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Music Sessions

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.

Tennessee Arts Academy 2023 Music Core Classes
Elementary/Lower Middle Music
Focus Areas: Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement
Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement is the focus area for the K – 6 elementary/lower middle theatre sessions. Each day participants will take classes in three areas of study that are especially designed for classroom generalist teachers, librarians, special education, physical education and gifted teachers. Arts Integration will help facilitate the learning process in traditional subject areas. Creative drama will focus on improvisational and non-performance aspects of theatre. A final daily class in movement and dance will be offered. All elementary theatre participants will attend all three classes.

Daily Core Classes

Participants will follow either the vocal or instrumental track and attend two of the three classes listed below each day.
Celebrating the Seasons
Rob Amchin
To everything, there is a season—a time to sing, a time to dance, a time to improvise, a time to play. Participants in these sessions will celebrate the calendar year by exploring engaging materials that will offer child-centered models for creating, interpreting, moving, and performing in the music classroom. This journey through the year will be accomplished by singing, playing, dancing, actively listening, and incorporating integrated arts ideas to celebrate the four seasons. Each day of the Academy will offer a different seasonal journey, culminating with a children’s story that celebrates them all. Get ready to have fun making music and dancing together!
ʻUkulele in the Elementary Music Classroom
Lorelei Batisla-ong
The ʻukulele has quickly established itself as a sought-after addition in the elementary music classroom. A new instrument for teachers and students doesn’t mean starting over at square one. Participants in these sessions will examine an ʻukulele sequence that draws from principles of universal design, socioconstructivist philosophies, and recognizable elements of the Orff approach focused on teaching elementary students. During this workshop, participants will examine culturally sustaining and meaningful ways to approach this cultural instrument in US-centered music curriculum. This workshop is joyfully designed with multiple points of entry and participation in ʻukulele playing. All levels of experience and ability are welcome.
The Engaging Choral Classroom: Beautiful Tone Begins in Kindergarten
Sandy Knudson
Come experience best practice for building beautiful tone from the very beginning. The clinician will share ways to kinesthetically engage and inspire singers in an elementary classroom and in a choral setting. The sessions will include solfège techniques, movement, warm-ups, motivation and management techniques, and word wall and brain break activities. Participants will leave with canons, teaching strategies, games, and repertoire ideas for building musicianship in grades kindergarten through six. Move, sing, and be physically and mentally involved while cultivating a love for singing!
Upper Middle/Secondary Music
The upper middle/secondary theatre sessions (7 – 12) include unique sessions each year in at least three of the following areas: acting, directing, improvisation, criticism, movement, playwriting and technical theatre. Instructors from around the country provide stimulating class sessions that reflect a mix of stage and performance techniques coupled with current trends and the latest research in arts education.

Daily Core Classes

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.
Virtuous Cycles: Conducting, Rehearsal, and Score Study in Service of the Music and Students
Travis Cross
This sequence explores what educators hope to accomplish and to provide for students, including the fundamental relationships between conductor, score, and ensemble and the common barriers to success. How do we activate imagination and develop a deeper understanding of the music? How do we move beyond simply telling students when and how to play and instead engage minds, ears, and bodies in every rehearsal? These sessions present an approach to gesture and movement based on instigating changes in the way that players move air, articulate, listen, and shape the music, based on the belief that effective conducting and teaching are one and the same.
Refreshed and Renewed: Refining the Craft of the Conductor and Teacher
Derrick Fox
The key to longevity in the music learning classroom is to protect the instructor’s passion for making music. In this series of interactive sessions, participants will explore strategies that will refresh and renew rehearsals, conducting, and personal musicianship and will explore community-building practices. These sessions will affirm and challenge teachers to push the boundaries of conducting and teaching so that they can meet the needs of singers in the classroom and enhance their own career goals as music educators.
Teaching Music through Composition with Technology: Lessons That Work
Barbara Freedman
Teaching music through composition allows students a chance to create what they love, learn music in an applied environment, and reinforce twenty-first-century skills. The sessions will present the basics of using a digital audio workstation like GarageBand or Soundtrap while demonstrating best practices for teaching with technology. Participants will explore the creation of music in any genre, including a variety of contemporary popular music styles. Teachers will leave with lessons that can be used with any sequencing program, whether on a Chromebook, Mac, iPad, or PC, and will have a good place to start teaching, especially to students with little or no background in music.
Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2023 Tennessee Arts Academy.