Virginia music trainer Annie Ray wins 2024 Grammy Music Educator Award


Annie Ray, a music trainer and orchestra chief from Annandale, Virginia, has been named the winner of the 2024 Music Educator Award. The distinguished honor, offered by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum, acknowledges Ray’s contribution to music training.

Ray, who teaches at Annandale Excessive College, mentioned she encourages her college students to try for excellence and transcend what they assume they will do. She additionally mentioned she needs college students to be weak and make errors in order that they will get higher. 

“It’s a must to be very loud and daring and be prepared to make unhealthy sounds earlier than you learn to make good sounds. So in my classroom, they be taught confidence as a result of they simply must shed their inhibitions, and simply go for it,” Ray mentioned.

And it is a lesson her college students embrace.

“I might say that additionally applies to some other class of life.  It’s a must to begin out unhealthy and you need to be working at to ensure that it to enhance,” mentioned Matt, certainly one of Ray’s college students.

These qualities she teaches have considerably impacted her college students from numerous backgrounds. Sosan Barakzai, who moved to Annandale from Afghanistan, describes Ray as a good friend and mentor who’s at all times obtainable for steerage.

“She’s somebody that opens her door of a small workplace on a regular basis to speak about something. She’s somebody that talks to you as a good friend,” mentioned Barakzai.

Ray leads the Crescendo Orchestra, which features a vital variety of particular training college students from Annandale Excessive’s numerous scholar physique. She tailors her educating strategies to fulfill the distinctive wants of those college students, together with utilizing methods like color-coded strings and cardboard devices.

“I knew as soon as I began working with the Crescendo children, there’s simply a lot extra potential right here of what it actually means to fulfill them the place they’re at,” mentioned Ray.

Ray’s influence extends past the classroom. Kevin Jaramillo, a former scholar, is now a collaborator within the Crescendo Orchestra.

Scott Engdahl, Kevin’s godfather and guardian, mentioned it meant so much to him to see him carry out with the orchestra.

“We noticed him at a live performance for the primary time. And it is … he loves music,” mentioned Engdahl. 

As Ray prepares to attend the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, she appears ahead to doubtlessly assembly a few of her musical heroes, together with British singer-songwriter Jacob Collier. Ray shares a private reference to Collier’s music, notably the music “Little Blue,” which was launched earlier than a detailed good friend of hers died. 

“That music has been so defining to me,” mentioned Ray.

The Grammys will probably be broadcast reside on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Sunday, Feb. 4, starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

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