Exploring World Cultures Through Music and More!

Imani Gonzalez

Led by Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Imani Gonzalez, this free teacher retreat will begin by exploring the cultures of Cuba and Africa through children's songs, rhythms, stories and artifacts. Teachers will then learn how to immerse their students in Jazz by tracing its musical and cultural roots. 

Teachers will leave this retreat with free lesson materials to take back to their classrooms, including CDs, books, and resource guides that align with the workshop content.

**This event will follow state and local health recommendations for the mitigation of COVID-19.


Part 1: Exploring World Cultures Through Music

In this workshop, teachers examine ways to help students learn about the rich diversity of cultures through activities based on authentic children’s songs, rhythms, stories, and artifacts. It gives us a tremendous new way to bring young people into the living, breathing vitality of other cultures. Students learn about the lifestyles and values of children in these faraway countries and come to appreciate the similarities and differences between these cultures and their own. 

Resources: Participants will receive a copy of the compact disc and book Iyipo Ayé along with a teacher study guide containing lyrics and background information on the cultures.

Part 2: Telling Your Story Through the Beat of Jazz

In this interactive workshop, teachers learn to immerse their students in the rich history of jazz as they trace its roots and influences through African traditional chants, work songs, spirituals, ragtime, and the blues. Participants explore strategies that are aligned with Writer’s Workshop to engage students in writing their own blues songs that express their emotions, thoughts, and experiences. 

Resources: Each participant receives the CD Beat of Jazz.


This retreat is FREE to South Carolina teachers. While the focus of the workshops is music, material can be easily adapted to any classroom setting. Workshop content is best suited to grades 3-6, but teachers of any grade level are welcome to attend. All workshop materials, meals, and hotel accommodations are included with registration. Professional development credit certificates are also provided.


November 12-13, 2021

Friday Evening - Welcome Reception/Meet and Greet (dinner provided)
Saturday - Workshops with Imani Gonzalez, Kennedy Center Artist (breakfast and lunch provided)


Workshops will take place on the Governor's School campus.

Thank you for your interest in this Teacher Retreat! Registration is currently closed.

**$50 deposit is required to secure reservation and refunded upon successful program completion. Please contact jeffrobinson@scgsah.org with any questions about deposits.

About Imani Gonzalez

Imani Gonzalez is an international and national professional jazz/world vocalist. Her voice is featured on many of the National Geographic Television’s Explorer Series soundtracks, including the Emmy-nominated film Jane Goodall: My Life with Chimpanzees. Imani has had the honor of performing, touring, and recording with renowned artist, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for 8 consecutive years.  She is a 2016 thru 2021 fellowship grant recipient for the DC Arts & Humanities Commission. Imani is a Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist, as well as on the rosters with Washington Performing Arts (WPA), and Inspired Child (IC). Since 1989, Imani has held the distinction of being the first and only American woman who tours with the traditional Ghanaian ensemble ODADAA. She has written two children’s world music books entitled, Dhimiki and Iyipo Ayé with sing-a-long compact discs, which have received rave reviews from teachers, students, universities and libraries.

About the Governor's School's Outreach Programs

As a part of the Governor’s School’s mission to serve as a resource to teachers across the state, the Office of Outreach provides professional learning opportunities to enrich arts education in South Carolina. Learn more.

First Citizens


This event is made possible by the generous support of the First Citizens Foundation.