Session Descriptions

Click a link below to jump to one of our Session Categories:

Dynamic Developments
Educating Teachers of Teachers (ETT) Track
Embracing & Evolving
Finely-Tuned Musicians
Instrumental Track (IT)
Legacy/History
Refining Folk Song Research
Reflective Practices
Regroup, Refocus & Renew
Secondary Choral Track (SCT)


Dynamic Developments

Sarah Bartolome, Christopher Roberts
World Music Pedagogy in the General Music Classroom
This clinic will explore applications of World Music Pedagogy (WMP)(Campbell, 2018) in the elementary general music classroom. A brief overview of the five phases of WMP (Attentive, Engaged, and Enactive Listening; Creating World Music; Integrating World Music) will be presented and a rationale for WMP in music education will be forwarded. Then, each of the phases will be explored through participatory music-making activities. Participants will engage in a series of listening, creating, and integrating world music activities designed to complement existing curricula. Activities will feature musical traditions, including Japan, India, and Ukraine. Considerations for developing interdisciplinary connections and for working with culture bearers will also be offered. The session will conclude with suggestions for successful, sustainable WMP practice and time for questions and discussion. This clinic will be useful for general music educators seeking to teach diverse musical cultures in meaningful and ethically responsible ways.

Jonathan Dillon
Scoring a Video Game: Broadening Conceptions of Music Literacy
Many Kodály-inspired general music teachers engage older students in notation-based composition lessons. But how might composition instruction look and sound when expanded to embrace a broader range of personally-meaningful art forms, such as video game scoring? And what might such an expansion mean for the ways in which Kodály-inspired teachers frame music literacy? In this session, participants will explore variations on a project-based unit in which students (grades 4 and up) score a video game. Participants will then learn about the technology involved, collaboratively brainstorm further project variations, and develop specific plans for implementing those ideas in their own classrooms. Join us to learn more about engaging general music students in meaningful musical experiences through video game scoring!

Melissa Fuller Flores
Our Folk Dance is Poppin’: Folk Dances with a Twist
Folk dancing reinforces beat, deepens understanding of form, teaches spatial awareness, and develops social skills. Let’s join together to take familiar folk dances and add them to the popular songs your students know and love. Together we will dance to these tunes and learn how to adapt your own songs to familiar folk dances that your students go bananas for.

Kristin Marchilena
Embracing the Now: Using Popular Music to Unleash Student Creativity
The Kodály approach guides us to bring students from the known to the unknown, the familiar to the unfamiliar, using their musical mother tongue as the source material. Now more than ever, popular music is our students’ musical mother tongue. Every student in our classes and ensembles is a creative, musical being who consumes large quantities of music on a daily basis. While most of our students will not go on to be music majors, all of our students can leave our classrooms with the skills and desire to consume and create music with intention and artistry. This session will explore song repertoire, musical concepts, and pedagogical tools for immediate use with students. It is geared toward teachers of traditional school-based ensembles and general music, as well as those with nontraditional classes such as modern band, songwriting, music production, and more. Through a combination of active music-making, lecture-style presentation, and discussion, this session will invite participants to consider ways to evolve their pedagogy and refocus on student creativity while remaining firmly grounded in the Kodály approach.

Andra Vaughn
You “Canva” Do It: Creating Engaging Visuals and Manipulatives
Why buy digital resources when you can create your own engaging materials customized to meet your teaching style and students’ needs for free? Learn how to use Canva, a free user-friendly online design platform, to create your own stunning visuals for song materials, hands-on manipulatives, and more. Easily integrate your designs to print or to present digitally using Canva’s presentation tools, PowerPoint, or Google Slides.

back to top


Educating Teachers of Teachers (ETT) Track

Rebecca Lakes
ETT: This is Our Space: Culturally Responsive Teaching in the Pedagogy/Materials Classroom
This session will provide suggestions for Pedagogy and Materials Levels Instructors to make their classrooms more culturally responsive in their repertoire choices and pedagogical applications. Participants also will have time and space to share ideas and collaborate as we work toward a more inclusive teacher training experience.

Georgia Newlin
ETT: Reflecting on Repertoire
Examples and discussion on inclusive repertoire for Musicianship, Conducting, and Ensemble in Kodály Teacher Training programs.

Michele Paynter Paise, Becky Halliday
ETT: Andragogy vs. Pedagogy: Balancing the Two in Kodály Certification Programs
Being a teacher of teachers is sometimes challenging. Those who do it have taught or currently teach children, yet adults learn in very different ways. In this session, we will examine the difference between how adults and children learn and the delicate balance instructors in certification programs must execute when teaching adults (andragogy) about the Kodály approach to music education for children (pedagogy).

Jill Trinka
ETT: Refining Folk Song Research: Contemporary Balladry and George Floyd
In 1950, and revised in 1964, G. Malcolm Laws constructed a classification system of ballads created in response to events occurring on American soil. There is no question that the murder of George Floyd in 2020 impacted the world. What you may not know is that some people were so significantly moved as to turn their personal grief, confusion, consternation, rage, and pain into artful messages – in the form of ballads, using time-honored techniques. In this session participants will be introduced to video and audio recordings of several new and profound works by Black and White songsters, demonstrating that contemporary balladry is very much alive, and that such material may well be added to canon of American Balladry.

back to top


Embracing & Evolving

Alicia Brown
Demonstration: Exploring ELL Strategies through Spanish-Language Folk Music
Does your vision for your classroom include cultural affirmation for all students? Are you looking to incorporate non-English materials in a pedagogically relevant way? Are you searching for bilingual and ELL teaching strategies? Many of us serve students with a first language other than English. As Kodály teachers, we can use the Prepare, Present (Make-Conscious), Practice model to promote the language and cultural skills our students will need to be successful in our classrooms. In this workshop, educators will observe students from Chicago Public Schools singing, dancing, playing, and exploring music literacy using Spanish-language folk music from throughout North and South America. Participants a will explore through reflection what a culturally affirming Kodály classroom for all can look like. Learn skills to teach language and music skills simultaneously. This workshop will be a combination of student demonstration and critical reflection for teachers.

Cordara Harper, Ramon Jackson
Intentionally Engaging Kodály and Orff Strategies with Urban Learners
This session aims to provide practical applications to help music educators engage Kodàly and Orff-inspired strategies using the music of the Black Diaspora in urban settings. Teachers who successfully teach music to students in urban environments require an understanding of culture and community. At times, teaching is hard work, and many music educators avoid the joy of teaching in urban settings due to a lack of training, identity, or fear. Being culturally-relevant allows for teacher/student(s) growth and inclusion collaboratively. This engagement will enable teachers to learn about themselves and their students, develop a supportive classroom environment, and remain culturally-relevant in the K-12 setting. In this session, we will share our experiences as music educators and the music teaching approaches we have developed through connecting Kodàly and Orff-inspired methods. Attendees will leave with tools and resources to support diversity, equity, inclusion, access, belonging, and creating an intentional learning environment through Kodály and Orff’s inspired practices.

Jason Jones
I Can Move, Too: Movement for Young Musicians with Mobility Differences
The Kinesthetic Phase of the Kodály approach is essential to help young musicians embody the target musical concept. However, not all musicians’ bodies are the same, and, thus, shouldn’t be expected to move and function the same. In this session, Jones, a differently-abled Kodály and Dalcroze-inspired teacher, will demonstrate adaptations and modifications to empower teachers to use movement with all students. The session will focus on what students CAN do rather than what they canNOT do. Participants of all experience levels will depart with practical strategies to help all musicians, especially those with a mobility difference, succeed in the kinesthetic phase and, thus, embody musical concepts.

Jana Martin
Demonstration: High Five Choir: An Affirming Choir For All Students
The Wilmette High Five Junior Choir strives to provide a safe, affirming learning environment in which students of all abilities come together to create and experience music, build friendships, and raise awareness against stereotypes of differently-abled people. This session will include a demo rehearsal, preceded by information and strategies that you can apply in your classroom or ensemble teaching context to raise ability awareness and show students how to uplift and support each other. Students in the demonstration are in grades 5-8.

Liza Meyers
Implicit and Instructional Bias in the Music Classroom
As OAKE celebrates 50 years of conferences in the US, we are presented with the perfect time to reflect on how much education, our society, and societal views have changed since the genesis of Kodály in America, often for the better. We have begun to have more conversations about equity and inclusion and are considering more deeply the materials we use in our classrooms. Still, unconscious/implicit bias and instructional bias can still exist in our music classrooms. What are implicit bias and instructional biases and how can they impact our students’ classroom experiences despite our best intentions? “We cannot unlearn what we are too afraid to acknowledge.” – Michelle Kim. Come join the conversation for a more inclusive Kodály classroom.

Sarah Reyes
Music of India: Embracing the Universal Human Experience
This session will take you on an immersive journey to the Indian subcontinent through its music. India’s deeply rooted music traditions are alive and flourishing in communities in India and the Indian diaspora found throughout the world. This workshop will share some Indian folk songs that speak to the universal human experience echoing down through the centuries and give attendees some background information and context for Carnatic music, music of the masters of southern India. Experiencing and exploring these richly beautiful folk songs and classical music shared by culture bearers gives participants a glimpse into the soul of India, its warm, open and generous people and the musical heritage that has been nurtured over thousands of years and continues to blossom in the hearts and artistry of her people and incredibly talented musicians today.

back to top


Finely-Tuned Musicians

Mandy Algate
All Together Now: Cooperative Learning in Elementary Music
Cooperative learning structures empower students to confidently engage their individual musical skills while working creatively in an interdependent environment. This session will include an exploration and demonstration of a variety of cooperative learning structures, including suggestions to allow seamless integration of these structures into any Kodály-inspired music lesson. Algate will demonstrate several strategies through audience participation, as well as provide video footage of students from her own public school classroom utilizing the strategies during her music classes. At the conclusion of the session, participants will be empowered to successfully utilize cooperative learning structures in their own music classrooms.

Susan Brumfield
From Classroom to Chorus: Building on the K-5 Foundation
It’s a big leap from the “happy circle” of the K-5 music class to the structure and pace of a choral rehearsal. There’s a lot to learn, and even kids who love to sing can be overwhelmed and intimidated by the change in their environment. Making connections between your rehearsals and the musical skills your singers bring with them from the K-5 classroom is essential when it comes to helping them feel successful in choir. Building on the “other” musical skills (playing instruments, literacy, composition, improvisation, memory, inner hearing and part-work) can build confidence and keep young singers engaged as they grow into choral musicians. Fast-paced and fun, student-tested and approved, these activities fit easily into your rehearsal and lesson plans, with minimum planning and maximum results. We will explore 5-7 minute practice activities designed to save planning time and to provide efficient and fun ways to deliver instruction and assess your singers’ progress in all areas of musical skill.

Darla Eshelman, Suzanne Morrison
Choral Development vs. Willy-Nilly Warm-Ups
This session will provide 20 choral development exercises that can be used with any age level in the choral setting. The clinicians will explain and present carefully planned, Kodály inspired choral development exercises. These exercises will encourage teachers to have a mindset of “choral development” rather than frequently used “warm-ups”, which often do not have a clear conceptual and skill building purpose. Calling the beginning of each rehearsal “Choral Development” rather than warm-ups carries a reminder and encouragement for teachers to provide carefully planned, challenging and motivating exercises that foster ear training, audiation, intervallic, scale and harmonic structures, and musical independence in your singers. In addition, these will easily transfer and make strong connections to any selected repertoire.

Leigh Ann Garner
Totally Tuned In: Cultivating Musicianship in the K-5 Music Classroom
Building musicianship skills in young children is at the forefront of Kodály-inspired teaching practices. For children these skills are fostered through musical play, while honoring their musicality in a collaborative setting. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore repertoire and practical ideas that are appropriate for teaching grades K-5. Specifically, strategies for fostering skills in singing, part work, inner hearing, memory, improvising, and creating will be offered, along with ideas of how these skills function in the preparation, make conscious, practice, and assessment phases of the instructional sequence.

Matthew Hanne
Musicianship Activities from “Classical Harmony”
In 2017, Dr. István Győrffy, Dr. Tamás Beischer-Matyó, and Dr. Nóra Kerezstes released “Klasszikus Összhangzattan”, a sequential approach for the teaching of harmony using the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. An English translation of this textbook (“Classical Harmony” was published in late 2022, and the presenter of this session was honored to serve as the English language proofreader for that translation. With the consent of the original authors, this session will lead participants through a variety of musicianship exercises from the book, exploring voice-leading and harmonic progressions. Examples will lead from basic authentic progressions to augmented sixth, secondary dominant, and leading-tone seventh chords. During the translating and proofreading process, it became apparent that some novel conceptual ideas related to music were being used in the book, and these insights will be highlighted during the session as well.

back to top


Instrumental Track (IT)

John Crever, Chris Anne Powers
IT: An Ear-First Approach to Teaching Ensemble Harmony and Improvisation
John Feierabend’s 2018 reissued book Conversational Solfege Level 3 (a.k.a. “Upper Levels” or just “CSUL”), is the same Ear-First Approach to thinking musical thoughts that sets Conversational Solfege apart, and it’s geared towards MS/HS performing ensembles. CSUL picks up the sequence where Level 2 left off, guiding students to think, read and write in most keys, meters, and regions of the staff. CSUL also offers a curriculum to teach musicians a Conversational knowledge of major and minor diatonic harmony, and its application to teaching improvisation and composition with performing ensemble classroom. Building on the conversational skill of “discovering the baseline” to create a harmony, introduced in Level 2, this curriculum leads students to use a bass line to inform tonal analysis to reveal the corresponding diatonic chord tones, and the many melodic conterpuntal possibilities that weave harmony together. Come prepared to sing.

Rebecca Knox, Tristi Wren
IT: How Vowels Can Help You Find Your Voice (Literally)
In this session, I will provide teachers who are instrumentalists with practical tips and techniques for using vowels to enhance their singing abilities. As a professional musician and vocalist, I will demonstrate how proper vowel shapes can affect tone quality, especially when using solfege, and how vowel modifications can improve pitch, resonance, and overall vocal performance to produce a beautiful singing model for children. As Kodály says, “Only the best is good enough for a child.” Through a series of interactive exercises and demonstrations, attendees will learn how to effectively use vowel modification in their singing using folk songs, as well as how to incorporate these techniques with their students.

back to top


Legacy/History

Cathy Dietsch
Mark A Williams: Teacher, Father, Friend and Founding Member of IKS and OAKE
In this session, Cathy Dietsch will discuss her father’s legacy from a personal viewpoint. She will share about his works, including his much-loved Bicinia Americana, his children’s operas, and his beautiful choral arrangements, including, but not limited to, “The Seasons of Rossetti,” “The Road Not Taken,” and “Consider the Lilies,” which was written for Cathy’s daughter, Lili. Cathy will give a premier demonstration of a song that she and her father were working on before he passed away. In this session, she will also share short stories from some of his closest Kodaly friends and colleagues, including a mini-class with his very own grandchildren, and, possibly, great-grandchildren, taught in the way that Cathy recalls him teaching his own students when she was studying with him in LA and Hong Kong!

Mary A Epstein, Judith Kramer Koret, Virginia Pohlmeier, Jill Trinka
The New Haven Kodály Group, 1968-2024: Past, Present, and Future
These back-to-back sessions feature Roundtable discussions by five members of The New Haven Kodály Group, established by Dr. Alexander Ringer and Isaac Stern – based on their collaborations in the mid-1960s with Zoltán Kodály – and begun five years before the founding of OAKE.
First Session: The first session will illuminate the fascinating history of what is now known as the Ringer Fellowship Program, with attention to its Israeli counterpart, as we seek to add historical perspective and understanding to the beginnings of the Kodály Movement in urban New Haven, CT.
Second Session: The focus of the second session is directed toward the philosophy, principles, methodology, systematization, and classifications that the New Haven Group collaboratively utilized in their collective creation of The New Haven Song Collection (1,217 Items), Musical and Extra-Musical Indices, and Daily Music Curriculum. Of interest will be an exploration of repertoire relative to the concept of the “musical mother tongue” – then and now – in terms of content, context, and culture.

Matthew Hanne
The Golden Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of OAKE
In this session, members of the 50th Anniversary committee will share memories, timelines, biographies, and other information to help participants learn more about the development of the Organization of American Kodály Educators. Details of the early years of the organization will be shared, as well as important milestones throughout OAKE’s 50 years. Special guests may present their own memories about OAKE, and projects from the 50th Anniversary committee will be unveiled.

Katherine Hickey
The Original Music Lessons of Jenő Ádám and Zoltán Kodály: Grades 3-5
The Kodály Approach, the original elementary music education curriculum was inspired by Zoltán Kodály and developed in detail by Kodály’s student and colleague, Jenő Ádám in the 1930-50’s. The sequential lessons are developed in the Szó-Mi books (1943-46), and in the beautifully illustrated Énekeskönyv I-VIIIl (Songbook, Grades 1-8; 1948-58, destroyed in the early 1950’s by the Rákosi Communist regime). The definitive teacher’s guide Módszeres énektanitás a relativ szólmizáció alapján [Methodical Music Teaching based on Relative Solmization] was written in 1944 to accompany both textbooks, and was translated to English in 1971, entitled Growing in Music with Movable Do. Énekeskönyv I and II, First and Second grades, were presented at the Jacksonville OAKE 2022 to the great delight of participants. Experience the original lessons for Third, Fourth and Fifth grades by Kodály and Ádám and explore the adaptations in America in the 21st century. Session will include historical perspective, interactive musicmaking and pedagogical issues in adapting the original Hungarian model to America and current times.

Sandra Mathias, Katalin Kiss
After Kodály: Reflections on Music Education
This session will present an overview of the book: AFTER KODÁLY, Reflections on Music Education; written by László Dobszay. This book clearly addresses what is Kodály Music Education and what is not. The book represents the revised version of five papers the author gave in the U.S. several years ago. Those lectures focus on Principles, Music Material, Methods, Technique, and School Age. In addition; the Role and Place of Folksongs in Teaching Music, The Kodály Method and its Musical Basis, and The Validity of the ‘Hundred-Year Plan’ will be included. The session will present highlights of the book. Attendees do not need to read the book to attend.

back to top


Refining Folk Song Research

Juliana Cantarelli Vita
Vamos! Music Traditions from Northeast Brazil
In this session, participants will explore folksongs and music traditions from the Northeastern region of Brazil. Participants will learn a name game in the Portuguese language (“Nome, diga seu nome”), focus on the syncopated songs drawn from the Brazilian carnaval tradition known as Frevo de Bloco and Frevo-Canção, will focus on the mixed-meter (5/4) folksong “Na Mão Direita Tem Uma Roseira,” learn the communal dance known as Ciranda, and explore patterns from the Afro-Brazilian drumming tradition known as Maracatu de Baque Virado. The session will encompass diverse repertoire, literacy opportunities for upper elementary (e.g., syncopation, mix-meter, layering patterns/timeline), as well as conversations about the carefulness of bringing diverse repertoire in a respectable and responsible way. All repertoire will come from my own experiences growing up in the Northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, and working with culture-bearing/traditional musicians from the Afro-Brazilian communities around my hometown. The resources will also be available for choral settings, as all traditions aforementioned have a heavy emphasis on singing.

Miriam Factora
Creative Music Making through Multicultural Games
Does Music Class have to be always fun? Students lose the fun of learning when they do not see a connection with what they are learning, how they are learning and why they are learning certain things in relation to their everyday life. When I was growing up, I played musical games with friends in my mother tongue outside the school time. However, these games were never given importance at school. In this workshop, Miriam will put ‘games’ in a special light wherein participants will be encouraged to explore with her creative possibilities on how to use some of the multicultural games that she has collected from her fieldwork research. She will share video recordings from cultural bearers. Games will be used as a springboard to highlight pedagogical strategies that could be utilized with any material. At this ‘post pandemic’ age where students have become more visual and have become very dependent on technology, all the more there is a need for us to reflect on our pedagogical practices to make music making more engaging, hands-on, relevant, meaningful and joyful. Does Music Class have to be always fun? It could be!

Nicholas Flott
From Bomba to Bad Bunny: Folk and Popular Music of Puerto Rico
What do Bomba, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Bad Bunny have in common? They all reflect the fabulous musical heritage of Puerto Rico. The people of Borinquen – the indigenous name for the Island – have a rich cultural identity. The mixture of cultural influences from Spain, Andalusia, West and Central Africa, the United States, and the indigenous Taíno Arawaks have made it difficult to define a singular Puerto Rican identity. Musics cultivated by people in the Puerto Rican diaspora have been used as tools for identity building, social commentary, and resistance against the forces of oppression against them. In this session, participants will delve into folk and popular music from the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Through singing and dancing, we will explore the island’s rich musical heritage and show our students how music can be used as a tool to build community and identity.

Crystal Henricks
A Conversation with Culture Bearers
Rich cultural diversity brings a potential wealth of repertoire to the school community and an affirmation of students within our schools. It is important for us to understand and refine our skills in partnering with community members. Come join a panel conversation with members of my Chicago school community. This panel will include parents and educators representing multiple cultures and languages. We will have an open conversation exploring best practices for those seeking to partner with community members including the importance of relationships, how to engage in musical experiences with non-musicians and how to help families feel seen in your community. Participants will receive a list of practical suggestions for initial engagement in conversations, strategies for collecting songs, a few sample songs I have collected, and ideas for implementation of those songs into your curriculum.

Mary Ellen Junda
Work Songs
In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic immobilized the world creating havoc across continents and disrupting personal and professional lives. “Work Lives” took on new meaning as essential workers gave their all to save lives, while others worked remotely, and a large number lost their jobs. This dramatic change in our daily lives prompted interest in how work songs have changed over time, with Ted Gioia’s book “Work Songs” (2006) providing a starting point. To bring these songs to life, Earthtones, a non-auditioned university vocal ensemble comprised of students and community members, delved into learning about and singing work songs during the Spring 2022 semester with the goal of creating a final performance. A diverse array of work and occupational songs will be featured that highlight specific historical periods, cultures, and professions; voice protest against injustices; and reflect a strong sense of pride, sense of humor and feeling of community. Concert videos and student reflections will be included. Discussion will focus on the challenges and joys in developing unique performance programs and working with novice singers. This presentation may inspire others to create “non-traditional” performance opportunities focused on topics that link the past to our current circumstances and resonate beyond.

Erasmia Voukelatos
Demonstration: Mediterranean Delights: Songs and Dances of Greece and its Neighbors
Erasmia Voukelatos will be joined by a group of students of Greek heritage to share musical treasures she learned as a child from her grandmother and from her first-generation immigrant community, while also taking a closer look at some of the nuanced contexts she has uncovered in many lyrics as an adult. The session will touch on ways that her own folk song research process has evolved, thoughts about “authenticity,” links to social studies themes, and recent trends in the folk traditions of modern Greece and its diaspora.

back to top


Reflective Practices

Judy Bond, Crystal Henricks, Victor Lozada, Herbert Marshall
Reflections On Collaboration Between Diverse Active Music Making Approaches
Participants will experience lessons developed by presenters representing Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Gordon’s Music Learning Theory, and Orff Schulwerk Music and Movement. The session will include an opportunity to compare and contrast successful teaching practices, considering the value of collaboration between teachers using different approaches.

Sarah Burns
To Invent is to Understand: Creativity in the Kodály-Inspired Classroom
Lois Choksy (1981) described improvisation and composition as “steps towards musical creativity.” As Kodály music educators we tend to focus on melodic and rhythmic concepts, often relegating creative activities, such as improvisation and composition, to secondary positions in our curricula. Unfortunately, this does not provide students with adequate opportunities for creativity with active student engagement. Kodály described active student engagement as “…what matters is doing, not being done to” (Young, 1964). By involving students in the learning process that leads to independent musicianship they achieve knowledge development and content mastery for future growth and motivation. Geared towards upper level students, this workshop will provide steps toward musical creativity by focusing on how the Kodály-inspired music educator can seamlessly embed creative activities (improvisation and composition) into the music curriculum. Built upon repertoire-based melodic and rhythmic concepts and by following the 6 Cs to Creativity, we will improvise and compose with pentatony, solfege, texture, and form. Together we will learn how “to invent is to understand” (Choksy, 1981).

David Thaxton, Crystal Pridmore, Lisa Sempsey
Exploring Elemental Instruments with ACEMM
Members of the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement present ways to explore classroom instruments as a means of deepening understanding and developing artistic creation in the elementary general music classroom. Active music and movement-making approaches will be utilized from a variety of approaches with activities that can be implemented, adapted and used as inspiration for creative and engaging teaching and learning.

Sarah Tullock
Playful Presentation of Expressive Elements through Song
Exploring expressive elements through the poetry in our songs can be a great source of joy and inspiration for our students in general music and choral settings. We can engage the discovery learning process in this way, drawing lively performances out of each melody – even those that seem simple on the surface. During this session, we’ll sing together and playfully engage expressive elements through activities with folk tunes, a few new canons, and a variety of movement and manipulative based strategies. We’ll consider ways to approach expressivity (dynamics, etc.) through preparation, presentation, and practice in our students’ musical play. It is the expressive nature of our music that connects most deeply to our humanity and offers lasting value to our formative experiences in the art. Kodály and his contemporaries recognized the deep value of the expressive quality inherent in folk melodies – honoring this in our teaching can open creative doors for our students, which will fuel their musical enthusiasm for a lifetime.

Nichole Witman
Stepping Stones for Orff Instrument Integration
Orff instruments are often a staple in the general music classroom, but as a Kodály inspired teacher, are you making the most of them? Explore ways to sequence and scaffold experiences for beginners of all ages with a focus on basic technique, as well as connections to music literacy, improvisation and the joy of making music together. You will leave this session with practical ideas that you can immediately apply to your lessons and that will inspire you to integrate the Orff instruments into your regular routine through folk songs, games and children’s books.

back to top


Regroup, Refocus & Renew

Madolyn Accola
Creating Community as a Classroom Ensemble
Kodály-inspired classrooms are filled with joyful music making that trains the ear, the mind, the hand, and most importantly, the heart. The heartbeat of our classroom pulses with the social-emotional development of our students as they form supportive relationships with one another through musical collaboration. In this session, we will delve into lively community building games, greetings, songs and projects that can be adapted for use in classroom and performance settings. Gaining inspiration from popular music, traditional song, and children’s literature, participants will work together to create ensemble pieces with voices, movement, and classroom instruments. Fostering togetherness in our music classrooms will empower students to create positive change as a global community.

Susan Brumfield
Come and Sing! Songs and Games to Bring Us Back Together
Keeping music alive and well through the past few years hasn’t been easy. But students are beginning to rebound and recover from the effects of musical separation. Teachers are turning to active music-making to rebuild musical and social skills in real life, and finding ways to bring joy, laughter, and connection back to school. In this session, we will explore great repertoire with a focus on singing and moving, fresh teaching activities, and ways to incorporate them into the classroom. Additionally, the session will feature video clips and recordings of historical and primary sources, and cultural insights into fresh songs and games to add to your song collection. Let’s sing, play and get to know some new favorites!

Beth Duhon
Happier Music Teacher: Like A Regular Music Teacher, Only Happier
Music teachers love teaching music. We love our subject area and our students. We literally believe we have the best job in the school because we do! Many of us have dreamed of this career since we were children. As Kodály inspired educators, we are continually improving our craft and striving to teach with excellence. How can we feel so fulfilled professionally yet something still feels off emotionally? Is that the price we pay for choosing this profession? Are we selfish and ungrateful for wanting more? Feel like you should incorporate self-care practices, whatever those are, but don’t know where to start? What would it take to be a happier music teacher? Luckily, this is possible and easier than we think! Author and podcaster Duhon will not give you the answers but will guide you through journaling and suggestions to process what small changes would improve the quality of your music teacher life so that you can “Regroup, Refocus, and Renew.” Just like minor corrections help keep a car on the road, small habit tweaks and micro-actions can take you from an unbalanced and overwhelmed music teacher to a happier music teacher.

Cecile Johnson
Demonstration: Revisiting Singing Games Promoting Cooperative Spirits Post-Pandemic
In this classroom style demonstration session meant to address the Post-Covid isolation issues, let’s revisit some fun singing games specifically selected and sequenced through the grades to help teach and encourage cooperation, fair play, social manners, kindness and grace along with the joy and development of musical literacy.

Kendall Mencio
You’ll Be Back: Preparing for the Long-Term Substitute
Learn how to provide engaging and effective music lessons for your students even when you’re not present in the classroom, whether it’s for maternity leave, personal reasons, or any other reason. Through center-based instruction, recorded videos of you teaching, technology integration, and PowerPoint slides, discover practical strategies to stay connected with your students, reinforce key music concepts, and ensure that your lessons are implemented smoothly and effectively by substitutes, with or without a musical background. This session is designed for music teachers at all levels planning an extended leave from their classroom, and provides practical tips and strategies to help them provide effective music instruction and ensure their students continue to thrive in their absence.

Mary Neeley Stevens
Mentoring Music Educators: Components of Instructional Coaching
One of the most rewarding aspects of music education is to share best teaching practices and successful strategies with novice teachers. However, what can we do to support and guide novice teachers beyond methods coursework and training programs? Whether we serve as a mentor, cooperating teacher, teacher trainer, or university supervisor of student teaching, we need to create a safe space for conversation, build trusting relationships, and provide guidance for the novice teacher to self-reflect. First, we honestly explore our role as an instructional coach and understand the truths about the mentor-mentee relationship. Next, we gain strategies and tools to increase our effectiveness as instructional coaches. The tools for coaching include pre and post observation questions, specific details for scripting a lesson, a format for feedback specific to the music lesson including strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, guidelines to assist the novice teacher to self-reflect on areas of improvement. The instructional coaching process concludes with a collaborative development of an action plan comprised of logical, effective actions and measurable, attainable outcomes.

Coty Raven Morris
Taking the CODA: Cultivating Opportunities and Discovering Artistry
There is a weight in the phrase “easier said than done”! As our classroom conversations expand beyond literature to help our students connect with matters outside of the classroom, educators find themselves questioning the authenticity of their actions. Join Morris, Professor of Choir, Music Education and Social Justice at Portland State University and Founder of Being Human Together, for discussion and interactive experience on how your programming can be both impactful, authentic, and engaging for both singer and audience!

Coty Raven Morris
When I Grow Up: Finding Strength in Self-Acceptance and Community Care
Being a musician is a uniquely personal and community-based journey. In the session, Coty Raven Morris will share stories and strategies to empower educators to mind their experiences to better serve the students to community care. Educators will leave with resources and a sense of renewal!

Megan Sheridan
Reducing Teacher Talk for Improved Vocal Health
As Kodály music educators, we use our voices in habitual ways throughout the teaching day. Some vocal habits contribute positively to the music learning environment such as having a regular warm-up routine or using a voice amplification system. Other habits can get in the way of music learning, often without us even realizing. Teacher talk is a common vocal habit amongst music educators that can get in the way of our musical goals for our students. When music educators spend too much time talking, over-explaining, or thinking aloud, students can become distracted, confused, and disinterested. High levels of teacher talk can also impact the music educator by increasing vocal fatigue which can lead to significant vocal health problems. In this session, we will discover and experience ways to incorporate more musicality and music making while reducing teacher talk in our daily teaching. Special attention will be paid to creating musical transitions, giving succinct instructions, and using body language and gestures to communicate with our students.

back to top


Secondary Choral Track (SCT)

Emily Evans
SCT: Start the Year Strong: Building Literacy from Rehearsal Number One
In this session, we will explore ways to engage and enhance reading skills in the choral rehearsal from the beginning of the school year. Evans will present strategies to meet singers where they are and push them where they need to be to become strong readers using a variety of literacy methods with a Kodály-centered approach.

Bethany Houff, Georgia Newlin
SCT: They Wanna Play, Too: Games for MS/HS Choirs
Want to help MS/HS singers stay on-task in the choral room (and reduce disruptive behavior)? Increasing singers’ level of physical activity improves memory, attention, and concentration. Experiencing appropriate social interactions builds teamwork as well as negotiation and leadership skills. MS/HS musicians will find more success in their structured activities if they are given the opportunity to exert energy in an appropriate way within a rehearsal. After all, they are still kids.

Niké St. Clair
SCT: Advancing Music Literacy in Secondary Choirs: Modes and Chromaticism
Have you ever wondered what exotic scales we can teach with secondary choral repertoire? It is my passion to teach musicianship skills with choral repertoire, so this workshop will introduce you to great repertoire that allows your students to discover and learn scales and modes not often used: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Semitone-Pentatones, Spanish Phrygian, Double Leading-tone Minor, etc. The choral repertoire presented will include composers/arrangers such as Alice Parker, Miguel Astor, Vicente Chavarria, Max Helfman, David Moore, Joshua Jacobson, Mack Wilberg, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Shawn Kirchner, Neil Ginsberg, Ethan Sperry, and others, and will come from or be inspired by the world’s folk traditions: Irish, Moroccan, Indian, Mexican,Jewish, etc. We will also sing canons from the Western tradition by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, and Caldara, as well as explore the wide array of chromaticism and colorful chords offered in them. We will sing Fauré and Beethoven, and discover modulation with the use of solfege syllables. You will be sure to leave this session with inspiration to use compelling repertoire to aid your students in becoming the best musicians they can be.

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy
SCT Demonstration: From Swiss to Gouda: Sound Before Symbol Approach for Upper-Level Choirs
This session will extrapolate the Kodály pedagogical concept of sets into two concepts for upper-level choirs: Extractable Tonal Patterns (ETPs) and Extractable Harmonic Patterns (EHPs). Through audience participation and a demo collegiate choir, a ‘sound before symbol’ pedagogy for upper choirs will be demonstrated that will both ameliorate and amplify the use of Kodály solfege in the upper-level choral classroom.

back to top