2021 Virtual Conference Session Descriptions


Conference Session Descriptions are provided for your information and planning purposes.  It is highly recommended that one register and SELECT ALL the sessions in your schedule to receive replay links for each session after the live event. Please note clinicians reserve the right to modify their content and descriptions.


Clinician Name:  Amy M. Burns

Session Title:  Integrating Technology with First Steps in Music

Session Description:  Amy M. Burns shows how technology can be used with Dr. Feierabend’s First Steps in Music. Burns will demonstrate how technology can enhance assessments, organization, creativity, and all of the steps in the eight-step workout found in First Steps in Music. Participants will also get to experience and learn more about the approach in preschool and elementary grades, as well as infants and toddlers. In addition, this session shows lessons from her book titled, Using Technology with Elementary Music Approaches, which includes Dr. Feierabend’s First Steps in Music. This session is perfect for any early childhood or elementary music educator who uses the Feierabend materials, or is curious about the approach, or would like to know how to use technology within that approach.


Clinician Names:  Andy Himelick & Craig Knapp

Session Title:  Choral Rehearsals in the Virtual World

Session Description:  In this session, participants will learn how to have effective choral rehearsals while maintaining joyful teaching and learning during the virtual age. We will share strategies in using technology as well as activities that can be used in a fun and productive choral rehearsal. This workshop will offer techniques on how to keep your singers engaged while using the computer screen to your advantage.


Clinician Names:   Andy Himelick & Craig Knapp

Session Title:  Camp “Feier” Conversation – Conversational Solfege

Session Description:  Join FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainers, Andy Himelick and Craig Knapp for an informal chat about all things Conversational Solfege.  Questions and participation are encouraged. 


Clinician Names:  Betsy Greene, Joani Brandon, Rachel Grimsby, Andrew Himelick, Craig Knapp, Chris Tranberg

Session Title:   Conversational Solfege with Orff Schulwerk: Sing, Say, Dance, Play

Session Description:  Discover ways to thoughtfully develop the musicianship of your students with activities that use a high level of engagement with creativity and child input. This session will help you to reflect on your own teaching in a way that will encourage you to prioritize best practices and take a reflective look at excellent music instruction regardless of philosophical approach or methodology. Sing, say, dance, and play your way to learning how to develop musically literate students.


Clinician Name:  Bronwyn Lawson

Session Title:  Building family connections to support tuneful, beatful & artful infants and toddlers

Session Description:  With each passing decade, musicality and childhood repertoire is being lost due to the increases in technology and a culture of being music consumers rather than music makers. Many parents have a desire to give their children an early childhood music education but have not experienced what a rich musical childhood looks and sounds like. First Steps in Music for Infants and Toddlers provides the perfect framework for early music education through parent-child groups but how can we as educators best support parents to take the music beyond the classroom walls and fill their child’s life with music?


Clinician Names:  Chris Anne Powers & David Rankine

Session Title:  Camp “Feier” Conversation – Distance Learning

Session Description:  Join FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainers, Chris Anne Powers & David Rankine for an informal chat about all things Distance Learning.  Questions and participation are encouraged. 


Clinician Name:  Christopher Tranberg

Session Title:  FAME Beyond the Music Classroom

Session Description:  Teaching music comes with unique challenges that often result in music teachers feeling isolated in their schools and districts. When given the chance, however, music teachers can bring schools together and serve as the heart of a positive school cultures. Join in a conversation full of ideas and strategies that will help you honor the principles of FAME and balance the demands of cumbersome evaluation plans, classroom observations, and requests of supporting standards across content areas. This session will be dialogue driven with some music making along the way.


Clinician Name:  Connie Greenwood

Session Title:  Creating and Using Manipulatives in a Virtual Preschool Music Program

Session Description:  Using manipulatives creates a multisensory experience for young children and can enhance engagement in a virtual setting.  Connie will share her ideas of how to create music kits and use them for an authentic musical connection.


Clinician Name:  Corinne Galligan

Session Title:  Music of the Sea:  Lyrical Creation and Improvisation through Chanteys

Session Description:  Sea chanteys are work songs that were used aboard square-rigged sailing ships. Chanteymen were highly skilled improvisers who were able to string out a song as long as necessary to complete a job, whether that was adjusting the sails, raising the anchor, moving cargo, or pumping out the ship. In this session, learn how to teach your students to sing pre-existing chantey verses as they build comfort with solo and group singing, then create their own verses in lengths of one to three lines.


Clinician Name:  David Coffin

Session Title:  Community Sing

Session Description:  From Pub songs to Sea Chanteys, Folk songs to Hymns, community singing is more important than ever in this year of isolation. Bring your voices (don’t forget the lyric sheet) open the windows so the neighbors “wonder”, and a glass of something (you’re at home after all) and let’s create a virtual sound to make the Ethernet envious.


Clinician Name:  David Coffin

Session Title: How to lead a community sing

Session Description:  In this participatory session we will look at different ways to encourage reluctant singers to participate and feel welcome and included. This especially includes school students. Choosing material, subject matter (current or traditional), being the leader; what’s involved, what works, and what doesn’t.  Sharing ideas (open forum).


Clinician Name:  David Rankine

Session Title:  First Steps in Green Screen Technology

Session Description:  Have you ever been asked to incorporate more technology into your music program? Get ready to blend the timeless treasures of First Steps in Music with 21st century media technology using Green Screen Technology. Come immerse yourself in a classroom-size green screen studio as you experience how students’ can create, edit, and share amazing high definition videos that reflect all 8 steps of the First Steps in Music Curriculum. Personal devices are encouraged but not necessary.


Clinician Name:  Dr. Karen Howard

Session Title:  First Steps in Global Music

Session Description:  Participants will experience music from several cultures as they align with steps in FISM. Selections from a wide representation of locations including Tanzania, Cuba, and Brazil will be explored.


Clinician Names:  Dr. Karen Howard & Dr. Rachel Grimsby

Session Title:  Camp “Feier” Conversation – Global Music

Session Description:  Join Dr. Karen Howard and FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainer, Dr. Rachel Grimsby for an informal chat about all things related to Global Music.  Questions and participation are encouraged. 


Clinician Name:  Dr. Latasha Thomas-Durrell

Session Title:  Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Feierbend

Session Description: Students benefit, in multiple ways, from involvement in a culturally responsive music curriculum. While there is no checklist by which to check your curriculum to know if it is culturally responsive, there are levels of self-reflection you can engage in to set yourself on a path to culturally responsive teaching. This session will use concepts and practices put forth by Feierabend to address different ways for music teachers to provide culturally responsive instruction.


Clinician Name:  Dr. Rachel Grimsby

Session Title:  Teaching To Your Community

Session Description:  This session is centered in learning how to choose repertoire that is reflective of the school community. Culturally Relevant (Ladson-Billings) and Culturally Responsive (Gay) pedagogies will guide discussion and a musical model will be provided.


Clinician Names:  Rachel Grimsby & Leslie Weaver

Session Title:  Assistive Technology in the First Steps and Conversational Solfege Classroom

Session Description:  This session will review a variety of assistive devices that music educators may find beneficial for those students whom they teach with disabilities. Each device will be modeled during the session and participants will then have time to engage with assistive technology. Useful apps and other resources will also be shared.

Clinician Name:  Emily Maurek

Session Title:  First Steps in Music for the Older Beginner

Session Description:  Do you have older students who are not quite yet Tuneful, Beatful, and Artful? Schedule changes, redistricting, relocation and other factors can bring slightly older beginners into your program who could benefit from the skills taught in the First Steps years. In order to begin teaching music literacy using Conversational Solfege, students must have prerequisite skills — singing in tune, the ability to demonstrate a steady beat, and a developed sense of sensitivity to music are necessary in order to make learning seemingly effortless in the older grades. This session will give practical tips and suggestions on how to help beginners in the upper elementary years forge the necessary pathway toward music literacy.


Session Objectives:  Participants will learn how to apply the First Steps in Music framework to beginning students who are slightly older beginners, Second Grade and up.  Participants will be provided with suggestions of age-appropriate repertoire and activities for older children.


Clinician Name:  Jane Kahan

Session Title:  Movement Exploration with Jane Kahan (General Session)

Session Description:  Get set for success with improvising, experimenting with and  generating movement. We will all be moving.     


Clinician Name:  Jane Kahan

Session Title:  Movement Exploration (Breakout Session)

Session Description:  How to use the Movement Themes to create movement about thoughts feelings and ideas. We will be moving.

Clinician Names:  John & Lillie Feierabend

Session Title:  Strawberry Social

Session Description:  Join us for the Strawberry Social.  Hosted by John and Lillie here is a chance to for casual time to meet and mingle with the presenters.  Bring your own strawberries and ice cream.  Mixologist and President Emily Maurek has created a special “Strawberry Social Beverage” recipe as well!


Clinician Name:  John Crever

Session Title:  Adaptations To Conversational Solfege for Online Instruction

Session Description:  John Feierabend’s researched based framework for teaching music reading, Conversational Solfege, was inspired by Kodaly’s planned presentation of each notation element cumulatively over time, through authentic repertoire, and regularly engaging the students in expressive singing and moving.  Reconfiguring the music reading curriculum to online delivery comes with challenges not seen with the in-person classroom.  Join FAME Teacher Trainer John Crever for tips and resources to progress students from conversationally making music to writing original tunes they imagine while in online learning


Clinician Names:  John Feierabend & Peggy Lyman Hayes

Session Title:  Morning Move It!

Session Description:  “The Flower Duet” from Lakmé by Léo Delibes

Such a light, lyrical, expressive duet.  I immediately felt the soft breezes and sparkling reflections coming off of a flowing stream feeding the colorful flowers along the shoreline.  The sisters use the musical crescendos to reach out and up to caress the flowers basking in the sunlight gently cascading down on them through the leafy canopy.  Their round, circling arms celebrate the life-giving force of the sun.  The beauty of the flowers finally seduces the sisters to pick some and to sprinkle their petals into the flowing water—he loves me, he loves me not?


Clinician Name:  John Feierabend

Session Title:   “Growing Improvisation”

Session Description:

Improvisation doesn’t have to be mysterious or scary.  This session will present a pathway to developing successful improvisation from beginning to advanced, beginning in early childhood with free Improvisation (arioso), and moving toward more structured melodic improvisation with the introduction of solfege syllables.  And finally, strategies will be shared on how to melodically improvise within a harmonic context.  


Clinician Names:  John Feierabend & Peggy Lyman Hayes

Session Title:  Closing Move It!

Session Description:  “Waltz #2 by Dmitri Shostokovich

With it’s pulsing 3/4 beat, almost oom-pa-pa-oom,pa-pa, and calliope-sounding energy I was transported back to carnivals of my youth and the thrill of riding the up & down pulsating carousel horses spinning around the calliope where the brass ring hung.  Using the sense of circular and up & down energy the gestures follow the legs of the horses and the reaching out to grab the brass ring.  If the horses could trot away from their stationary platform they would race to a finish line, then be festooned in a garland of roses!.  Crisscrossing of the arms—can you find your way through the fun house or are you confused around each corner?  The exuberance of the carnival is expressed by the energetic thigh slapping.  Have fun with it!


Clinician Name:  Leslie Weaver

Session Title:  First Steps in Concert Preparation

Session Description:  In this session, participants will learn how to use teaching practices from the 8-part First Steps workout and the 12-part Conversational Solfege unit for concert preparation at the elementary level. Participants will be shown a list of programmed material for a grades 3-5 choral concert and will be led through multiple activities used to prepare the pieces for performance. How to select literature that lends itself to First Steps and Conversational Solfege teaching techniques will also be discussed.

Clinician Name:  Lillie Feierabend

Session Title:  First Steps with The Nutcracker; An Adventure with Movement Exploration

Session Description:  “The Nutcracker” comes alive when children are invited to actively participate, to become each character and respond expressively to their signature music. At the same time, each selection offers an opportunity to expand students’ creative movement vocabulary. One moment, they are the Soldier Doll, with strong, tense movements, then quickly transform into the Ballet Doll to exhibit light, gentle and relaxed motions. The rush of energy reflected in the bold and accented gestures of the Candy Canes is quickly contrasted by the sustained and delicate motions that mirror the rise and fall of each phrase for Coffee. That physical connection, that bond, will serve as a gateway to greater understanding and appreciation. Their engagement with the music will forever be on a more meaningful and musical level.  Join us as we dance each character and discover the delight of moving expressively and musically to the Movement Exploration themes.


Clinician Names:  Lillie Feierabend & Stephanie Schall-Brazee

Session Title:  Camp “Feier” Conversation – First Steps in Music

Session Description:  Join FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainers, Lillie Feierabend & Stephanie Schall-Brazee for an informal chat about all things First Steps in Music.  Questions and participation are encouraged. 


Clinician Name:  Lindsay Jackson

Session Title:  Informances:  Building Community & Celebrating Your Program!

Session Description:  Informances are a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of your students, connect with the school community at large, and do it all in a child-centered and fun way! We will explore how to program informances for the elementary classroom, what logistics you need to make them successful, and how to educate your administration and parent community about the benefits of informances. You will leave with the tools and inspiration to begin doing these wonderful events at your own school this year!


Clinician Name:  Manju Durairaj

Session Title:  21st Century Orff Schulwerk: Collaborative Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching

Session Description:  As 21st century music educators work to ensure that learning is accessible to every student while addressing their needs for academics and social-emotional growth, they can utilize frameworks often found in general education—namely Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Teaching for Understanding, Understanding by Design, 21st Century Education, and the Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework. These frameworks are underpinned by common threads—addressing social emotional affect, building relationships, developing healthy interactions, ongoing assessment, thinking creatively, differentiation, inclusion, inspiring creativity, curiosity, and wonder, and focusing on collaborative learning as optimal learning.



Clinician Name:  Melinda Workman, John Crever

Session Title:  Incorporating Conversational Solfege into the Private Studio – A Panel Discussion

Session Description:  Conversational Solfege as a music reading curriculum has been a successful teaching aid for classroom music. With its ear first approach to music literacy it seems only natural to extend the learning into the private studio. Incorporating CS with solo and small groups in the private studio setting adds value to a private studio by offering the same fail-proof framework teaching students to approach music reading with an ear first approach. Join veteran studio teacher Melinda Edwards-Workman, FAME teacher trainer John Crever and others for a discussion on extending the CS curriculum into the private studio.


Clinician Name:  Natasha Verhulst

Session Title:  Using Native American Music in the Kodaly Classroom

Session Description:  In this session, educators will learn what parts of Native American music are appropriate to be used as tools for education, and how to implement them into their music classrooms through Kodály approaches.


Clinician Name:  Pat Tobin

Session Title: Unwrapping the National/State Standards: An Alignment of Feierabend Process in an Urban District

Session Description: This session will take a deep dive into how demand for change in curriculum inspired new ways of learning for students


Clinician Name:  Penny Mahoney

Session Title: (General Session) The Teaching Model Developed by Phyllis S. Weikart

Session Description: Separate, Simplify, and Facilitate are the three areas we will unravel to understand why this process teaching model is so successful.


Clinician Name:  Penny Mahoney

Session Title: Basic Timing is Essential:  Building the Foundation in Steady Beat by Phyllis S. Weikart

Session Description: Feeling and expressing steady beat is an essential skill in finding and keeping beat to a chant, song or recorded music.   What makes beat difficult to find and how can we develop beat independence?


Clinician Name:  Rev. Dr. Donna Cox

Session: Keynote

Topic: TBD


SongTale Book Author- Garant Cosey


Meet the artist –

Join us for this opportunity to get a sneak peak t the next picture book “Old Joe Clark.”  Continuing the tradition of featuring student illustrators, Garant Cosey from the University of Hartford will share his artwork and answer questions about his creative process in developing the story line and illustrations. Come meet the artist!