Classroom Music

Summer Conference 2016
Albany, NY  August 14-16, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Joan Fretz

Joan Fretz currently serves as the Executive Director of the International Alliance for Invitational Education, a global network of educators committed to creating environments in which all staff and students will realize their full potential. She has been involved in positive school climate work for twelve years, presenting workshops about Invitational Education, social emotional learning and motivational theories. In addition to her work with IAIE, Joan is the Co-Founder of the Long Island Social Emotional Literacy Forum and a regional trainer for the international Lions Quest SEL youth development program.

Prior to her retirement in 2013, Joan enjoyed a 36-year tenure as a New York State public school music teacher and school district administrator. She founded and taught in the Hofstra University Orff Schulwerk Certification Program for classroom music, and served for seven years as NYSSMA Classroom Music State Chair, during which time she developed the NYSSMA PEAK program.

Joan worked closely with the New York State Education Department in its development of SEL Guidelines for schools as well as the implementation of a new State anti-bias law, the “Dignity Act.” As a District Director in Huntington Schools for 26 years, Joan supervised the Visual and Performing Arts and Arts-In-Education programs. In 2008, the Huntington Times named Joan “Woman of the Year in the Arts” for her dedication to and advocacy for arts education in New York State. She lives on Long Island in Huntington, New York.

Headliner: Lillie Feierabend

Lillie Feierabend is know for her work with young children and for instilling a love of music within them.  This is her fifteenth year at the University of Hartford Magnet School and seventeenth as a director for the Connecticut Children’s Chorus.  In 1998, she received the Teacher of the Year Award from Canton Schools for her innovative and inclusive music programs.  In 2008, she again received her district’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Outstanding Elementary Music Educator Award from the Connecticut Music Educators Association.  Lillie is a frequent clinician at local, state and national conferences and a guest conductor for regional honors choirs.  She also teaches at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Gordon College in Boston, Anderson University in Indiana, and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford.  She is Past President of KESNE, and a member of NAfMe, OAKE, CMEA and ACDA, for which she served as National Children’s Honor Choir chair for the 2010 Conference.

Early Childhood/Elementary Classroom Music Sessions

Sunday, August 14, 2016

1:00-2:15 Jennifer Cerne-Incorporating Listening and Learning Modules in the Music Classroom

During this workshop, attendees will experience songs and activities that incorporate K-2 Listening and Learning ELA modules. The materials aim to enhance students’ musicality through rhythm, tonal and movement activities while drawing from what they learn outside of the music classroom.

2:30 – 3:45 Lillie Feierabend– Multiple Intelligence in the Music Classroom

Music educators have always known that Music is a separate intelligence, worthy of our time and effort. What is becoming increasingly evident is that while developing our students’ music ability, we are also helping to strengthen and develop the other intelligences, as well.  This is accomplished, not by compromising our musical goals and standards, but simply by manipulating the material that we are already teaching our students.  This session will introduce participants to the Theory of Multiple Intelligence, its application in a music classroom and the profound impact Music development has on strengthening, reinforcing and developing the Verbal Linguistic, Logical Mathematical, Bodily Kinesthetic, Visual Spatial, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

4:00 – 5:15 Lillie Feierabend – Books That Sing, Books That Move

Open a book and what do you see? Words? Pictures?  Look again.  Does it sing?  Does it move?  If so, invite your students to do more than just listen.  Make their learning meaningful by inviting them to sing and move right along.  This lively session will share a dozen books guaranteed to enrich the musical abilities of your students while, at the same time, make authentic connections to your language arts curriculum and the other intelligences.

5:30-6:15 Ruth Briedenbach -Evaluations: It’s All in the Evidence

Using “Yellow Umbrella” a picture book from Korea as a vehicle; a cross curricular, literature based lesson that aligns with the National Core Arts Standards and incorporates Project Based Learning and assessments will be presented. Through this lesson we will explore what administrators are looking for when conducting observations.

Monday, August 15, 2016

9:00 – 10:15 Lillie Feierabend- Vocal Development in Young Children

Tuneful singing is the marriage of tuneful thinking and physiological awareness. The child must first be able to “catch the tune” and then reproduce it in head voice.  Young children must be given opportunities to experience and develop both of these important skills.  This session will share strategies and techniques that are developmentally appropriate while remaining wonderfully childlike, playful, imaginary and fun.

10:30 – 11:45 Lillie Feierabend-Intentional Movement in the Music Classroom

Movement is an integral part of being musical. Think of your favorite activity in the music classroom; chances are there is some type of movement to enhance the experience.  This is no surprise; children learn best when they are able to use their bodies.  The movement component is worthy of the same explicit and intentional instruction that we devote to the tonal and rhythmic goals of our curriculum.  Participants will be introduced to strategies and techniques that will enhance the movement component in a music classroom.  Wear your dancing shoes; this session will involve participants in our rich folk music repertoire of songs, dances, singing games and play parties.

1:00– 2:00 Joan Fretz (KEYNOTE) – Realizing our Potential: Strategies for Positively Influencing Student Motivation and Behavior

2:30- 3:45 Joan Fretz – The Intentional Educator: Replacing Controls With Invitations to Learn

2:30- 3:45 Ashley Moss – Teaching on the Continuum: Reaching Special Learners in K-2

This session will provide an overview of ways to prepare for, modify, and implement instruction in self-contained and integrated classrooms. Through presenter guided experiences and discussion, participants will explore ways to modify the classroom environment, adjust classroom activities, and enhance learning for students with special needs in K-2 music classes.

6:15-7:30 Patrick Dillon and Cristen Salisbury – I Wanna Folk Dance With Somebody

Join us for an evening session of folk dances for all ages — some to share with your students, and some to challenge yourself!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

10:30-11:45 Deborah Cunningham – Raisin’ a Ruckus

Create, perform, respond and connect.   Using the song We Will Raise a Ruckus Tonight for inspiration, participants will: perform by singing, moving, and playing instruments; create by making compositional choices using rhythm and timbre; respond by examining the compositional and expressive choices made by the creators/performers, and connect by examining the history of the song.

Middle/High School Classroom Music Sessions

Sunday, August 14, 2016

1:00-2:15 Brian Wagner-Making Connections: Using Repertoire to Enhance the Social-Emotional Needs of All Students

Come see how repertoire can be used to further develop the social-emotional needs of all populations of students, with a focus placed on special learners. You will see how repertoire can be used to teach skills such as: self-esteem, confidence, friendship, in addition to basic social and life-long skills. Such musical examples will include: popular music, The Blues, classical music, and the incorporation of multicultural music. You will leave with a handout, and a variety of resources/activities that can be incorporated into your own classroom.

2:30 – 3:45 Laurence Tallman-Move To Prove: Using Creative Movement to Teach & Reinforce Musical Concepts

Get your high school music electives students out of their seats and moving in exciting and creative ways!  This workshop will focus on ways to introduce, teach, and reinforce a wide variety of musical concepts through creative movement lessons & activities, as well as giving suggestions as to how to encourage, organize, and implement creative movement at the high school level.  In addition, participants will learn how to integrate these lessons into such classes as Music Theory, Music in Our Lives, and Music Appreciation.  This is a hands-on, active workshop, so be prepared to move right along with the instructor! 

4:00 – 5:15 Catherine Plichta- Using Technology in the Music Classroom: Providing Accountability and Improving Student Practice

Capturing the musical process and performance through the use of technology enables teachers to better assess their students.  This presentation centers around the use of technology as a form of formative assessment.  In addition, through the use of self and peer assessment, technology builds individual accountability, fosters a culture of critique in the classroom, and intrinsically motivates students.

5:30-6:15 Ruth Briedenbach -Evaluations: It’s All in the Evidence

Using “Yellow Umbrella” a picture book from Korea as a vehicle; a cross curricular, literature based lesson that aligns with the National Core Arts Standards and incorporates Project Based Learning and assessments will be presented. Through this lesson we will explore what administrators are looking for when conducting observations.

Monday, August 10, 2016

9:00 – 10:15 Jonathan Keefner- African Drum and Dance Resources: Teaching the Ghanian Kpanlogo in Your High School Classrooms

“A Beginners Guide” will be a brief introduction on the ancient tradition of West African Drum and Dance and how to apply it to your music classroom. The focus of this year’s presentation will be for secondary classrooms but can be easily differentiated for elementary as well. Participants will leave with at least one song, dance, and accompanying drumming pattern that can be immediately transferable to their classroom. Come with an open mind and an open heart to discover this rich and fascinating tradition!

10:30 – 11:45 Anthony Femino-Variations on Middle School Themes

Participants will be guided through a Theme and Variations unit focusing on performing, composing, arranging, listening and responding.  Activities will be hands on and applicable to the general music setting.  Be ready to get your creative juices flowing and add something new to your teaching repertoire!

1:00– 2:00 Joan Fretz (KEYNOTE) – Realizing our Potential: Strategies for Positively Influencing Student Motivation and Behavior

While high stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems were intended to improve schools, these control-oriented reforms have negatively impacted the motivation, effort, and self-regard of both students and staff. Educators have a unique opportunity to counter these consequences with a more optimistic approach, and insure that all students and staff will realize their full potential.

Music education experiences can easily provide all three key conditions for intrinsically motivated learning and increased engagement.  This session introduce music educators to Invitational Theory: a self-concept approach to teaching and leading, that explains how the people and experiences in our lives continually message us that we are able, valuable, and responsible, or that we are not. Every message we receive influences what we believe to be true about ourselves, and creates a positive or negative self-concept.  Our self-concept then drives our choices of behavior. 

Invitational Theory and other related theories of motivation provide us with a simple framework for how we can positively influence the motivation and behavior of those we teach and lead. Learn how you and your staff can join an international movement to replace control-oriented approaches with intentional invitations to succeed.

2:30- 3:45 Joan Fretz – The Intentional Educator: Replacing Controls With Invitations to Learn

Music educators and leaders will explore how to put Invitational Theory into everyday practice. Learn how you can intentionally demonstrate care, optimism, respect, and trust in your interactions with students and staff, and how an inviting approach leads to increased motivation, perseverance, and beneficial choices of behavior.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

9:00 – 10:15 Shana Kohler-Your Other Left…Dancing in the Music Room

Middle school can be aca-awkward, but we still want out kids to move!  Come and learn some line dances your middle school students and upper elementary students will love!

10:30 – 11:45 Susan Davis-Demystifying the edTPA: Top Ten Tips for Middle School General Music

Although the edTPA has been required for NY state certification since 2014, there is still confusion surrounding the language and implementation of the exam. Come to this session to unravel the mysteries of edTPA.  With a focus on middle school general music, we will explore ways to adapt and align curriculum with the demands of the edTPA.  Critical topics include decoding the rubrics, identifying academic language, and designing assessment artifacts.  The perspectives of all stakeholders (cooperating teachers, supervising professors and student teachers) will be addressed.

We welcome session proposal submissions for future conferences!  To download a proposal form, click the link below:

Session Proposal Form

The goals of the CMC are:

  • to promote the importance and value of classroom music in music programs and schools of New York State
  • to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of activities
  • to coordinate and support the efforts and activities of classroom music teachers and students
  • to improve the quality, scope and effectiveness of classroom music instruction.

The CMC meets its goals through activities including…

Exemplary classroom music sessions for Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, and High School music teachers at Winter Conference and Summer Conferences

Statewide series of Regional Workshops and other inservice opportunities for teachers on important classroom music topics;

Classroom Music PEAK Festivals and other opportunities for New York State students;

Collaborative work with the State Education Department on initiatives related to standards, assessment, and resources for classroom music instruction.

For further information and assistance, please contact the Chairperson, Kerry Mero, or a member of the Classroom Music Committee.

Classroom Music Committee

What Resources are Available from the CMC?

Our newest publication, NY Sings! A Song List For and By New Yorkers, was published in the April 2016 issue of the School Music News.  Click here to read more about it!


  • Assessment in Classroom Music
  • Classroom Music PEAK Festival Handbook
  • Conference Workshop Proposal Application Form
  • Consultant services- providing clinicians by area of expertise
  • NY Sings! A Song List For and By New Yorkers

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