FAME Teacher Spotlight – Andy Himelick
Name: Andrew M. Himelick
School District: Carmel Clay Schools
Grades Taught & Specialty Area (previously and currently): K – 5
- Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education – Butler University
- Kodály Certificate of Music Education from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI.
- Orff-Schulwerk Levels I and II at the University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN
- Orff-Schulwerk Level III at Anderson University, Anderson, IN
Primary instrument in college: Voice
FAME member since: 2012 – Founding Member
Classes/Workshops you’ve attended in First Steps or Conversational Solfege
- First Steps– Part of Kodály Level 1 at Silver Lake College – 1996
- Conversational Solfege – Anderson University – 2005
- FAME Teacher Trainer Apprentice: Converstaional Solfege – 2013
- FAME Teacher Trainer Apprentice: First Steps in Music – 2015
How did you first come upon Dr. Feierabend’s materials and philosophy, how has it changed your teaching and how has First Steps and Conversational Solfege changed your students?
When I first met John in the summer of 1996, I knew my teaching and personal music making was never going to be the same. John was my solfege instructor as I was working on my Kodaly Certification at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI with Sister Lorna Zemke. He was using a lot of his Conversational Solfege techniques with us in the class, and my ears opened those two summers as I finally understood that “solfege is power!”
Jump forward to the summer of 2005, when I took Conversational Solfege at Anderson University with John. After that class, I knew then that I wanted to switch my teaching from the traditional Kodaly sequence to the 12 steps of John’s Conversational Solfege. I also started using First Steps in Music with my kindergarten and 1st graders.
Within 6 months of using these research based approaches with my students, I could tell an amazing difference in their musicianship. Over the next couple of years, formative and summative assessments (along with the enjoyment in the classroom) gave proof to me that I made the correct choice. Since then, not only did I want to make an impact on my own students, but I wanted to get the word out to others about John’s materials.
I have had the privilege since then of sharing both First Steps and Conversational Solfege with other teachers in my district, at state workshops and conventions. Our district has made John’s materials available for each of the elementary music teachers. I also have student teachers each year that receive experience using his materials with my students. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that these future music educators will continue to make a difference in the musical lives of their students as they create communities that are “tuneful, beatful and artful.”
What would you say to encourage a teacher just starting out with John’s materials or encourage a teacher who has used the materials for a while, but may be overwhelmed?
I’ve learned over my teaching career that the best way to learn how to teach is to watch others. If you are not sure how to implement FSM and CS, go visit another teacher who is having success. Go to a FAME conference. Join FAME and view the resources that on the website. Making music well is best done with others.
Andrew M. Himelick has been an elementary music teacher in Carmel, IN and is a Preparatory and First Steps director with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. He graduated from Butler University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and was awarded Outstanding Student Teacher. In 1999, he completed the Kodály Certificate of Music Education from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI. He completed Orff-Schulwerk Levels I and II at the University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN in 2001 and 2002, and Level III at Anderson University in 2005. He received the Indiana University School of Education Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator Award for the 2006-2007 academic year. Andrew has been a member of the NAfME, Indiana Music Educators as well as national and state Orff and Kodály associations. He is a founding member of FAME. He had the privilege in the summer of 2013 to be the first apprentice teacher trainer under Dr. John Feierabend at Anderson University’s summer program. He has been a presenter and clinician at national and state music conventions and workshops. He, his wife Lori, son Jaren, and daughter Jenna live in Indianapolis and are members of Traders Point Christian Church.