S. History

South Middle School – Grants Pass, Ore.           

Rappin' History: Composing Historical Raps in the Classroom (with Lessons Integrating Historical Raps from "Hamilton") 

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Lois MacMillan's unit contains numerous lessons linking the Founding Era to the GRAMMY®-winning Broadway musical "Hamilton." Aiming to harness the excitement of her students, MacMillan tasked students with creating original rap songs as an extension of primary and secondary source analysis and annotation. The unit also provides a stand-alone framework for creating original rap pieces in non-music subject classrooms.


Nathan Strayhorn – 10th Grade English

Fayetteville High School – Fayetteville, AR

The Ballad of the American Dream: Songs of The Great Gatsby

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Nathan's own love for listening to and making music led to his creation of a songwriting-centered curriculum used to bolster students’ understanding of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel The Great Gatsby. ​After reading The Great Gatsby, students learned about the poetic and musical origins of the ballad and how it became an American narrative song tradition. The class studied different approaches to ballads by artists such as Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Warren G. Students were ultimately tasked with writing their own ballads in groups, utilizing both the musical talents of their peers and digital music resources. Each composition adhered to a class rubric, relayed the individual narrative of one of the characters, and communicated a major theme from the novel: the gain and loss of the American Dream. The project culminated in a live performance and recorded album of Gatsby ballads.


Jonathan Bernal – 8th Grade English

Topaz Preparatory Academy – Hesperia, CA

The Outsiders: A “Tuff” Study of the Novel Through Music 

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Jonathan’s curriculum is built around the exploration of identity—specifically group identity versus individuality—using S. E. Hinton's coming-of-age novel The Outsiders as the central component. In this unit students unpack the novel, study the role of identity in key movements of the 1960s, and analyze notable songs, poetry, and other supplemental written works. For their final project, students work in groups to create and record a radio show.


Kylie Ko – 5th Grade Science (Dual-Language Korean/English)

Mark Keppel Elementary School – Glendale, CA

Broadway Stars

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Kylie’s “Broadway Stars” theme-based curriculum was developed to teach her students about plant structures and life science, incorporating both Korean and English. Together with their teacher, students create a mini-musical consisting of songs, dialogue, movement, and technology.


Sunshine Cavalluzzi – 11th and 12th Grade Economics

El Dorado High School – Placentia, CA

Money, Money, Money: Musiconomics!

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Sunshine’s curriculum teaches concepts in economics through activities that explore the music industry and its financial relationships. Students also study songs that focus on socio-economic conditions and work in groups to create an original song that incorporates course content.


Erica Amann and Sunshine Cavalluzzi – 11th and 12th Grade Social Sciences

El Dorado High School – Placentia, CA

Give Peace - or Amazing Grace! - a Chance

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In this team-created project, students collaborate in groups to analyze protest songs and sacred songs. They explore the meaning and context of songs, the effectiveness of expression through music, and seek out similarities and differences between songs from a wide variety of cultures, faiths, movements, and religions. (*Note: this activity is undertaken as a collaborative exercise between two elective classes—Contemporary World Affairs and Comparative Religions—but the structure would work in any class.)


Bianca Wilson Cole – 9th and 10th Grade English

Washington Preparatory High School – Los Angeles, CA

Fences: An Odyssey Through Music

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Bianca’s curriculum is built around August Wilson’s Fences. Students analyze how song lyrics from a variety of genres reflect the conflicts (either internal or external) characters from the play endure. They are also tasked with writing an essay that demonstrates the evolution of a dynamic character in Fences, using specific examples and textual evidence. 


Nicole Naditz – High School French

Bella Vista High School – Fair Oaks, CA

Noteworthy Language: Using Music to Build Second Language Knowledge and Cultural Proficiency

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Nicole’s curriculum contains activities and ideas for teachers of world languages and English language development. The class activities, broken down into six sections, are described in English but are intended to be done in the target language. As a result, the curriculum is designed to work with music in any language. 

Jane Ortner Artist Award Recipients


Lady Gaga


Jackson Browne


Janelle Monáe


John Legend

Additional Units

(listed by ascending grade level - click to download)