What Teachers Can Learn From Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson is as real as one can get when one is a successful touring musician and when one's music has been featured in episodes of several popular television shows, including Scrubs, Bones , Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill, as well as in Old Navy's Fall 2007 Fair Isle advertising campaign. When 'I Just Want to Be OK' is the chorus of one of your songs-you have wide appeal. Looking like the attractive girl next door doesn't hurt.


Attending a live performance of one of her concerts as I had the great fortune to do this week (at Pearl Street in Northampton, MA) , one learns that Miss Michaelson is smart, quirky, talented, playful and fully in touch with and manipulative of the vibe in the room. It's exactly what we teachers need-to be able to control the vibe in the room, with finesse. Here are some other Micahelson-isms that worked and are worth noting.


  • Tap prior knowledge (She had the audience sing TV theme shows-Full House, Golden Girls..this happened spontaneously when she began humming a few bars of each.)
  • Mix it up (she played different instruments, we can change the delivery, tools, venue). -DO same thing in new ways (she sang The Way I Am twice..once as known and then again-as an encore- as a punk rock parody. Brilliant!)
  • Show gratitude (genuinely)
  • Connect and be accessible (she asked questions of audience members close to her and made reference to the new information we learn later. We can do the same w/students)
  • Tell stories (we now know that she once taught Children's Theater and the kids has a hard time walking in a straight line--her telling had us all in stitches.)
  • Have fun (You can't fake this)

Song Demo- Walk Away (just for a little extra)
[Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]

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1 comment :

Shannon said...

I am a teacher and I love Ingrid as well! You made some great points and having seen Ingrid's show a few times recently I totally see what you are talking about but hadn't thought of it until now. Nice! I don't know if you have twitter but if you do you should tweet it to Ingrid. She often reads the tweets from fans and responds back. She would appreciate what you wrote!