NAfME to Pilot an Experiential Ensembles Program for Music Educators

music education

For Immediate Release
Contact: Catherina Hurlburt or (571) 323-3395

NAfME to Pilot an Experiential Ensembles Program
for Music Educators, Courtesy of a Grant from
the National Endowment for the Arts


RESTON, VA (October 3, 2018)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has received a professional development grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support a pilot program, titled Experiential Ensembles. The project will deliver pedagogical content to band, choir, and orchestra music educators using accessible, web-based technology through online meetings and attendance at the NAfME 2018 National Conference. Sixteen pilot teachers, nominated by state music education associations and our partners at VH1 Save the Music Foundation, have been selected to participate in the project. The sixteen educators represent a wide array of classrooms, ranging from elementary to high school, rural to urban settings, and Title I funded schools.

Experiential Ensembles will be led by four esteemed music directors who have been working to engage students directly in the decision-making processes of music throughout their careers: Cynthia Johnston Turner, T. André Feagin, Thomas Dean, and Jung-Ho Pak. These clinicians will focus on rehearsal practices that deepen student engagement by regarding the student players as active decision-makers in the ensemble.

Photo: Matt Janson Photography


Experiential Ensembles will occur in stages, the first being live, online webinars where the artist directors detail their methodologies. The pilot teachers and clinicians will then meet in Dallas, Texas, during the NAfME National Conference, to explore these strategies with student ensembles—band, orchestra, and choir—each serving as a “lab” ensemble. Participants and clinicians will then reconvene online, where pilot teachers will share footage of incorporating these strategies with their own ensembles, receiving coaching from their peers and the artist directors.

The online and in-person sessions will be archived and made available to all NAfME members. Pilot teachers and artist directors will also work together to evaluate the effectiveness of the program so that NAfME can expand this mode of delivery into future professional development for the profession.

music education
Photo: Matt Janson Photography


Experiential Ensembles is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pilot Teachers

  • Brett Berridge, High School Orchestra – Lubbock, TX
  • Danielle Collins, High School Band – Huntington Beach, CA
  • David Faires, Middle School Band – Lehi, UT
  • Chaz Fonda, Middle and High School Band – Bennington, NE
  • Brandon Gordon, High School Orchestra – Bryan, OH
  • Sarah Guarrine, Middle School Orchestra – Davenport, FL
  • Timothy Harrison, High School Band – Montezuma Creek, UT
  • Steve Luxbacher, High School Choir – Oil City, PA
  • Lesslie Nunez, Middle and High School Orchestra – Forest Grove, OR
  • Laura Schenk, 6th Grade Band – Brandon, SD
  • Kaitlyn Schramm, High School Choir – Martinsburg, WV
  • Zach Schwalbach, High School Choir – Lake Oswego, OR
  • Sarah Todd, Elementary School Band – Chicago, IL
  • Nicole Vasconcelos, Middle School Band – Homestead, FL
  • Adam Warshafsky, High School Band – Skillman, NJ
  • Anna Laura Williams, Middle School Band – Murfreesboro, TN


National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members, the organization is the national voice of music education in the United States.