Meet The Grammy-Nominated Teacher Using Music To Help Students Heal

Meet the Grammy-nominated teacher who is being recognized for his efforts to help students heal through music.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Grammy-Nominated Teacher

There are plenty of negative news stories showcasing the darker side of teachers and public education. But bad news travels fast, and it’s often the pillars of society that go unrecognized for their efforts in educating our country’s next generation. Teachers like Trevor Nicholas, the Grammy-nominated teacher from the metro of Chicago, deserve all the praise we can give them for their extensive efforts to not only educate students through these tough times but help them heal as well.

Trevor Nicholas has been a music teacher and choral director within Chicago Public Schools since 2012. This Sunday, the Grammy-nominated teacher will attend the 64th annual Grammy Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. A major feat, the teacher was just one of 10 music teachers semifinalists selected for the recognition out of more than 1,135 national teacher nominees across America. The award category recognizes teachers who have made a lasting impact on music education. 

So what exactly caught the attention of the prestigious music award show? It was Nicholas’ joint effort in creating a collaborative viral video in which he brought together Chicago students, staff, and alumni of the Nicholas Senn High School to craft a music ensemble at the beginning of the pandemic. The project featured gospel artist Trey McLaughlin, an adjunct professor at St. Thomas. The song, titled Who Will Carry Me? was written and composed by the Grammy-nominated teacher himself. It even caught the attention of the famous American cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. Nicholas can be seen in the video below, playing the piano. 

The Grammy-nominated teacher made the music video as a means to address the trauma in his students’ lives. Quite successful, the music video has been viewed over 100 thousand times. It even received a screening during the World’s Fair in Dubai.

While the music video is compelling, Trevor Nicholas deserves the recognition for far more reasons than just the viral video. As he told the University of St. Thomas, his passion wasn’t always just about music, but also about helping children cultivate themselves through the healing powers of music.  The Grammy-nominated teacher had an uphill battle when he first started in the Chicago public school system in 2012.

Grammy-nominated teacher

Back then, he said no one was interested in taking a music class. In fact, Nicholas recalled his first day working as a music teacher, when a fellow staff member informed him that nobody signed up for his class. The Grammy-nominated teacher knew he was facing plenty of tribulations. But look where it got him – a highly coveted award nomination and the respect of students who can be seen throughout the video. 

Nicholas had big ambitions long before he began teaching students through music. Even before attending college, he thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could go to school to become a music teacher and help unlock the healing power of music for others?” Knowing his mission, the Grammy-nominated teacher’s goal has always been to “do something that would mean something to the students.” Nicholas will attend the Grammy awards ceremony this coming Sunday night. If he wins the award, he will also be given a $10,000 personal honorarium and a matching grant for their schools’ music program. Even if he doesn’t win, he will still receive a $1,000 honorarium alongside a matching dollar grant.