Adam Canosa


Adam Canosa

School & School System Where You Work

Hillsborough Elementary, Orange County Public Schools

Number of Years Teaching


Teaching Area(s)


Grade Level

Elementary School

What do you love most about teaching music?

I adore how music unites people—a universal and diverse experience that nurtures both the intellectual and emotional dimensions of students.

Who inspired you to be a music educator and how did they inspire you?

Rather than a specific educator, my inspiration came from musical works. Shows such as Hairspray and Rent opened my eyes and heart to the struggles of people around me, and I wanted to have a role in helping others discover this beauty and truth for themselves.

What did you need the most when you started teaching?

The biggest hurdle for me entering the classroom was how best to handle classroom management. It is impossible to learn it in college, and I saw many of my colleagues hit that wall and quit quickly.

Describe the biggest challenge to teaching music education and how you have worked to overcome this challenge?

Over my decade in the classroom, the biggest barriers I face are a lack of funding, a lack of instructional time, and a lack of engaging, interactive, digital experiences that provide authentic embodied learning experiences. This was brought into focus during the pandemic, and even when we returned, we didn’t have the resources to overcome the learning loss we suffered. From a place of deep frustration, I managed to conceive of and code a novel game-based, blended learning platform for my students which completely changed the momentum of my program. My students and I worked collaboratively utilizing the design thinking process to test and fix bugs while developing new features to make the tool more engaging. Based on the success of the tool in my classroom, I was able to secure $38,000 in grants to improve the tool. I’m currently working to make it available widely. I’m also looking for pilot schools, so reach out if you are interested!

How do you advocate for your program?

Over my time in the classroom, I have often reached out to the PTA and families when a need arises. Donor’s choose has been a wonderful resource for crowdfunding new resources for my program. I’ve also worked with administration to secure optimal learning spaces and opportunities for my students to have authentic learning experiences.

What is one piece of advice you would give to beginning teachers?

I would highly recommend that a novice teacher read through the learning standards not only in their domain but in all the subjects their students are expected to learn. This helps the teacher identify potential cross-curricular learning opportunities as well as help to get a better feel for what their students preexisting knowledge is.

How do you build relationships with students and parents?

I enjoy my morning and afternoon duties such as car rider. I play music from a speaker outside, and I love having little check-ins with parents and families. Additionally, I love following my students’ progress through middle and high school, so I am constantly attending band and chorus concerts and all-county/district rehearsals.