Summer Institute For Educators

Summer Institute for Educators

Abstract image of vinyl record with text "Get in the Groove: Foundations for a Funky Classroom"

Get in the Groove: Foundations for a Funky Classroom

Mon, July 15-Thurs, July 18, 2024 • 9:00am-4:30pm
Metropolitan Arts Center (126 N. Main St, Dayton OH)
Free to all teachers and administrators (preK-12, any subject)

Register For The Institute

Dayton is the land of funk – and the musical and technological innovations of young Black musicians from Dayton’s west side live on today. Join us for a “fantastic voyage” into funk’s legacy and future while discovering this music’s capacity for creative self-expression and community-building in any classroom. Teacher attendees can earn 28 seat hours and/or three graduate credits.

Explore guiding questions that will frame the year’s professional development series:

  1. What is funk and why is Dayton the home of funk?
  2. What is Dayton funk’s artistic and aesthetic legacy?
  3. What is “the groove” and how can it improve our capacity as learners?
  4. What can funk music and the story of Dayton funk teach us about the personal agency of young people?
  5. What qualities/social factors are necessary for a community to nurture creative self-expression among young people?
  6. How does sharing personal narratives help a community to shape/understand its past and its future?

Activities will be accessible, relevant and fun for teachers of all grade levels, subject areas and artistic proclivity.

As Muse has done in the past, institute artists will continue to offer year-round professional development for all teachers through curriculum development workshops. The Muse staff and teaching artists will support teachers as they bring institute-inspired activities into their learning approaches and celebrate the creative spirit that lies within all students.

Companion Book Lists

Muse is partnering with the Dayton Metro Library to create book lists for children, teens and adults about funk music, Black futurism, and the intersection of music, art and personal agency.

Seat Hours & UD Credit Hours

There are two ways for participating teachers to earn seat or credit hours (and you can do both!):
  • Earn 28 seat hours for attending the Summer Institute (four days).
  • Earn three University of Dayton credit hours for attending the Summer Institute (four days).

Additional Discounts

The Summer Institute is free, but teachers from participating high schools and middle schools can earn an additional Muse discount! If a Muse teacher registers for and attends all four days of the institute, their school receives an additional $50 discount off the 2024-25 in-school performance total. This is in addition to the $100 participating schools may receive for scheduling three or more 2024-25 in-school performances by May 31, 2024. Maximum one $50 discount per school for Summer Institute attendance and one $100 discount per school for early scheduling of in-school performances.

Summer Institute 2024 Preview Workshop

Deron Bell at piano and LaFrae Sci at a drum and laptop

Tuesday, May 14, 2024
4:00-6:00 PM
126 N. Main St., Dayton, OH

Join fellow educators and teaching artists for a sneak peek at the fun in store this summer! LaFrae Sci and Deron Bell – both teaching artists, musicians and educators – lead this FREE hands-on, dynamic workshop for every teacher interested in Summer Institute 2024.

Support for Muse Machine’s Summer Institute for Educators is provided by

Ohio Arts Council • Martha Holden Jennings Foundation • Matt Moore & Janet Graul • Transformative Justice Initiative

Register For The Institute

Summer Institute 2024 Artist Bios

Deron Bell is a music director, recording artist, co-leader of the Dayton Funk All-Stars Band, music/vocal technology clinician and restorative circle practices-licensed practitioner since 2015 with the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP). Deron has shared the stage with over 30 nationally-known recording artists such as Kirk Whalum, Zapp with Shirley Murdock, and Bootsy Collins. He is currently the music director for the award-winning, internationally recognized Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Deron has developed a school-based interactive music tool ( so that non-musicians can engage with students through music. Deron uses music and music technology as tools in the classroom to build positive classroom cultures creatively.

Born in north-central Appalachia, Omope Carter Daboiku (Mama O) is a storyteller, wordsmith and multimedia artist. Her company Homeside, Ltd., sponsored Odushima Nigerian Dance Opera to Cincinnati’s International Festival with weeklong drum/dance/cuisine workshops, leading to an SRO performance. Designated as a master teaching artist in 1990 by the Ohio Arts Council, Mama O has performed across the US and on four continents, including a tour in Turkey for the U.S. Department of State and lectures in Germany on quilting as a cottage industry. Her art skills are as varied as the characters she voices: bak design, clay, heritage cuisine, needlecraft and weaving. An award-winning community producer for WYSO radio (91.3 FM), she has been published in several regional journals and anthologies; samples of her digital and oral storytelling are on YouTube. She began working with Muse Machine in 2020, conducting creative writing workshops about place, identity and culture that become staged readings.

Reginald H. Harmon is a visual artist, musician, art educator and music producer from Dayton, Ohio. His artistry reflects the social consciousness that embodies the culture of the black community. His mediums for expression are as widely ranged as are his subject matter and style. Reginald attended the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. He is an accomplished saxophone player, appearing in venues throughout the U.S and the Caribbean. He is also the founder and CEO of Infinite Concepts LLC, located in Dayton, Ohio. He released his first music project in 2005 entitled, “Follow the Light.” His philosophy is that the arts are of critical importance to the entire academic experience.

Reginald Harmon headshot

Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of funk music, Mariah Johnson has a deep and passionate love for Afro-indigenous culture and history and consistently uses her platform and music to speak out on issues affecting women of color. She is a graduate of Stivers School for the Arts and Wright State University with a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership with a focus on youth and community engagement. She has performed and shared stages with gospel artists such as Amante Lacey, Isaiah Templeton, Jonathan McReynolds, Tonya Baker and Timothy Reddick. She is also a music producer. Mariah released her debut EP, When You Call On Freedom’s Name, in December 2019.

Maria Johnson headshot

LaFrae Sci is an internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, educator, composer and electro-acoustic adventurer originally from Dayton, Ohio. Bedrock to her artistry is the roots and the fruits of the blues from spirituals to afro-diasporic futuristic soundscapes that explore time travel, prayer, meditation and the African American ecstatic tradition. As a composer, she writes for film, theater and large and extended jazz and classical orchestras. To date, LaFrae has shared her intentional creativity in 40 countries. Currently, LaFrae is an Educational Fellow writing curriculum for Apollo Theater Education. LaFrae is also the Executive Director/Director of Artistic Programming at Willie Mae Future Sounds named after Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. W.M.F.S. is a STEAM-based, year-round empowerment through a music program that includes social justice, Afro Diasporic futurism, critical thinking and leadership, through the lens of the blues tradition for girls and gender non-conforming youth in New York City.

LaFrae Sci headshot

Rodney Veal is an independent choreographer and interdisciplinary artist, serving as adjunct faculty for Sinclair Community College. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a B.S in Political Science and Visual Arts and The Ohio State University with an MFA in Choreography. Rodney currently serves as President of the board of trustees of Ohio Dance and on the boards of Friends of Levitt Pavilions Dayton, Dayton Live, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, WYSO and Homefull. He is the recipient of several MCACD grants and fellowships. Several of his works have been performed as part of the Ohio Dance Festival and other regional dance festivals. He was one of five artists chosen nationwide to participate in the Blue Sky Dayton Project Artist in Residency Program held in collaboration with the University of Dayton. Rodney can currently be seen as the Host of the Emmy© Award winning Television series The Art Show on Think TV Channel 16.

Rodney Veal headshot

Jazz calls us to engage with our national identity. It gives us expression to the beauty of democracy and of personal freedom and of choosing to embrace humanity of all types of people. It really is what American democracy is supposed to be.

Wynton Marsalis