Classroom Music

Summer Conference 2019
Albany, NY  August 11-13, 2019

Headliner: Karla Cherwinski

Karla Cherwinski has been an elementary general music educator for 26 years and currently teaches at Indian Trail Elementary in Canal Winchester, Ohio where she works with 1st and 2nd graders.  She has degrees from Capital University, the Kodaly Institute at Capital, and The Ohio State University. Karla was recently named the Director of the Kodaly Track in the Masters of Music in Music Education program at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.  She has taught Level III Kodaly Methodology and Materials at Capital and levels at Colorado State University and Morehead State.

Karla has presented sessions on a variety of topics around North America including the 2017 International Kodaly Symposium in Alberta, Canada, multiple Organization of American Kodaly Educator’s National Conferences, the Midwest Kodaly Music Educator’s Conference and NYSSMA, NJMEA and OMEA conferences.

Early Childhood/Elementary Classroom Music Sessions

Sunday, August 11, 2019

1:00-2:15  I’m Teaching What?! Strategies for PreK Music (Ashley Fox)

Shocked by the newest addition to your teaching load this year? Do not fear! In this session we will move and groove our way through developmentally appropriate activities and practices that will have your littlest students singing, chanting, and playing the whole class long!

2:30-3:45  Clapping Conversations Connecting Countries (Madolyn Accola)

Clap, pat, stomp, and snap as we travel the world through song! Hand games from Mexico, canons from Japan, passing games from Ghana, and lullabies from the Balkans demonstrate the unique power of music to transcend boundaries and create community.  Let us guide our students through the door of cultural communication with singing, dancing, and playing

4:00 – 5:15 Create! Perform! Respond! Active Music Making Meets the NYS and National Core Arts Standards (Deborah Cunningham)

Using the NYS and National Core Arts Standards as guides, workshop participants will: learn and analyze a song; compose rhythms and melodies; create accompanying movement; perform and notate their compositions. Direct connections to state and national standards will be made, as well as ways to adapt and extend the lesson.

5:30-6:30  The Learner Active, Technologically Infused Elementary General Music Classroom  (Elaine Philhower)

Participants will experience a LATI (Learner Active Technologically Infused) unit. Rubrics, Activity Lists, Help and Expert Boards, Google Classroom and the concept of student responsibility in the elementary general music classroom will be introduced.

Monday, August 12, 2019

9:00 – 10:15  Keeping the Beat: The Benefits of Passing Games In the Music Classroom  (Karla Cherwinski)

Passing Games are great fun for all ages and reinforce many musical concepts and skills. This session will feature tried and true songs and games that can be easily incorporated into your daily teaching, all the while reinforcing desired content and standard outcomes.

10:30 – 11:45  Assessment? How Do You Find The Time?  (Karla Cherwinski)

This session will focus on simple yet valuable tools that can be used on a regular basis to intentionally and purposefully evaluate your students understanding of the curriculum. Creating and using these types of assessments can be embedded into your lessons utilizing your limited contact time with students.  Activities can be applied K-6 (and beyond) in the general music classroom.

10:30 – 11:45  Exploration, Improvisation, Composition: Creative Activities in Early Childhood Music  (Beatrice Olesko)

In this session, we will explore the difference between exploration, improvisation, and composition activities, and workshop strategies for engaging our youngest music learners in these creative processes.  Focused on Pre-K-2nd grade students, this session will focus on effectively implementing creative activities that are musically and developmentally appropriate for the early childhood music setting.

2:30- 3:45  Incorporating Movement and Dance in Your Curriculum: A Sequence That Can Help! (Karla Cherwinski)

This session will share an established sequence based on the works of Lois Choksy, with leveled activities starting with young children through upper elementary. These songs, games, structured movement and dances can be incorporated in your curriculum alongside what you are already finding success with in your teaching.  Come prepared to be moving as well as stretching your own comfort with movement!

6:15-7:30 Connecting with the NYS Standards for the Arts (Anthony Femino, Kim Kane, Kerry Mero, Laurence Tallman)

In this session, members of the Classroom Music Committee will explore the artistic process of connecting in grades K-12. A short sample lesson for each classroom music level (early childhood, elementary, middle and high school) will be demonstrated, along with the opportunity for questions/discussion on the connecting process.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

9:00-10:15  Bargain Basement Props and Manipulatives: Creatively Using Thrift and Dollar Store Finds (Kerry Mero)

This session will demonstrate ways to engage your students’ learning with fun props and manipulatives on a budget. Detailed notes will include songs, games and lesson ideas, as well as DIY templates and resource information.

Middle/High School Classroom Music Sessions

Sunday, August 11, 2019

1:00-2:15 Come Create, Play, Respond and Connect with the Alto Recorder (Anthony Femino)

Have you ever wanted to learn to play and teach the alto recorder? This session will provide hands-on lesson ideas for your middle school students.  Participants will explore all 4 artistic processes from the NYS Learning Standards for the Arts.  Alto recorders will be provided.

2:30– 3:45 Flipping the HS Music Classrooom (Laurence Tallman)

This session will explore ways to “flip” your general music classroom at the high school level. The presentation will include ideas for engaging your students, sample lesson ideas, and suggestions of tools that will make flipping your classroom easier.

4:00 – 5:15  Demystifying The Middle School General Music Classroom (Morgan Trevor and Shane Peters)

Music educators often express feelings of dread in regards to the middle school general music classroom. In this presentation, we aim to rewrite these attitudes and assumptions by providing a plethora of curricular ideas, relevancy research, sample unit lessons, projects and technological tie-ins to the middle school general music clientele.

5:30-6:15  The High School Music Elective: An Accessible and Relevant Opportunity (Jennifer Rafferty)

With a wide variety of possibilities of what we should teach, this class can sometimes be challenging. In this workshop we will discuss assessments, flipped classroom, rock music, history, and community so your students will graduate with the skills to be knowledgeable producers and consumers of music. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

9:00 – 10:15  Engaging All Learners: Tools and Techniques to Reach Different Types of Learners in the Music Classroom (Brian Wagner)

Come see how activities and skills in the elementary and secondary general music classroom can easily be adapted and differentiated to reach a wide range of learners, specifically focusing on special learners. You will see how music literacy, active listening and composition can be adapted.  Such techniques include: adaptive music literacy, color coding, incorporating multi-modal teaching, and using manipulatives.  You will leave with a handout, and a variety of resources/activities that can be incorporated into your own classroom.

2:30-3:45 Using Pop Music To Increase Engagement in the Middle School Classroom (Erin Belanger)

Are you tired of teaching the same old lessons on music history and theory to a sea of unengaged middle school eyes? Do you feel bored yourself when planning the day’s lesson? If so, then this is the session for you!  Session attendees will take away several fun and exciting lesson plans that use music the students already listen to.  These lessons have been proven to create music makers in the classroom instead of passive bystanders.

6:15-7:30 Connecting with the NYS Standards for the Arts (Anthony Femino, Kim Kane, Kerry Mero, Laurence Tallman)

In this session, members of the Classroom Music Committee will explore the artistic process of connecting in grades K-12. A short sample lesson for each classroom music level (early childhood, elementary, middle and high school) will be demonstrated, along with the opportunity for questions/discussion on the connecting process.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

10:30 – 11:45  Keep It Eclectic: Using the NYS Standards in High School Music (Laurence Tallman)

Wondering how to incorporate the new standards in your high school music classroom while keeping variety in your lessons and using different techniques? This session will give examples of how to use a variety of teaching techniques like Orff and Dalcroze with your older students while working within the framework of the NYS Standards for the Arts.

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 in-service 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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