The three music areas of the Tennessee Arts Academy encompass the broad spectrum of choral, instrumental, and general music. Instructors from around the country use their expertise to help participants enhance their skills and renew their enthusiasm for teaching. In addition to the music sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities, with plenty of time built in for networking and reflection.
Alice Hammel is a widely known music educator, author, and clinician whose experience in music is extraordinarily diverse. She is a member of the faculty of James Madison University and has taught instrumental and choral music for many years in public and private schools. She was the Virginia Music Educator Association Outstanding Educator in 2011, and currently serves as the president of the Virginia Music Educators. Hammel has put her varied experiences to great use while compiling a large body of scholarly work. She is a co-author for four texts: Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach, Teaching Music to Students with Autism, Winding It Back: Teaching to Individual Differences in Music Classroom and Ensemble Settings, and Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Practical Resource. Hammel is a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s division for visual and performing arts education.
Kay Piña is a PhD candidate at Pennsylvania State University where she supervises student teachers pursuing certification in music education. Piña has degrees from Texas State University in San Marcos and the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she completed her Dalcroze Eurhythmics certification under David Frego and Marla Butke. She has been named Master Teacher Artist by the American Eurhythmics Society. Before moving into her current role, Piña taught general music to fifth and sixth graders, as well as sixth-grade choir, at Laura Ingalls Wilder Intermediate School in Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District, located near San Antonio, Texas. She also taught elementary music at David Crockett Elementary, now David Crockett Academy, in the San Antonio Independent School District. Piña has completed levels one and two in Kodály music education and level one of Orff-Schulwerk certification.
Matthew Stensrud is an award-winning elementary music and movement teacher who currently teaches music and movement to students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade at Sidwell Friends Lower School in Washington, D.C. He grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and received degrees from George Mason University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Stensrud is an Orff-Schulwerk approved teacher educator of movement and teaches movement for Orff certification courses in New Jersey and Oregon. He is also on The Orff Echo editorial board and was a key content contributor to the book Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE, and OtherSpecial Areas. He is well-known on social media as @MisterSOrff and offers newsletters, mentoring, lesson plans, and more through his website MisterSOrff.com
Sandra Babb is an assistant professor of choral music education at Oregon State University, where she teaches choral methods, vocal pedagogy, and choral conducting. She also directs OSU Bella Voce, which was recently featured at the 2021 National American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conference. With degrees from Florida State University, Babb is an active conductor and clinician throughout the United States and is well known for her work in developing choral tone. She has co-authored articles for the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, The Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Choral Journal. She is a contributing author for Composing in Choirs and Teaching Music through Performance in Choir: Volume IV, available from GIA Publications, and Voices in Concert, published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. She is also a National Center for Voice and Speech certified vocologist. Babb currently serves as the Oregon ACDA chair for treble choirs and the North WestACDA chair for student activities.
Dr. Corin Overland is a nationally recognized author, conductor, and educator who specializes in twenty-first century approaches to vocal and general music education. He is an associate professor of professional practice at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and currently serves as the chief academic editor of the Music Educators Journal. Overland is a member of the professional division of the GRAMMY Recording Academy and regularly appears as a guest speaker and clinician for professional development seminars and honors choirs around the country. He has more than fifteen years of experience as a vocal and general music teacher in public and private school settings. His research on labor and economic issues related to arts education can be found in the publications Journal of Research in Historical Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Contributions to Music Education, College Music Symposium, and the International Yearbook on Research in Arts Education.
Lois Wiggins is a retired band director who taught for thirty-three years in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. She holds degrees from Austin Peay State University, the University of Georgia, and Western Kentucky University. Wiggins is past state band chair for the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) and served for ten years as band content area leader for the Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Kentucky. She is currently a co-conductor with the Central Kentucky Youth Repertory Orchestra. During her career, she has served as a guest conductor for numerous honor bands and has adjudicated at concert band, marching band, and solo and ensemble festivals throughout Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Wiggins is a 2016 Grammy Music Educator Award National finalist. Additional recognitions she has received are Outstanding Bandmaster by Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity in 2010 and KMEA Middle School Teacher of the year in 2000. In February 2022, Wiggins was inducted into the Psi Chapter of the Phi Beta Mu Band Masters Fraternity Hall of Fame.