FAME Teacher Spotlight – Stephanie Schall-Brazee
Name: Stephanie Schall-Brazee
School System: Traverse City Aria Public Schools
Town/City: Traverse City
Education: Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Central Michigan University; Master of Music Education from The Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford.
FAME member since: July 2012 – Founding Member. endorsed Teacher Trainer for First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege Levels 1 and 2.
How has FS/CS changed your teaching?
Luckily, I began my teaching career using First Steps and Conversational Solfege! After student teaching in a secondary choral setting, I attended The Hartt School as a graduate student. I vividly remember my first class with Dr. Feierabend. After the first five minutes, I was rapidly taking notes and light bulbs were going on. “A six year music program should begin with subtle, and end with subtler”. “In high school, we can teach them more songs, but in kindergarten, we can change their lives”. By the time that first class was over with, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life! Once I realized what a gift I could provide to thousands of children if I taught the right way, I couldn’t wait to find out more. Over the next two years, I learned so much about teaching music to children and loved every minute of it. Dr. Feierabend’s philosophy has been the foundation for everything I have taught and accomplished throughout my career. I have witnessed that by providing the right musical experiences to children, they do become tuneful, beatful and artful.
Most powerful aspect of FS/CS
I always enjoy listening to the discussions of teachers who are introduced to FS/CS for the first time. They are always amazed by this research based, developmentally appropriate method that uses quality literature. They love that it is so organized and sequenced with everything so easy to find and use. They are thrilled that there are assessments built in at every stage and that the activities are so engaging and creative. To me, this method is so powerful because it gives teachers the tools to lead their students on a wonderful journey towards singing beautifully, moving and dancing expressively, understanding musical notation, expressing music through instruments, experiencing the finest folk music and masterworks, being part of a community of enthusiastic participants, and most importantly, experiencing what it feels like to be touched by music.
Stephanie Schall-Brazee is an elementary general music teacher for the Traverse City Area Public Schools where she also directs the select Women’s Choir, Bella Voce. As a choral director, Stephanie’s choirs have consistently earned first degree ratings at festivals, and have been invited to sing at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to her public school teaching, Stephanie is on the faculty of the Northwest Michigan College Children’s Choirs where she directs the Lyric and Prelude Choirs.
Stephanie’s training includes a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Music Education from The Hartt School, where she was a graduate assistant to Dr. John Feierabend. Stephanie’s master’s thesis, entitled “The Effects of Song Accompaniment on First Grade Children’s Ability to Sing Songs from Memory”, required an experimental study that continues to be a clear contribution to the knowledge base in song acquisition among children.
In addition to her teaching, Stephanie has served as a clinician presenting sessions on “Singing Development in Young Children”, “Music and Movement in Preschool” and “Conversational Solfege“. She is also an endorsed Teacher Trainer for First Steps in Music, and Conversational Solfege Levels 1 and 2.