The Mindfulness Video Project is a joint effort of professors and students from Millersville and Slippery Rock universities to provide mental health support to not only college music students, but to all students and teachers during these unprecedented times.
The Society for Music Teacher Education was founded in 1982 through the National Association for Music Education as a special group for members with an interest in music education. This past summer, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association chapter of the Society for Music Teacher Education, formed a task force for best practices in music teacher preparation for a COVID-19 environment, mainly focusing on supporting the mental health of student teachers. One of the results of this task force was the PMEA/SMTE Mindfulness Video Series.
Dr. Joseph Cernuto, assistant professor of music at Millersville as well as director of the Marching Marauders and conductor of the wind ensemble, worked alongside Dr. Emily Davis from the College of Education and Human Services to help create over 20 recordings of both MU and SRU students narrating 1-3-minute mindfulness exercises. The project was done in collaboration with Dr. Kathleen Melago from SRU and the Millersville University Communications and Marketing department. Millersville class of ‘23 students Christina Flores and Noah Manno and SRU students Hannah d’Egidio and Mike McGarrigle helped narrate the recordings.
Cernuto, who was familiar with Davis’ work as a mindfulness expert, suggested that they could work together to create the exercises to help students destress, relax and focus.
“Early on we discovered organically that this project won’t just help college students – they are also relevant and applicable for practicing teachers and school students to do,” shares Cernuto of the mindfulness exercises, “These exercises can be done privately to help center and focus before, during, or after the workday or can be led by teachers with a class to help the class center, focus, and destress. We hope that provides a little mental health support during these trying times.”
The playlist is listed on the PMEA website, which has a reach of thousands of music educators across Pennsylvania and the region. The complete video products are also available as a playlist on the Tell School of Music YouTube channel which can be accessed here.