2019 Day-Long Learning Experiences

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Ukulele | Steel DrumGospel Choir | Social-Emotional Learning | Composition in Ensembles | Songwriting | Liberation Drum Circles | Digital and Hybrid Music


Day-Long Learning Experience: Ukulele

Presenter: Bryan Powell

Dr. Bryan Powell is an Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Technology at Montclair State University and works with the non-profit organization Little Kids Rock on their higher education initiatives. Bryan is a musician and music educator with public school music teaching experience in the New York City Department of Education. Dr. Powell has published multiple chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-editor of the recently published Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education. Bryan is a founding editor of Journal of Popular Music Education and is the Executive Director of the Association for Popular Music Education. Dr. Powell currently serves as the Chair of the NAfME Popular Music Education SRIG and is an International Affiliate for Musical Futures.

Session 1: Friday, November 8, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Introduction to Ukulele

This session will provide an introduction to the different types of ukuleles, costs involved in purchasing ukuleles, and approaches to beginning a ukulele program.  This session will review basic chord shapes and pedagogical approaches to easily and quickly get your students playing the songs that they know and love. No experience on ukulele is needed to successfully participate in this session!

Session 2: Friday, November 8, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Intermediate Ukulele

So your students know the basic ukulele chords.  What now?  This session is designed for teachers who already have some experience with the ukulele and are looking for the “next steps”.  This session will review ukulele tablature, barre chords, fingerpicking, and soloing on the ukulele.  Using popular music examples, participants in this session will explore the next steps of ukulele instruction. 

Session 3: Friday, November 8, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Ukulele and Technology

As technology becomes more accessible through computers, tablets, and smart phones, the ability to integrate technology with ukulele instruction provides educators with an exciting opportunity. Through hands-on playing, this session will review various technologies that educators can integrate in their ukulele instruction. We will explore both software and hardware options, and will discuss how to easily make play-along videos for use in the classroom. 

Session 4: Friday, November 8, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Songwriting with the Ukulele

The “Create” strand of the NCCAS music standards for harmonizing instruments states that students should “generate melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas” to be used in original compositions. The incorporation of songwriting into the music classroom can provide a meaningful avenue for students to express themselves.  This session will review approaches to songwriting using the ukulele including one-chord songs, parody, cross curricular connections, and various song-starters. Participants will engage with several group-songwriting activities and will compose their own songs in small groups.  

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Steel Drum

Presenter: Edwin Anderson

Session 1:

Steel band set-up & basic performance techniques

Participants will learn the basic set-up of the steel Drum Ensemble and begin immediately working on rehearsing the tune for their “Showformance” This session will focus on techniques and skills that will help you to immediately start your students playing the “pan” and become comfortable with the instrument.

Session 2:

Engine Room “Maintenance”

Participants will discover the rhythms and correct techniques used in the Engine Room of a Steel Band to “drive” the band during performances. We will continue to work on their performance piece for the “Showformance”.

Session 3:

Materials and Resources for the Beginning Steel Drum Director

Resources for Instrumental Acquisition and Music Literature

Session 4:

Basic Arranging Techniques for Steel Band and Final Rehearsal

Discussion and examples of basic steel drum arranging techniques and final rehearsal for our Showformance!

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Gospel Choir

Presenter: Jason D. Thompson

Dr. Jason Thompson is an Assistant Professor of Music Learning and Teaching in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University where he teaches courses and conducts research on sociocultural issues in music education, socially engaged practices in the arts, and music engagement in urban contexts.  Dr. Thompson brings more than three decades of experience working with gospel choirs in community and school settings. At ASU, his credit-bearing gospel choir ensemble boasts more than 125 singers. Dr. Thompson’s most recent gospel music octavo is published by GIA Music and articles are published in Music Education Research and Music Educators Journal.

Session 1: Friday, November 8, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Style and Substance in Gospel Music Repertoire

Repertoire is at the center for choral curriculums and ensemble conductors are often charged with the responsibility of selecting appropriate repertoire that meets varying needs of singers. Despite the increasing availability of gospel music octavos, the quality among scores varies greatly, bringing their usefulness as teaching resources into question.  This gospel music reading session will get “under the hood” with how to select and interpret gospel music that accounts for both style and substance.

Session 2: Friday, November 8, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Exploring Core-Musical and Non-Core Musical Elements in African American Gospel Music

Raymond Wise’s 2002 doctoral dissertation identified musical (e.g., African American aesthetics, instruments, vocal techniques/timbre, etc.) and extra-musical elements (e.g., text, performance practice, movement, etc.) found in gospel music.  During this session, participants will locate these elements across multiple aural and visual examples of gospel music while constructing their knowledge and skills for gospel music.

Session 3: Friday, November 8, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Get off the Score: Increasing Aural Skills with Gospel Music

Not all singers—even those in the best ensembles—develop proficient performance skills. This limitation may come from focusing on whole-group learning at the expense of skills for individual singers.  Aural learning is vital for developing performance skills of ensembles and singers.  Singing that begins with the sounds—rather than notation—is essential to choirs, namely by promoting pitch/rhythm accuracy, increasing error detection, promoting critical listening, and enhancing musicianship. This participatory session on aural transmission will explore and highlight a variety of teaching/conducting strategies and demystifies the improvisatory style of gospel soloing. 

Session 4: Friday, November 8, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Gospel Choir Program 101

This session provides a blueprint for creating a gospel choir (or a backdrop against which to compare an established ensemble).  Topics include, but are not limited to, recruiting strategies that accounts for the multiple reasons that singers may participate, auditioning singers, and the distinctions between teaching about religion versus teaching for religion, to name a few. Learn about the resources for finding scores, developing gospel piano chops, and who’s doing gospel choirs across the U.S.

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Social-Emotional Learning

Presenter: Scott N. Edgar

Dr. Scott N. Edgar is in his seventh year as Associate Professor of Music, Music Education Chair, and Director of Bands at Lake Forest College. He received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education from the University of Michigan, his Masters degree in Education from the University of Dayton, and his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University. His previous teaching experience in higher education includes work at Adrian College and Concordia College Ann Arbor. Prior to his work in higher education he taught K-12 instrumental music in Ohio and Michigan. Dr. Edgar is the author of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning: The Heart of Teaching Music and is an internationally sought-after clinician on the topic. In addition to clinics, he also teaches graduate courses on Musical Social-Emotional Learning at VanderCook College of Music. He is an active clinician and adjudicator for both concert band and marching band, and regularly presents at professional development and research conferences. Dr. Edgar is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician and VH1 Save the Music Foundation Educational Consultant. Dr. Edgar is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Educational Research Association, the College Music Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music fraternity and Kappa Kappa Psi Band fraternity. He lives in Lake Villa with his wife Steph, their son Nathan, and their cats Elsa and Wolfie.

Session 1: Saturday, November 9, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Setting the Stage for SEL

A healthy classroom environment is essential to teach musical SEL. Teachers often highlight “classroom management” as an area they wished they had learned more about in their undergraduate education. Utilizing the frameworks of Social-Emotional Learning we will discuss practical strategies to navigate building a collaborative classroom without managing the students.

Session 2: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Social-Emotional Learning and Music Education

Adolescents encounter a great deal of social and emotional challenges affecting their lives. Music educators are in a primed position to provide students this support through a socially rich and emotionally sound environment. However, music educators are rarely prepared to offer this support. Social-Emotional learning is intended to help students become socially and emotionally competent. The purpose of this session is to introduce the framework of SEL and to highlight explicit connections to music education.

Session 3: Saturday, November 9, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Implementation of SEL in Music Education Classrooms

Building on an understanding of SEL, this session will provide specific activities for implementation in K-12 music classrooms. The purpose of this session is to provide lesson ideas for SEL implementation for all ages and music areas. The activities presented have been designed to augment and enhance traditional music instruction and are aligned SEL standards. The activities will be split into three areas: self-awareness and self-management; social awareness and relationship skills; and, responsible decision-making.

Session 4: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Musical SEL Curriculum Design

In this culminating session, participants will apply the work done during the day to their own classrooms. Working with their own musical objectives, we will design SEL activities to complement this work. Participants will leave with specific plans and activities to implement when they return to their classrooms.

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Composition in Ensembles

Presenter: Rob Deemer

Recipient of the 2018 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Internet Award, Rob Deemer is a composer, conductor, educator, author, and advocate. His work as an advocate for underrepresented composers led him to create the Composer Diversity Database and the Institute for Composer Diversity. Deemer is a Professor and Head of Composition at the State University of New York at Fredonia and is the composer-in-residence with the Buffalo Chamber Players and Harmonia Chamber Singers. He is a founding member and current Council Chair of the NAfME Composition Council and is the Chair of the NYSSMA Composition/Improvisation Committee.


Session 1: Saturday, November 9, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Composition 101: Starting with Arranging

Session One will begin with basic arranging skills and demonstrate how both students and teachers can learn how to compose through those skills.

Session 2: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Composition 102: Working with Musical Skeletons

Session Two will demonstrate how to compose a new work by starting with pre-existing musical material and building a new piece from it.

Session 3: Saturday, November 9, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Composition 103: Working with Musical Legos

Session Three will explore how to create new musical ideas from extremely small components and make larger ideas by connecting those components together.

Session 4: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Composition 104: Architects, Chefs, and the Big Picture

Session Four will investigate two primary methods that most professional composers create their works and discuss how form and structure can be incorporated into the create process.

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Songwriting

Presenter: Mark C. Adams

Dr. Mark C. Adams is the Assistant Professor of Instrumental Music Education at the University of Delaware, where he teaches courses in music education, songwriting, and graduate research methods. Mark earned a Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University in 2017. While attending Michigan State, Mark taught songwriting for music majors and non-majors of music, and served as a Graduate Fellow at the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities. Mark holds Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Education degrees from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. While in the public-school setting, he taught vocal, instrumental, and general musics in Arizona, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Mark’s writing has appeared in Music Educators Journal, as well as the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Preservice Music Teacher Education in the United States and Engaging Musical Practices: A Sourcebook for Middle School General Music. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Adams is an active singer-songwriter and touring musician with writing, performance, and production credits on several full-length albums and EPs.

Session 1: Saturday, November 9, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Teaching Songwriting and the Importance of Classroom Community

Songwriting can help students make deep personal connections with music. Given the sensitive nature of a course where students create and share original works, it is imperative that music educators who implement songwriting into their curriculum do so with upmost care. The presenter will explore the structure of songwriting courses he has taught—including the importance of building a strong classroom community. Attendees are encouraged to bring an accompanying instrument (e.g., guitar, ukulele, iPad).

Session 2: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Designing Strong Lessons for Songwriting Courses

Teachers of songwriting often have concerns when providing their students with guidance and topics for new original songs, as well as concerns for building strong lesson plans for students who write at varying skill levels and who represent a wide variety of musical genres. Attendees will explore songwriting lesson designs from their beginning stages, and will participate in collaborative writing throughout. Attendees are encouraged to bring an accompanying instrument (e.g., guitar, ukulele, iPad).

Session 3: Saturday, November 9, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Methods of Songwriting: Inanimate Objections

This session aims to help teachers incorporate songwriting in their music curricula by focusing on one major strategy often used by songwriters: Writing about inanimate objects. Attendees will learn why songwriters sometimes write in this way, learn why this lesson is useful for students, and will participate in collaborative songwriting. Attendees are encouraged to bring an accompanying instrument (e.g., guitar, ukulele, iPad).

Session 4: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Methods of Songwriting: Story Songs

This session aims to help teachers include songwriting in their music curricula by focusing on one major strategy often used by songwriters: Story songs. Attendees will learn why songwriters sometimes write in this way, learn why this lesson is useful for students, and will participate in collaborative songwriting. Attendees are encouraged to bring an accompanying instrument (e.g., guitar, ukulele, iPad).

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Liberation Drum Circles

Presenter: Martin Urbach

Drummer / Percussionist Martin (pronounced mar-TEEN) Urbach is a Latino Immigrant, education activist and advocate for young people. His work in the classroom is based on facilitating liberated spaces for young people to fall in love with music and to promote social justice through music making. He holds a BA in jazz performance from the University of New Orleans, a MA in jazz arts from the Manhattan School of Music, an Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College and is currently a doctoral candidate in music education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He teaches music, critical consciousness and activism at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City and plays drums in a punk band named Sheer Curtains.

Session 1: Saturday, November 9, 9:15 – 10:15 AM


Teambuilding activities through drum circles, circle singing & Socratic dialogue. Developing community norms.

Session 2: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Performances, Resource Share, Reflection:

Coming together as a community of musician/educator activists to share our findings and compositions for the day, and to reflect.

Session 3: Saturday, November 9, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Drum Circles as Culture Circles:

We will explore the intersections between Freirean Culture Circles, critical pedagogy, drum circles and community music-making, and culturally responsive pedagogy as theoretical and praxial framework for an activist music education.

Session 4: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Activism, Social Justice in K-12 Settings:

Work in small groups to design experiences that take our philosophies of music education, education and social consciousness to a praxis of education for liberation. We will engage in community musicking by learning pieces from Brazil and Puerto Rico and Mali as well as compose an original musical work based on a social justice topic

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Day-Long Learning Experience: Digital and Hybrid Music:

Presenter: Jonathan Kladder

Dr. Kladder is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Ithaca College. His degrees are from the University of South Florida (Ph.D.), Boston University (M.M.Ed.) and Hope College (B.M.Ed). Jonathan currently teaches instrumental undergraduate music education courses and mentors junior and senior student teachers at Ithaca College. He continues to pursue an active research agenda and is an active presenter at local, state, national, and international music education conferences. Jonathan is interested in the intersections of music and technology, hybrid music making spaces, creativity, and curricular expansions in higher education and P-12 education.

Session 1: Saturday, November 9, 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Drop that Beat!: Creating Beats to Enhance Musicianship in the Digital Age

Digital music makes up a significant portion of music created in popular music. In this workshop, come and learn how you can incorporate digital beat making in your classroom. This session will survey online platforms for digital music making with a look at applications such as Ableton and Maschine by Native Instruments as well. Attendees will experience first-hand the process involved in creating original beats, sampling audio, and making music in collaborative settings. Resources regarding the implementation of these technologies will be provided. Attendees should bring a laptop with internet connectivity.

Session 2: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Digital Ensembles: Performing with Digital Technology in School Settings

Come listen, experience, and perform music in a digital ensemble! In this workshop, attendees will hear a performance from “Touch”, the University of South Florida’s iPad ensemble, explore innovative music making with tablets and phones, and survey resources regarding the cost and options for establishing a digital ensemble at your school. We invite you to attend this session and find out the ways you can teach musicianship through digital technology! Attendees should bring their own iOS device (iPhone or Tablet) and preload it with Garageband and B-Bot.

Session 3: Saturday, November 9, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Hybrid Music Making Spaces: Encouraging Inclusion in the Music Classroom

What is a hybrid ensemble and how do they function in school contexts? This session will answer these questions and explore their function across a variety of music teaching and learning contexts. Come and learn about the myriad of possibilities that exist in creating hybrid ensembles at your school, from creating original songs to covering pre-existing music where learning happens in social and collaborative spaces! A portion of this session will include music making, so feel free to bring your own instrument or use the ones provided.

Session 4: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 – 3:45 PM

Hybridized Learner-Centered Spaces: Maintaining Art Standards and Assessments

Ever wondered how learner-centered classrooms are structured, assessed, managed, and facilitated within a hybrid ensemble? This workshop will provide an understanding of how students learn and are assessed in a hybridized and learner-centered music classroom. Attendees will hear, discuss, and explore the myriad of possibilities that exist within a learner-centered classroom, where examples of assessment, classroom structure, and standards for music education support musical learning.

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