Sessions and Presenters

The 2021 Virtual Conference will be held in the AccelEvents platform. 

Attendees will have access to: 
Live sessions and networking events
Chat during sessions and Q&A with presenters
Workshops with other live attendees
Virtual exhibit hall with shopping and sponsors
Recorded sessions for 30 days after the live event

Main Events

Keynote Presentation for the Opening Ceremony
Envisioning What Music Education Can Be
Keynote Speaker Connie McKoy
Dr. McKoy will share her vision of how teaching music through a culturally responsive lens can transform music education in a time of critical social change.

Friday Night with Árpád Tóth
Getting Closer to the “Real” Choir Experience Online
Let’s see together, what kind of possibilities we have to keep our communities singing in quarantine. Tricks, tools, apps, materials and ideas for choral conductors and music teachers.

See more about our Main Events on the Main Events page


The following list of sessions will be LIVE on Saturday, March 6th, 2021. They will also be available to watch within the AccelEvents platform, after the Virtual Conference, for 30 days total. 

Back to Basics
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Current Trends
Folk Song Research
Secondary Choral


Back to Basics

Body Warm-Ups and Dynamic Listening Maps for the Kodály-Inspired Classroom
Kristopher Brown

Kristopher Brown will demonstrate the power of combining movement and music literacy activities that relate key concepts to quality music examples permeating our student’s digital world. Discover the best practices in developing body warm-ups for your students that are not only entertaining and engaging, but prepare and develop your student’s sense of form and phrasing and provide seamless transitions. You’ll learn how to make your own high quality digital listening maps using completely free software and the power of google slides.

Taking the Fear Out of 5th Grade
Ashley Yarbrough

Countless numbers of Elementary Music Teachers struggle with 5th Grade. Many times, teachers plan “fun” lessons in order to appeal to students who feel “too cool” for music class. In this session, we will learn new lesson plan strategies and activities that will have your students anxious for the next class. We will sing songs, play games, and learn some new activities guaranteed to please even the toughest class while continuing to incorporate music literacy concepts. This session takes teachers back to the basics with tried and true Kodály principles.

Kodály: Not Just For Elementary School
Beth Anne Young, Ginger Albertson

“Music for All”…we aspire to instill in our students the desire to become life-long music makers, and to teach them the skills to do so. It is our belief that teaching a Kodály inspired curriculum does not end in elementary school, but extends through middle school, high school and beyond. In this session, participants will discover how Kodály inspired lessons can be adapted for the elementary, middle, and high school classroom. Explore how material appropriate for 1st or 2nd grade can be equally appropriate for middle or high school. Participants will come away with songs, games, dances, and activities which can be used in their classrooms immediately, at any level.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

He Said, She Said, They Said: Gender Neutrality in the Music Room
Amy Abbott

Our ultimate goal, as teachers, is to ensure that our students feel safe, respected and a valued member of the class community. Therefore, it’s important to look at various aspects of our classrooms, ensuring that ALL students are seen and respected for who they are as an individual. One prime example of this is gender neutrality. In this session we will explore the importance of gender neutrality in various ways. Participants will hear directly from student, parent and teacher testimonials. The session will have a “hands-on,” or demonstration, approach, focusing on the importance of neutral pronouns and non-gender specific roles in singing games, play parties and other various musical repertoire. Attendees will have a chance to explore using gender neutrality within various classroom situations and to discuss how this will make music education more inclusive for all students.

Popular Music Connections
Rita Alway

Using popular music in the classroom is a great way to strengthen musicianship skills and deepen musical understanding while engaging all learners and honoring the various cultural backgrounds of our students. Popular music that is well-known to students can also serve as a bridge into new music that students are unfamiliar with. This session will explore the use of popular music in the Kodály classroom to make connections between popular music and folk music and popular music and art music, as well as fostering personal connections in the classroom.

Vision for the ESL Kodály Classroom: Teaching Music and Language
Alicia Brown

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 language and cultural skills our students will need to be successful in our classrooms. 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 classroom-tested folk-song activities and critical reflection for teachers. Strategies for both in-person and digital learning will also be addressed.

Listening to Women: Women and Gender-Expansive Composers in the Music Classroom
Miriam Capellan

As music teachers, we strive to build critical listening skills by exposing students to a wide variety of music. Engaging students through active listening can be an exciting process in any music classroom. It is a powerful moment when we witness the sense of wonder on a student’s face as they react to an especially moving melodic phrase. But how should a music teacher go about choosing pieces for the 21st-century classroom? Including more women composers is a goal for many music educators. However, many of us grew up hearing very few if any women composers. Where can a teacher begin? This session will include practical tips for active listening, several examples of accessible works by women composers, and tips to help teachers build a diverse listening library. Attendees will also take away best practices from the Institute for Composer Diversity, a trailblazing organization promoting equity and access across all levels of music education and performance. Kodály believed that experiencing great musical works is an essential part of a well-rounded music education. This session will address this tenet through the lens of “Music For All: Culturally Responsive Teaching”.

Moving Past the Common Narrative: Critical Practices for Music Education
Decolonizing The Music Room

As teachers, we bring to our classrooms our own lived experiences that guide and inform our choices. Educators are tasked with teaching an increasingly diverse population of students, yet the current teaching population, as a whole, is not as diverse as the current student body. Direct conversations surrounding race, cultural dominance, and marginalization of the experiences, practices, and traditions of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian (BBIA) people are not common in our training. Through discussion of our journey as educators and examples of what we have uncovered about some common repertoire, we will discuss concepts of decolonization, anti-racism, and other relevant frameworks in music education, and how we can question traditional educational structures and address systemic issues.

Being Human Together: Diving Into the Diversity Melting Pot
Coty Raven Morris

In an ever changing world, it is imperative that educators are equipped with the tools for cultural competence. But fear not! Morris will untangle the web of vocabulary and concepts that we encounter in a “woke” culture. This interactive session is modeled to help teachers troubleshoot obstacles they may have in and out of the classroom involving cultural references, repertoire, and student rapport.

Using Blended Learning to Personalize Instruction in the Music Classroom
Ashley Cuthbertson

Effective use of instructional technology in the classroom is a game changer and allows learning to be personalized for students. This session will focus on the foundations of Personalized and Blended Learning in order to tailor instruction to best meet the needs of our students. Blended Learning configurations such as Flipped Instruction, Station Rotation, and Flex Model will be explored. Additionally, guidance on engaging in Blended Learning in classrooms where all students have devices and where only a few devices are available will be given. All participants will receive a full handout with a step-by-step guide on getting started as well as access to digital resources ready for classroom use with students. Bring a device and get ready to explore!

Fostering Creativity and Independence in Active Music Settings
Brent Gault, Wendy Valerio

Sponsored by the Alliance for Active Music Making, this session explores active strategies that foster musical creativity and independence in general music classrooms. Attendees will participate in sample experiences that illustrate how active approaches can lead all children to becoming confident and creative musicians. Implications related to adapting instruction to online settings will be included as a part of the session.

Tech Tools for Distance Learning and Beyond
Aileen Miracle

In this session, tech tools such as Nearpod, Peardeck, Seesaw, and Flipgrid will be explored, to provide Kodály-inspired lessons, have students reflect and extend their learning, and to build community. These tools will be discussed through the lens of both distance learning and in-person learning, and sample lessons and templates will be shared, to guide educators in providing engaging music activities for all students.

Folk Song Research

Uchinanchu nu takara: Treasure from Okinawa
Minami Cohen

Do you know of a beautiful subtropical island in the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s southernmost prefecture? Were you a fan of “Karate Kid”? Did you know there are at least 45,000-50,000 people in the Okinawan diaspora in Hawaii? Have you wondered how you could introduce materials from an unfamiliar tradition in a culturally responsive way? As a native of Okinawa, Japan, the presenter will share the culture and history of Okinawa through her musical heritage and how she makes connections with students in a Kodály-inspired classroom.

Cultural Relevance in the Music Classroom
Miriam Factora

With the increasing diversity of cultures in the United States of America, there is a need for schools to respond to this reality. Teachers teach in schools where many of the students go home to a culture which is different from the school culture. Miriam’s current situation in the school where she teaches in California, for example, has around 26 languages spoken in students’ homes. In this session, she will share songs, spoken rhymes, musical games and dances that she has used in her teaching. She will also share strategies, specifically on how to address the changing demographics of our current students in the United States. Miriam, being an immigrant herself, advocates that the issue of mother tongue in the United States be looked at in a new perspective-to be broader, more respectful, inclusive and responsive to the rapidly changing cultures in the school communities. Miriam will share her materials from first hand fieldwork research and valuable collections from secondary sources that she has used in her teaching career of over 30 years. Examples will come from her years of fieldwork in her home country, the Philippines, from Japan where she taught for 21 years and from her continuing research in her school community in California.

Iranian Children’s Songs and Games for All Music Classrooms
Simin Fani

As an Iranian Kodàly educator, Mrs. Fani deeply understands the importance of sharing and honoring the musical heritage of other cultures. As educators, we must appreciate and value the cultural heritage of the communities we serve. Our music classroom can be used as a bridge between different cultural gaps. In our field, there is increasing demand for the inclusion of songs and games from other countries, so we can connect to all of our students by valuing who they are and where they come from. In this interactive session, Fani will share accessible children’s singing/chanting games from her childhood in Iran, as well as from her own scholarly research on the genre. Participants will leave with a more thorough understanding of the deep history and beautiful culture of Iran, as well as a collection of authentic repertoire which can be immediately implemented in their own music classrooms.

The World at Play: Songs, Musical Games, and Dances from Playgrounds Around the World
Jo Kirk

Participants will experience singing games, songs and dances from playgrounds around the world, building a repertoire of activities that celebrate and honor the rich heritage found in today’s classroom, child care center and community life. The session aims to equip the educator with tools to guide students to a greater awareness of countries and cultures beyond their back yard, stirring the students’ desire to learn more about children around the world who are “just like me!”

Online Song Research: Tools, Traps and Treasures
Kathy Kuddes

In the age of the internet, we can ALL be folk song researchers. We have more tools than ever at our disposal, but which resources and tools provide the most reliable information is not always easy to discern. This session will explore a variety of on-line song sources, discuss ways to authenticate information, how to avoid some of the traps of on-line searching and where to find the treasures of folk material on the World Wide Web.


Kodály in the Wind Ensemble: Instrumental Instruction
Bobby Castro

Saint John Bosco Patron Saint of the Youth said, “A School Without Music, Is Like A Body Without A Soul”. The true essence of the Kodály Method is singing. Techniques and tools used in the method will be discussed on how students can become better musicians through singing in a band rehearsal. Singing chorales, and using band literature invites students to perform more musically, sing in tune, and helps students understand the relationship between their own section and other sections around them.

Folk songs are the best material to use in the Kodály Method but this is not to say that non-folk band literature has no value in the Kodály system. In this session I will demonstrate how elements for a band piece can be modified to fit the Kodály Method. I firmly believe a teacher can be creative enough to make adjustments while still staying true to the method. Detailed handouts which includes lesson plans, will be on hand so that teachers may have a reference to look at after the session is over.

Singing Our Way to Literacy in the Beginning Winds Classroom
Asunción Ojeda

This session will present ways to incorporate the Kodály Approach in the Beginning Winds class. Singing, moving, listening, and creating are given a place in the instrumental classroom to develop the students’ musicianship skills and as a foundation for sight reading. The principle of “Prepare, Present, Practice,” as applied to both instrumental technique and literacy, will be highlighted. For the young students who have had minimal or zero formal classroom music instruction, this approach helps them build a readiness for the rigors of learning to play music on an instrument. For the students who have had more training and experience, this type of setting provides them the opportunity to tap in to their knowledge base, make connections to previously acquired skills, and apply them to instrument playing.


Enhancing Musicianship Through the Works of Black Composers
Megan Ankuda

Joseph Bologne (1745-1799) came to be known as “The Black Mozart,” and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1975-1912) was called “The African Mahler.” In these and many other similar constructions, Black composers in the Euro-American concert music tradition have been defined by comparison to White counterparts, or ignored altogether. In contrast, this session seeks to provide practice ideas for melodic and rhythmic musical concepts common to the secondary general music or ensemble setting, each of which can function in an online or in-person environment, and each leading–most crucially–to a specific example of music by Black composers such as William Grant Still, George Walker, Florence Price, Thomas Wiggins, Joseph Bologne, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Loose Canons: A Round-About Approach to Musicianship
Matthew Hanne

Whether they are simple or complex, few musical activities are as uniquely satisfying as performing canons in groups large or small. However, canons can also be satisfying in asynchronous and virtual environments, and they are excellent tools for developing personal musicianship as well! Participants in this session will sharpen their skills by singing canons, but also through movement, dictation, improvisation and the use of instruments. Be prepared to learn a variety of lesser-known canons, and to enjoy singing along with a few old favorites as well.

Personal Musicianship Refresher: the Modes
Georgia Newlin

Sincere in the premise that only the best musicians make the best music educators? Then join in this participatory session focusing on the modes. As Kodály said of singing teachers, “even if it is not their official duty, a little additional work is a spiritual need, which…is the soul and significance of the teacher’s task.”

Secondary Choral 

Project-Based Learning and Choral Performance: A Trend Worth “Noting”
Lauren Carpel

Many school districts around the country have adopted or are planning to adopt project-based learning (PBL) as a way of assessing student knowledge and inviting collaboration among peers. Project-based learning offers all students the opportunity to connect to content on a more meaningful level. It can be a vehicle to enhance and improve choral performances rather than an additional burden that teachers have to overcome. In this workshop, you will learn how to create projects in the secondary choral classroom that are built on Kodály’s pedagogical principles and that support state and school standards and requirements. After this workshop, you will be able to build project-based learning opportunities for your students with or without technological access. Additionally, you will learn how to differentiate projects for all learners and how to assess individual student comprehension within the ensemble.

The Music-Body Connection
Esther Liu Harris

Since the last century body movement has become more at the center of music education, where music is no longer seen as a purely intellectual phenomenon, but a bodily experience (Emer & Romero-Naranjo, 2014). Singers listen and understand music better when they feel and experience the rhythmic structures in their body. To physically move with the beats, the beat division, and various rhythms while singing can deepen the expression of music. Participants discover a new perspective of learning and teaching through experiencing how to sequence teaching strategies using body percussion (BP). Participants will be guided in BP with singing in experiential-based activities, to add and deepen understanding of the approach. We will be employing graphic visual representation, aural perception, Solfège, and other tools to build our teaching repertoire. To incorporate informal peer-learning and teaching, we learn to respect and empathize with each other in collaboration.