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.
Rob Amchin is a distinguished professor of music education at the University of Louisville, where he enjoys leading undergraduate and graduate classes in the school of music. His training includes studies at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, New England Conservatory of Music, Memphis State University, Hofstra University, Hamline University, and the University of Michigan. Amchin is on the faculty of numerous Orff Schulwerk summer teacher training courses. He is a member of the Kentucky Orff Schulwerk Association and the Quad State Orff Association. He is also a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Recorder Society, and the American Orff Schulwerk Association (AOSA). As an active member of AOSA, he is a regular clinician for their national conference and leads training events for many school districts and music education organizations. He is a regular clinician at the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) professional development conference. Among the many sessions he has presented during the past twenty-five years, one of his most popular is his evening of international folk dancing, which he has led for nearly fifteen years at KMEA’s annual conference. He has taught in Austria, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Singapore.
Lorelei Batisla-ong is associate professor of general music education at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace University. She received a degree in music education from Southwest Texas State University, a master’s degree in instrumental conducting from Texas State University, and a PhD in music and human learning from the University of Texas at Austin. Batisla-ong has served on the board of trustees for the American Orff Schulwerk Association and is the Texas state director for the National Association for Music Education. She is the content coordinator and lead editor of Decolonizing the Music Room and is the coauthor of Elemental ‘Ukulele:Pathways and Possibilities. Her research and presentations include ʻukulele teaching, teacher noticing and cognition, teacher skill acquisition and development, equity in the classroom and teaching profession, and generally wondering why everything is the way it is and how it can be better.
Sandy Knudson is the artistic director of Oklahoma Youth Sing! and successfully taught music in kindergarten through fifth grade for thirty years. She holds a master’s degree and Kodály certification from the University of Oklahoma. Since 1990, Knudson has served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma Kodály certification program, where she teaches solfège, conducting, and choir. She is National Board certified in early and middle childhood music. Knudson presents at numerous state and national conferences and has conducted honor choirs in Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. In 2015, she conducted the National Children’s Choir for the Organization of American Kodály Educators and in 2018 was given their Outstanding Educator award. She earned an artist-teacher diploma under the mentorship of Doreen Rao at the Choral Music Experience Institute. She was recognized by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OMEA) as an exemplary teacher in 2010 and was inducted into the OMEA Hall of Fame in 2013. Knudson is active as a dance caller in Oklahoma and loves to foster community through dance.
Travis Cross serves as professor of music and director of bands at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he conducts the wind ensemble, leads the graduate wind conducting program, and chairs the music department. He was also associate dean for academic mentoring and opportunity during the initial years of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He previously taught at Virginia Tech and at Edina High School in Minnesota. Cross earned doctor and master of music degrees in conducting from Northwestern University and the bachelor of music degree cum laude in vocal and instrumental music education from St. Olaf College. His principal teachers were Mallory Thompson and Timothy Mahr. Cross has appeared as a guest conductor, composer, and clinician in nearly forty states and in Canada, China, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. He has also been the featured band clinician at the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention, and on several occasions he was featured at the Music for All National Festival and at the Midwest Clinic. Cross is a member of the Council of Korean Americans and a Yamaha master educator.
Derrick Fox is the director of choral activities and distinguished associate professor of music at the University of Nebraska–Omaha, where he recently received the 2022 Award for Distinguished Research or Creative Activity. His teaching and conducting experiences include upper elementary through collegiate choirs and community choirs. He has led choral concerts and residencies and has presented professional development workshops across the United States and internationally. His book, Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs, is published by Carl Fischer. He launched the Derrick Fox Choral Series with MusicSpoke to publish works by and about marginalized and minority people. He created the Professional Choral Collective to collect and create music learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators around the world to use during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. He also partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation to create the Unified Voices for Music Education initiative. For more information, please visit https://www.drderrickfox.com/.
Internationally acclaimed technology educator, speaker, and author Barbara Freedman is an engaging and effective presenter and trainer. She has expertise in multimedia course design and technology integration for digital learning environments, including face-to-face, synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid. Celebrated as a teacher’s teacher, Freedman has developed courses and has trained educators in public and private schools, nonprofit organizations, and private industry. Freedman has been teaching electronic music and audio engineering at Greenwich High School in Connecticut since 2001 and is the author of the book Teaching Music through Composition: A Curriculum Using Technology published by Oxford University Press. She holds degrees from Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, City University of New York, and Mannes College of Music. Her philosophy is that technology is a tool to be utilized only if it makes learning easier or more engaging for both the student and the teacher. Freedman’s motto, “Teach music; the technology will follow,” has become the rallying cry for music technology teachers around the world. Check out this video about the Greenwich High School electronic music lab and recording studio.