The National Association for Music Education 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.
Siegel Middle School band instructor Anna Laura Williams is among 16 pilot teachers.
Those instructors were nominated by state music education associations and VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
“Oh my goodness,” Williams said. “I was just so thrilled and so honored when I found out. I couldn’t believe it at first. I was just so excited.”
The 16 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 – Cynthia Johnston Turner, T. André Feagin, Thomas Dean and Jung-Ho Pak – who have been working to engage students directly in the decision-making processes of music throughout their careers.
These clinicians will focus on rehearsal practices that deepen student engagement by regarding the student players as active decision-makers in the ensemble.
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.
“I am really looking forward to sitting with the other music educators,” Williams said, “and getting to learn from them … and just share ideas.”
She added, “And getting to see these clinicians live in person as well. We’re going to have a chance to see them use some of these strategies with the ensembles there, which is going to be fantastic.”
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 artistic 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.
“I love Rutherford County so much and I know this is a great opportunity for Rutherford County (Schools),” said Williams, a Riverdale High School graduate. A Murfreesboro native, she is in her second year of teaching at Siegel Middle. “This is the county that made me want to be a teacher, so to be teaching here and now to have this kind of opportunity to bring national attention to Rutherford County is just phenomenal.”
As a member of the Tennessee Music Education Association, Willams chairs a trio of committees — Tri-M Music Honor Society Chair, E-Newsletter and the Conference Mobile Application.
The 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.
The following is a list of all 16 teachers chosen for the pilot program:
Anna Laura Williams; Middle School Band; Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Brett Berridge; High School Orchestra; Lubbock, Texas
Danielle Collins; High School Band; Huntington Beach, California
David Faires; Middle School Band; Lehi, Utah
Chaz Fonda; Middle and High School Band; Bennington, Nebraska
Brandon Gordon; High School Orchestra; Bryan, Ohio
Sarah Guarrine; Middle School Orchestra; Davenport, Florida
Timothy Harrison; High School Band; Montezuma Creek, Utah
Steve Luxbacher; High School Choir; Oil City, Pennsylvania
Lesslie Nunez; Middle and High School Orchestra; Forest Grove, Oregon
Laura Schenk; Middle School Band; Brandon, South Dakota
Kaitlyn Schramm; High School Choir; Martinsburg, West Virginia
Zach Schwalbach; High School Choir; Lake Oswego, Oregon
Sarah Todd; Elementary School Band; Chicago, Illinois
Nicole Vasconcelos; Middle School Band; Homestead, Florida
Adam Warshafsky; High School Band; Skillman, New Jersey