School System: Greenwich Public Schools (Cos Cob School)
Grade Taught: K-5 General Music, Band, Chorus
Education: Bachelor of Music from The Hartt School of Music, The University of Hartford (1995), Masters in the Art of Education from Sacred Heart University (2002), Sixth Year Degree with Kodaly Certificate from The Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford (2010)
FAME member since: July 2012 – Founding Member. Endorsed Teacher Trainer for FS and CS
Classes/Workshops in First Steps or Conversational Solfege:
I was fortunate to have FSIM and CS as a part of my undergraduate training, but also took the classes as a part of my Kodaly Certification:
First Steps In Music – 2008
Conversational Solfege – 2009 & 2010
How has FS/CS changed your teaching?
FS and CS have so many powerful aspects that it is hard to choose only one! But top of my list would be the diverse, quality repertoire that can be found in both FS and CS. As I venture into my 21st year of teaching, one
might think I could easily get into a rut – or become complacent with my teaching. However, one of the things that has helped to keep my teaching fresh and interesting (for me AND my students) is the repertoire! I love when John shares librarian Ellie Toy’s description of the qualities of good children’s books – which can easily be applied to quality musical repertoire as well. First, that it be appealing to adults and children; second, that it must have a sense of wonder, make-believe and fantasy; third, that it is still delicious after 30 repetitions. I don’t know how many times I have sung “Over in the Meadow” during my career as an elementary music teacher – but I never get sick of singing it. It is still delicious after 30,000 repetitions! My students ask for it time and time again! When we play “Closet Key” in Kindergarten – and then bring it back in 3rd grade for Unit 4 reading – the kids are so excited – and these super-cool 3rd graders ask to play the game we played back when they were five!!!
How has FS/CS changed your students?
I think most students in music classrooms all over the world are exposed to the “tuneful” and “beatful” aspects of music instru
ction. Over the years, I have noticed that my students really benefit from the “art part” of music. Yes, they are literate musicians – they can create and read and write music – but what I have noticed the biggest difference in my students is the “below the surface” artfulness of their performances. You know that moment when you are listening to your students perform – whether it be in a formal concert setting or in class – and you get the chills? I love hearing the children perform with expression, when they sing with “shiny eyes”.
Chris Anne Powers, a strong advocate for First Steps In Music and Conversational Solfege, is embarking on her 21st year of teaching as an elementary music specialist. She currently teaches K-5 Core Music, Band and Chorus at Cos Cob School in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Chris received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from The Hartt School, where she had the good fortune of studying with John Feierabend. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University and received her Kodaly Certificate from The Hartt School.
Given her strong commitment to the Feierabend approach, she was a driving force in the adoption of the First Steps In Music For Preschool & Beyond and Conversational Solfege materials as the basis of the Greenwich Public Schools Music Curriculum. Chris created and presented professional development workshops based on the Feierabend approach to facilitate the implementation of the new curriculum.
In the summer of 2014, she became an endorsed Teacher Trainer for First Steps in Music. This summer, she became an endorsed Teacher Trainer for Conversational Solfege.
She lives a music-filled life in Cos Cob, Connecticut, with her husband Jed and their boys – Jay and Tommy.