Florida Music Director - May 2023

Page 1

The Joy of Failure


Summer ProfessionalDevelopment Conference
in the Choral Rehearsal
FBA 2023 Summer Conference Text Analysis Constructivism
Techniques for Cultivating Trust, Self-Efficacy, and Goal-Setting in the Elementary Music Classroom
2 Florida Music Director Grades 5-12 When students build rapid response to music theory concepts, their sight reading and understanding go through the roof –and so do rehearsals! Level the playing field and accelerate your performance programs integrating Breezin’ Thru Theory, while keeping things fun. And, it frees up valuable class and marking time, so you can do what you love most – getting students excited about performing! Grow Your Program! Fun for Kids, Easy for Teachers! Demo it today! breezinthrutheory.com/demo or 1-855-265-3805

Executive Director

Florida Music Education Association

Kathleen D. Sanz, PhD Hinckley Center for Fine Arts Education

402 Office Plaza Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 878-6844 or (800) 301-3632 (kdsanz@fmea.org)


D. Gregory Springer, PhD Florida State University College of Music

122 N. Copeland Street Tallahassee, FL 32306 (850) 644-2925 (office) (dgspringer@fsu.edu)

Editorial Committee

Terice Allen (850) 245-8700, Tallahassee (tallen1962@hotmail.com)

Judy Arthur, PhD Florida State University, KMU 222 (850) 644-3005 (jrarthur@fsu.edu)

William Bauer, PhD University of Florida, Gainesville (352) 273-3182; (wbauer@ufl.edu)

Alice-Ann Darrow, PhD College of Music, FSU, Tallahassee (850) 645-1438; (aadarrow@fsu.edu)

Jeanne Reynolds (jeannewrey@gmail.com)

John K. Southall, PhD

Indian River State College, Fort Pierce (772) 462-7810; (johnsouthall@fmea.org)

Advertising Sales

Valeria Anderson (val@fmea.org)

402 Office Plaza Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 878-6844

Official FMEA and FMD Photographers

Bob O’Lary Amanda Crawford

Art Director & Production Manager

Lori Danello Roberts LDR Design Inc. (lori@flmusiced.org)

Circulation & Copy Manager

Valeria Anderson, (800) 301-3632

Copy Editor Susan Trainor

May 2023 3
C ontents May 2023 Volume 76 • Number 8 FEATURES DEPARTMENTS President’s Message 4 Advertiser Index ............ 5 Advocacy Report 6 2022-2023 FMEA Donors .... 12-13 Component News 29 Research Puzzles ........... 34 Committee Reports 36 Academic Partners .......... 43 Corporate Partners 44-45 Executive Director’s Notes ..... 46 Officers and Directors 47 Session/Performance/Product Showcase Proposal Applications .................. 9 A Look Back at Collegiate Music Advocacy Day .................. 10 The Joy of Failure: Techniques for Cultivating Trust, Self-Efficacy, and Goal-Setting in the Elementary Music Classroom .................... 14 Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being in Choir ................... 20 Text Analysis: Constructivism in the Choral Rehearsal ..................... 24 FVA 2023 Summer Professional Development Conference ............... 28 FBA 2023 Summer Conference ............ 42

The CYCLE of MUSIC Never Ends!

Greetings, colleagues!

Wow! It’s AMAZING that two years have passed. I am elated to have served as the FMEA president, promoting the theme Unity in Music Education, Building Communities One Note at a Time I would first like to thank each of the Florida music educators, their students, and the support systems of Florida music programs for your tremendous progress toward building onto music’s importance.

I’d like to acknowledge the outstanding members of the Florida Music Education Association and the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and the Tallahassee (CFAE) office staff for their unwavering support of FMEA’s mission to promote quality, comprehensive music education in all Florida schools. Each component president, committee chair, member, and so many unsung heroes have contributed to the success of our great association. It’s no wonder our Florida MEA is the largest in the country. This is due to the valued interest we in leadership provide our members and our conviction that everyone should have a voice with DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) activities and recommendations of presentations during our professional development workshops/sessions.

Post-COVID, our state has seen progress in our FMEA Professional Development Conference by bringing excitement and change during our gen-

eral sessions and by including health and wellness activities.

I’m encouraged that much has been accomplished during the past two years; however, I realize so much more must be emphasized in terms of meeting the needs of our members who are struggling in their communities with funding, resources, mental stability, student/parent engagement, political power, administrative support, advocacy, and student interest.

I’m happy to turn the gavel over to President-Elect Jason Locker, who will be an amazing FMEA president, and certainly thank Steve Kelly, our FMEA immediate past president, for his wisdom and foresight during my tenure. Kathy Sanz, our FMEA executive director, always provides valued insight and support on so many levels.

No organization can exist without dedicated members who contribute to the well-being of its philosophy. I’ve met so many individuals over the years, visited some of your schools, and have been amazed by your social media performances. Keep music alive in your respective areas and advocate as often as you can. It’s IMPORTANT.

This yearly evolving CYCLE of MUSIC never ends due to our powerful music educators who constantly search for innovative ways to connect with students.

From stress relief to boosting cognitive function to simply making us

happier, singing or playing a musical instrument can improve our lives immensely. Research reminds us of the following benefits of music’s effect on children and adults:

w Supports brain development. Music lessons can help children learn pattern recognition, improve memory, and develop the part of the brain responsible for literacy. This, in turn, helps build language and math skills, boost reading comprehension, and improve test scores.

w Teaches social skills and teamwork. Playing music with a group of other children teaches kids to communicate effectively and work together toward common goals. They learn to treat one another with patience, kindness, and encouragement.

w Supports healthy muscle development and motor skills. In learning to coordinate hand and finger movements (as well as foot movements, in some cases), children develop strength and coordination.

w Increases discipline and resilience. Learning music takes practice, practice, and more practice! This teaches kids to keep trying, working at something until they see improvement, even when it’s a struggle.

w Boosts self-esteem. When a child finally “gets” something after much practice, they feel pride in their accomplishments.

Music is a way for one to visualize life and instigate profound memories. In a cultural context, music is an intrinsic part of gatherings, festivals, and belief

4 Florida Music Director President’sMessage
Locker Kelly

systems. Sound and rhythm patterns give a particular perspective into an individual’s opinions of the culture, subcultures, and social issues of the times. Music has shaped cultures and societies around the world, passed down from generation to generation. It has the power to alter one’s mood, modify perceptions, and inspire change. I constantly tell my students that music is a phenomenal subject. Always understand that someone is seeing you or your ensemble for the first time and someone is witnessing you or your performance for the last time. Always think about making your presentation one that leaves your audience with a positive impression.

2022-23 FMEA Membership:

You are eligible for membership in the Florida Music Education Association if you are an individual engaged in the teaching, supervision, or administration of music in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, or universities within the state. Visit FMEA.org/membership to learn more about the benefits of active membership.


Direct correspondence regarding subscriptions to: Hinckley Center for Fine Arts Education 402 Office Plaza, Tallahassee, FL, 32301-2757

Subscription cost included in FMEA membership dues ($9); libraries, educational institutions, and all others within the United States: $27 plus 7.5% sales tax.


The circulation of the Florida Music Director is 4,500 educators. Published eight times annually by The Florida Music Education Association, Hinckley Center for Fine Arts Education: 402 Office Plaza, Tallahassee, FL 32301-2757. FMEA reserves the right to approve any application for appearance and to edit all materials proposed for distribution. Permission is granted to all FMEA members to reprint articles from the Florida Music Director for non-commercial, educational purposes. Non-members may request permission from the FMEA office.


Article and art submissions are always considered and should be submitted on or before the 1st of the month, one month prior to the publication issue to: D. Gregory Springer, PhD, dgspringer@fsu.edu.

All articles must be provided in digital format (e.g., Microsoft Word). All applicable fonts and images must be provided. Images must be at least 300 dpi resolution at 100% of the size. All submissions must be accompanied by a proof (color, if applicable). Ads may be submitted via email to val@fmea.org

Advertiser Index

The Florida Music Director is made possible by the participation of the following businesses whose advertisements appear in this issue. They make it possible to provide you with a high-quality publication, and we gratefully acknowledge their support of our mission. We hope you will take special notice of these advertisements and consider the products and services offered. It is another important way you can support your professional association and the enhancement of Florida music education.

Let us all continue to study the CYCLE of MUSIC and how it influences communities! Continue to be amazing, everyone. I look forward to hearing from you as we make progress and build stronger music communities TOGETHER. God bless each of you, and special thanks to my family for their support and encouragement. Our FMEA journey continues … get on board!

The publisher does not endorse any particular company, product, or service. The Florida Music Education Association (FMEA) is not responsible for the content of any advertisement and reserves the right to accept or refuse any advertisement submitted for publication. Information for advertisers (rate card, insertion orders, graphics requirements, etc.) can be found at FMEAMediaKit.org Florida Music Director reserves the right to refuse any ad not prepared to the correct specifications OR to rework the ad as needed with fees applied.


Breezin’ Thru, Inc. ............................................................................................................................ IFC Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts................................................. 8

The advertisers shown in bold provide additional support to FMEA members through membership in the Florida Corporate and Academic Partners (FCAP) program. FCAP partners deserve your special recognition and attention.

FCAP Partners Make It Possible

For more information, visit: FMEA.org/partners

May 2023 5 { {
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou

Of the People, by the People, for the People

Legislative News and Resources

This familiar phase “of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from the last line in Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, certainly a very tumultuous time in our history. These words resonate with me as we come to the end of a crowded, consequential, and yes at times, tumultuous legislative session. As this magazine goes to press, the session has not yet concluded, nor have we had the time to analyze the potential impact of the education bills that have been passed. We do hope to have some good news related to arts funding and arts education project funding when the session ends. Never underestimate the power of the arts to unite people.

When the dust settles in early summer, the FMEA Government Relations Committee will provide an in-depth report of the relevant legislation passed. We will also do our best to generate suggestions for members and districts to consider as they create policies to address these new laws. Currently we are seeing confusion and

tremendous variation in the way the 2022 bills are being implemented throughout the state. As we develop reports and suggestions, this information will be posted online. Another resource on a specific set of laws is the NAfME national research project studying divisive concept laws. You will find a link to the report at NAfME.org.

Collegiate Music Advocacy Day

On March 28, the FMEA and the Florida NAfME Collegiate hosted the seventh Collegiate Music Advocacy Day in Tallahassee. Students met with legislators and impressed these senators and representatives with their passion, poise, knowledge of issues, and vision for the future. It was an inspiring, impressive day. Students spoke about our FMEA platform and the importance of access to high-quality music education for all students. In some cases, legislators asked students about their opinions regarding other significant education legislation. These conversations are invaluable to a functioning democracy—of the people, by the people, for the people. On March 28, rest assured these collegiate members spoke persuasively for the people of FMEA.

Many thanks to Florida NAfME Collegiate’s Colin Urbana (president), Megan Robichaud (president-elect), and Megan Rodriguez (advocacy chair) for their leadership. This was the first year since 2020 that we were able to hold this event in person. These young leaders were thrust into the position of working with us to plan an event they knew nothing about and had never attended. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Kathleen Sanz and Val Anderson in the FMEA office, as well as project manager Jovan Osborne. Val and Jovan juggled seemingly endless details and schedules to ensure the day ran smoothly. The “story in pictures” begins on page 10.

6 Florida Music Director
Advocacy Report

what is happening politically and legislatively. Of course, I honor those feelings and want to validate concerns that this is indeed a tumultuous time. At the same time, when I look out from a broad local, state, and national view, I see signs of hope and true engagement in the political process. Most people are not politically active; they are busy with their day-to-day lives, and politics holds little interest. However, people do care about freedom, democracy, and legislation that impacts their daily lives. I am seeing more people engaged than I have seen in decades. There is a lot of coverage regarding the inspiring youth movement, but people of all ages and backgrounds are speaking up. Suddenly I am hearing from more parents and organized groups about their interest in getting involved. Some may

be expressing interest because they disagree with groups who have organized in their area. That’s all good. That’s democracy. It has been said that democracy is the structure or institutionalization of freedom. And that structure—of the people, by the people, for the people—takes real work. The full phrase from the end of the Gettysburg address follows:

That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Of the people, by the people, for the people. Shall not perish from the earth. We have work to do. Let’s get busy.

May 2023 7

patelconservatory.org • 813.222.1040

*Auditions required.

Summer Music Intensives

The Patel Conservatory music department offers classes, ensembles and private lessons in vocal and instrumental music for students age two through adult. Master teachers, teaching artists and performers lead all areas of instruction to provide the finest music education for professionals, pre-professionals, music enthusiasts and community members.

Tampa, FL

Patel Conservatory Music

Intensives are week-long camps with intensive training for the serious music student.*

Scholarships Available

JUN 26-30

• Renowned guest artists in coachings and master classes

Jazz Intensive

JUL 10-14

JUL 10-14

• Hands-on, in-depth training in specific musical styles

Chamber Orchestra

• Solo Honors Recitals

• Large and small ensemble rehearsals

• Strengthen technique and musicianship

Choral Intensive

• Intensives culminate in a performance at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Intensives culminate in a performance at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Strengthen technique and musicianship

Large and small ensemble rehearsals

• Solo Honors Recitals

Jazz Intensive

• Hands-on, in-depth training in specific musical styles

Chamber Orchestra

Choral Intensive

• Renowned guest artists in coachings and master classes

JUL 10-14

Scholarships Available

JUL 10-14

Intensives are week-long camps with intensive training for the serious music student.*

Tampa, FL

Patel Conservatory Music

The Patel Conservatory music department offers classes, ensembles and private lessons in vocal and instrumental music for students age two through adult. Master teachers, teaching artists and performers lead all areas of instruction to provide the finest music education for professionals, pre-professionals, music enthusiasts and community members.

*Auditions required.

JUN 26-30 patelconservatory.org • 813.222.1040

Summer Music Intensives

8 Florida Music Director


Session/Performance/Product Showcase

The 2024 conference theme is Music Education Begins with ME. Our goal will be to equip and empower music educators to best serve their students and the profession. It is preferable that your proposal(s) have a connection to the conference theme for an overall uniformity of vision. All session proposal submissions should be consistent with current educational trends; promote curricular experiences that lead to a better cultural understanding; and allow educators to create, perform, and respond to music that in turn instills lifelong values for learning and participation.


You are only permitted to submit a total of three (3) session proposals. Performance applications and product showcase proposals do not count toward this limit.


w Friday, May 12, 2023, 12 midnight (Eastern) for session and performance proposals.

w Saturday, July 15, 2023, for industry product showcase proposals.


All presenters must register for the conference, even if you live or teach outside of Florida. Preregistration is available through early December. On-site registration will be available at a higher cost. Conference exhibitors are exempt from this requirement. By submitting a proposal, you agree to attend in person and present your session if any of your proposals are selected. Please do not submit proposals if you are not sure you will be available to travel to Tampa, January 10-13, 2024. Cancellations for reasons other than unavoidable emergencies may affect the selection committee’s decision to accept future proposals.


w All presenters and conductors who live or teach in Florida must be members of FMEA and NAfME.

w Presenters living outside of Florida must be members of NAfME, the National Association for Music Education.

w FMEA and/or NAfME membership must be current to submit a proposal and must also be current when registering for the conference.

w Conference exhibitors are exempt from this requirement but must contract and pay the deposit to exhibit before submitting a proposal.

w You may join FMEA or renew your FMEA membership at FMEA.org , or visit NAfME.org if you reside outside of Florida.

May 2023 9
Look Back at the Seventh Collegiate Music Advocacy Day at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee During the 2023 Legislative Session 10 Florida Music Director
May 2023 11
March 28, 2023 Hosted by FMEA and Florida NAfME Collegiate


2022-2023 DONORS

Our donors support specific causes by donating to the FMEA funds of their choice:

FMEA Scholarship Fund

Music Education Advocacy General Fund

June M. Hinckley Scholarship Professional Development for Members

Mel & Sally Schiff Music Education Relief Fund

The following have graciously donated to FMEA from April 1, 2022, through April 6, 2023.


$10,000 and up

No current donors at this time.


$1,000 – $9,999

All County Music

Artie Almeida

In Honor of June Audrey Grace & Katie Grace Miller


$100 – $999

Carlos Abril

In Honor of Dr. Nicholas DeCarbo

Andre Arrouet

Lucinda Balistreri

In Honor of music educators in Sarasota

Christopher Banks

Kasia Bugaj

Dale Choate

Deborah Confredo

In Honor of the fine folks of FMEA who work hard to keep the music education fire lit!

Alice-Ann Darrow

In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. O.B. Darrow

Virginia Densmore

In Honor of Vicki Rhodes

Virginia Dickert

In Memory of Lindsay Keller & Debbie Liles

Scott Evans

Kristin Greene

In Memory of Charles E. Inderwiesen, Jr.

Stanley Hoch

Dennis Holt

Frank Howes

In Memory of Richard Bowles & Harry Grant

Marsha Juday

Steve & Beth Kelly

Sheila King

In Memory of John W. King

Aaron Lefkowitz

Kevin Liotta-DeVivo

On Behalf of HCEMEC

Jason Locker

In Memory of June M. Hinckley & In Honor of those impacted by Hurricane Ian

David Martinez-Cooley

Robert McCormick

Carolyn Minear

John Nista

In Memory of Stanley Dmitrenko

Mary Palmer

In Memory of Amy Catherine Palmer

David Pletincks

In Honor of Alexis & Jonathan Pletincks

Clifford Madsen Russell Robinson

Jeanne Reynolds

In Honor of Pinellas County

Performing Arts Teachers

Rollins College Department of Music

Mary Catherine Salo

In Memory of Gary Rivenbark & Wes Rainer

Steven Salo

In Honor of John “Buck” Jamison & Dr. William Prince

Kathleen Sanz

In Memory of June M. Hinckley

Fred Schiff

J. Mark Scott

In Honor of Dr. Andre Thomas, Dr. Judy Arthur, & Dr. Judy Bowers

Scott Sheehan

In Honor of those impacted by Hurricane Ian

D. Gregory Springer

Jeannine Stemmer

In Memory of Barbara Kingman & Lauren Alonso

Leiland Theriot

In Memory of Clayton Krehbiel

12 Florida Music Director
Thank you to all of the donors who have shown their dedication to the improvement of music education in Florida by supporting our Mission through financial contributions.

Richard Uhler

James Weaver

Howard Weinstein

In Memory of Barry Weinstein

Donald West

In Memory of Ron Powell, Vista Audio Productions, Inc.

Sandra Adorno

Raine Allen

Scott Apelgren

Michael Antmann

Judy Arthur

In Honor of Raymond Kickliter & Nancy Marsters

William Bauer

David Bayardelle

On Behalf of Harry Spyker

Mark Belfast

In Memory of Dr. Mark A. Belfast, Sr.

Antonio Borges

Richard Bradford

In Honor of William S. & Helen H. Bradford

Greg Carswell

SUSTAINERS continued

$100 – $999

Blair Williams

David Williams

Kenneth Williams

In Honor of our extraordinary Florida Music Educators


$25 – $99

Shelby Chipman

In Memory of Herbert Rhodes, Sr.

Blair Clawson

In Honor of Ginny Densmore, Alice-Ann Darrow, & Vicki Rhodes

Dayna Cole

In Memory of Linda Mann

Paul Davis

Marc Decker

Dewey Dodds

Sheila Dunn

Judith Evans

Bradley Franks

In Memory of Gary W. Rivenbark

Julie Hebert

Bernie Hendricks

Julia House

Billy B. Williamson

Marilyn Wirsz

In Memory of Bill & Shirley Head

Anonymous (1) In Memory of Bonnie Nista

In Memory of Dr. Kimberle Moon McKee

Alexander Jimenez

Catherine Kersten

D. Tina Laferriere

Monroe Lewis

Joseph Luechauer

Kevin Lusk

John Marshall

Lloyd McIntyre

In Memory of Bob Hager

Kim Miles

Katie Grace Miller

In Honor of Artie Almeida

Victor Mongillo


up to $24

Crystal Berner

Karen Bishop

In Honor of Claudia Davidsen

Laurie Bitters

Jessica Blakley

In Memory of John Rose

Thomas Brown

In Honor of Dr. Samuel A. Floyd

Joseph Callaway

Gwendolyn Carroll

Bethany Confessore

Beth Ann Delmar

Jodie Donahoo

Revae Douglass Ross

Denise Dumala

Christopher Dunn

Monica DuQuette

Debbie Fahmie

Shelby Fullerton

Michael Gabriel

Tina Gill

In Memory of Gary Rivenbark

Bruce Green

Walter Halil

James Hammond

Angela Hartvigsen

William Hazlett

Ciara Hill

Jon Hutchison

Jason Jerald

Kathleen Kerstetter

Mary Keyloun Cruz

In Memory of George Paul Keyloun

Deborah Mar

In Dedication to Mrs. Barbara Kingman

Kyle Matthews

Katie McGuire Menges

Ethan Morency

Chad Norton

In Memory of

Cassandra Jean Norton

Jessica Oyster

In Honor of the new band director in my family

John Parris

Mikael Patriarca

Hank Phillips

Amanda Quist

In Memory of Patricia Koning

Diana Rollo

Phil Tempkins

In Memory of Susan McCray

Melissa Salek

Ree Nathan

Galen Peters

Edward Prasse

Melissa Rawls

John Sinclair

Joanna Sobkowska Parsons

John Southall

Mark Stevens

Valerie Terry

David Verdoni

John Watkins

Sondra Wenninger Collins

Graeme Winder

On Behalf of all our hardworking music educators

Anonymous (6)

Ian Schwindt

Joani Slawson

Karen Smith

Kelly Southall

Eddie Steadman

Andrea Szarowicz

Mark Thielen

Gary Ulrich

Noiree Weaver

Bradley Wharton

Julian White

In Memory of Kenneth Tolbert

Lindsey Williams

Jennifer Zahn

Anonymous (14)

May 2023 13


Joy of Failure

Techniques for Cultivating Trust, Self-Efficacy, and Goal-Setting in the Elementary Music Classroom

MMany elementary music teachers have had to soothe the raw emotions of a child who is not used to failure and may have never experienced the big feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or anger over not succeeding. “Getting out” when playing a musical game, missing the bars of xylophones in front of the class, and even starting to sing a measure too early in front of peers are things that may seem trivial for adults. However, it can be devastating for children who are not accustomed to taking risks to make mistakes, and they do not know how to process these feelings of failure, especially when they feel as though it is an embarrassing and public injustice. How can we as music educators help our students navigate the crucial skill of failing with grace, of wanting to reattempt, of cultivating that love of music that sometimes requires multiple failures?

We live in a society that shuns the idea of failure, and an extreme example of this is the common use of participation trophies in order to avoid the word “failure” in any capacity. Other, more serious examples of failure lead to those whose insecurities cause them to treat others poorly because they themselves have never had to work through failure. In education, this could manifest perhaps in a teacher who projects their own feelings of failure on their students to the point of expected perfectionism in the classroom.

As elementary school music teachers, some of our finest and most lasting work is social-emotional, which can be some of our hardest work as well. We are trained

musicians who are excellent teachers, and I know that I am “preaching to the choir” when I tell you we are increasingly seen as mentors and parental figures who need to address the ever-increasing social needs of our students. That gives us the sticky job of helping them figure out how to fail with grace, with dignity, and with a motivation to try again.

The idea of FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) posits that failing on a first try is not only okay; it is expected in many scenarios, especially in the music classroom (Weidner & Skolar, 2021). Seeing learning as a multifaceted and multi-attempt activity changes the expectations in the classroom in a more positive and supportive way. The goal of a classroom should not be failure the first time around; rather, when failure happens, it is important for teachers to be proactive rather than reactive to these situations. I find that several small techniques help the atmosphere in my classroom to be one that cultivates celebration of success, as well as joy in failure and reattempting.

Small Goal-Setting and Successive Approximations

One of your students lacks the dexterity to successfully play the bass metallophone on the steady beat using two mallets simultaneously. He continuously becomes frustrated, and then immediately stops trying, especially when he notices that others are watching. Using small goal-setting and successive approximation, perhaps this student would find success keeping the

continued on page 16

May 2023 15

The Joy of Failure

continued from page 15

steady beat with body percussion—then, when that is successful, using rhythm sticks. Following that, he could use only one mallet while keeping the steady beat, and finally reaching the end goal of playing both mallets simultaneously on the beat.

It is easy to focus on the product of the musical experience, rather than the process, especially in the elementary music classroom where there are so many seasonal concerts that we have to put together throughout the school year. When seeing students at infrequent inter vals, it seems common to start rehearsing winter concert music in September while also trying your best to choose meaningful repertoire and rehearse for the Veterans Day and Halloween festival simultaneously. Becoming hyper-focused on concerts, the more public-facing aspects of the job, can make elementary music teachers feel exte rior pressure, and it starts to negatively affect the smaller musical objectives and goals that we should be able to focus on in the classroom. Seeing the educational journey just as that, a journey, helps us to see that we are a part of the process and not necessarily the product of the experi ences that will ultimately shape our students (Tsuji, 2019).

Using successive approximations in the classroom allows not only for the concept of FAIL, but also great er ease of differentiation. When trying to get a class to march on the steady beat, perhaps some students need to begin by being successful in a non-locomotor way to keep a steady beat, while others do other tasks of varied complexity based on skill level. Successive approximation in essence is about beginning a task that everyone can perform and adding smaller and more difficult compo nents slowly in order to achieve a much larger goal (Duke, 2012). Although failure is a strong term for not being able to march on the beat, it can feel that way for students who are given different tasks that are not as complicated. Celebrate those small moments and celebrate the ways in which students learn at different speeds.

Self-efficacy is something we frequently talk about in education in relation to teachers, but it is just as important for students to feel as though they are having success and agency in their own education. Self-efficacy at its core is the belief in one’s abilities, which can be cultivated within the music classroom and continue to flourish in other personal and professional circumstances (Bandura, 1977). Setting small goals and using successive approximations in order to reach larger goals helps students to be more resilient when faced with failures inside and outside the classroom.

Second Attempts

You have an extremely shy student who rarely takes risks in your classroom. Although she is an excellent musician, she is worried about what her peers would think of her if she were to fail in front of them. She doesn’t feel comfortable in your classroom, so you are assessing steps to make your classroom more welcoming to second attempts and failures not only for her, but also for the hundreds of other students who have

16 Florida Music Director

various personalities. As the teacher, you have begun to shape the environment of the classroom in several concrete ways. You model your own mistakes in the classroom and model the ways in which you accept and learn from them. You encourage trying again when a rhythm isn’t quite right during your percussion ensemble’s rehearsal, and you celebrate the effort of the group as well as the product. Finally, you have begun to focus more on differentiation in the classroom, while also giving students small successes in order to bolster confidence before second attempts at harder tasks.

Although students are trying to develop social skills with failure, it is important to realize that school still provides a safety net for students to take risks in an environment that is supportive and constructive. Tolerance for error is one of the tenants of universal design that allows for the restructuring of an activity in order to give second chances, to learn from mistakes, and more directly, to “minimize hazards and adverse consequences” of failure, regardless of the number of attempts (Darrow, 2010, p. 44).

Multiple attempts build on the idea of successive approximation, giving students multiple chances and multiple ways to ultimately achieve success. It is important to allow students to fail sometimes for them to understand their own boundaries. Differentiation of concepts by the teacher can be a collaborative effort when students are having difficulty.

However, it is important to note that there is a fine line between letting students fail and purposefully making material too difficult or venturing from what is developmentally appropriate. Failure in the classroom should be organic, rather than something that is contrived by the educator. It is how we deal with these failures that is the key to building these social-emotional skills. Failure is not the product, but the process.

Trusting Environment

You have a new student who started at your school three weeks ago but hasn’t rotated into music class until today. He isn’t as proficient on your classroom instruments as your other students and has improper technique. Because you have fostered an accepting and trusting classroom, some of the students he has gotten to know through the past few weeks silently correct him to hold the instruments correctly, giving reassuring smiles afterward. You continue to allow students to help the new student, and eventually after two months of silently observing, he volunteers to play the recorder in front of the class for an improvisational activity.

An environment that fosters the acceptance of mistakes is one that allows students to safely develop and explore their emotions and ways to self-regulate without the fear of retribution. Preparing the classroom and—more importantly—oneself as a teacher to foster a community of trust requires forethought and a proactive approach. Although the physical space of the classroom is important, it is more important for the social and emotional space that is created by the teacher to be one that welcomes all learners at all levels. Compared to other educators, music educators have the advantage of being able to connect more easily with students’ social and emotional needs as musicianship blossoms in many interesting and unique ways within our students.

Letting students know that failure is not something to hide but something to learn from is important. At the moment of failure, it is your job as the educator to encourage, be positive, and let students know there is no shame in failure. It is also your job to cultivate this attitude within your students. Reactivity in the classroom can lead to students becoming defensive and can become counterproductive to the trust you are trying to build with your students (Stahl & Dale, 2013).

Trust needs to extend both ways. Music teachers need to be able to rely on their students to be independent enough to take risks and make mistakes on their own, sometimes without their teacher’s guiding hand. Your

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May 2023 17

The Joy of Failure

continued from page 17

job is to pick them back up after each failure. Contriving failure by making material too hard or too emotionally demanding is inappropriate to force a social or academic “learning moment.” When students trust you and make themselves vulnerable to you and to their peers, and when you as the educator trust your students enough for them to have the independence to fail at a task, there will be a greater sense of community and rapport within the classroom.

Seeing Your Young Students as Humans With Complex Emotions

One of your students has been coming to your classroom with her breakfast in the morning, rather than joining her classmates in the classroom or eating at home. You discover that her best friend just moved to another state, and she is feeling vulnerable and sad. Because you have built a trusting relationship, you are able to talk to her during breakfast time. Furthermore, you know enough about her and her peer group to put her in a nurturing group of her friends for paired recorder work later in the day during her music class, as during breakfast she confided in you

about being nervous for her recorder karate belt testing. When she makes mistakes with her practice group, she feels more comfortable as you have taken into account her more vulnerable state of mind.

Students feel their successes and failures deeply in music, as it is a very personal and emotional discipline, even when pursued casually. It seems obvious to state that your students have the same depth of emotion as anyone else, but when you, as an elementary music teacher, are faced with hundreds of students per day, it can be overwhelming to feel as though you are meeting the emotional needs of every one of your students. That is why it is so important for both your mental health and your students’ mental health to let them exercise their independence and to be there as a support and guide in the face of failure (as opposed to being someone who is laser-focused on constant success for every student in every differentiated situation).

The self-esteem of students is innately tied with what they achieve in the classroom, and it is important to keep in mind that their human emotions are intricately

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Recommended Children’s Books for Addressing Failure in the Classroom

Book Title

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes


Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Cottage Door Press

The School of Failure

Flight School


You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish

What Do You Do With a Problem?

After the Fall

Whistle for Willie

The Most Magnificent Thing

entwined with their perception of what they can accomplish in the classroom (Hasper, 2015). Furthermore, there are many internal and external factors such as perceived effort and ability that affect the self-efficacy of students (Legette, 1998).


Perhaps the most ambiguous and most difficult technique for teachers is the ability to self-reflect. What is difficult about self-reflection is the many ways we effectively self-reflect. Selfreflection can be deeply personal, and even though some techniques work for some, they may not work for others. Recording your own lessons, writing in a line-a-day journal, reflecting directly with your students and supervisors, and engaging with professional development are all ways that teachers can reflect and adjust their own environment in their classroom to make sure students are successful, and that failures are structured in a way that is constructive and develops social-emotional skills. Observing the classrooms of others and inviting colleagues into your own classroom can be a constructive and positive way to gain some perspective on your teaching methods as well. With the shifting dynamics of each class, you may want to have a colleague step into several of your classes to see the ways in which you adapt socially to the change of personality your students bring to the room.


Failure in the classroom is not about giving up. Failure in the classroom is about the joy of growth, second chances, and the important people skills that help young students to become motivated by criticism, rather than shrink away from it. Failure in music can be more hurtful, as talent is a deeply personal journey, which makes the way we approach and help students navigate failure all the more important in our classrooms.

Rosie J. Pova, illustrator Monika Filipina

Lita Judge

Kobi Yamada, illustrator Elise Hurst

Marcus Pfister

Kobi Yamada, illustrator Mae Besom

Dan Santat

Ezra Jack Keats

Ashley Spires

Balancing the opportunity for failure with structuring success is delicate, and with every classroom and every situation, failure will look different. However, I think that your classroom will thrive when you allow students to find the joys in their failures. You will help to guide them into becoming more competent, more resilient, and more trusting adults. Further introduction to FAIL for your students in the classroom can be found through the approachable medium of children’s books, with suggestions found in Table 1.

Kelly Evans is a third-year doctoral candidate in music education at Florida State University. She holds the MME in music education from Florida State University and the BA in voice performance from High Point University.


Bandura, A. (1977). Self-Efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215. https://doi. org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191

Darrow, A. A. (2010). Music education for all: Employing the principles of universal design to educational practice. General Music Today, 24(1), 43–45. https://doi.org/10.1177/1048371310376901

Duke, R. A. (2012). Intelligent music teaching: Essays on the core principles of effective instruction. Learning and Behavior Resources.

Hasper, A. (2015). FAIL: First attempt in learning. English Teaching Professional, 96, 20–22.

Legette, R. (1998). Causal beliefs of public school students about success and failure in music. Journal of Research in Music Education, 46(1), 102–111. https://doi.org/10.2307/3345763

Stahl, G. & Dale, P. (2013). Success on the decks: Working-class boys, education and turning the tables on perceptions of failure. Gender & Education, 25(3), 357–372. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2012.756856

Tsuji, T. (2019). A Japanese paper: Failing is an opportunity for learning. Teaching Science, 65(3), 34–44.

Weidner, B. N., & Skolar, E. (2021). Teaching or a FAIL (first attempt in learning) in the ensemble classroom. Music Educators Journal, 108(2), 23–29. https://doi.org/10.1177/00274321211070332

May 2023 19 Table 1

Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being in Choir

SStudents navigate a great deal of social and emotional challenges during the thousands of hours they spend in school each year. Those challenges can impact how students show up to our choir rooms; they may be in tears, refuse to participate, or worse. Although some challenges may be minor, others can be more serious. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stated, “The challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate. And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021, p. 3). Students may have difficulty expressing emotions and desires, managing anger, and cooperating with others. Without effective coping strategies, students could face significant challenges in school, leading to intense emotions and interpersonal conflicts (Küpana, 2015). Learning is a social and emotional endeavor, and schools play a role in promoting positive outcomes for students. One way many schools respond to the mental health struggles and emotional challenges of students is through social emotional learning, also known as SEL.

Social emotional learning guides students toward competence in relationship skills, social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making (CASEL, 2022). Many schools have taken steps to improve the social and emotional wellness of students, from creating mental health teams to incorporating schoolwide programming around SEL. Choir directors can embed social emotional learning into the music-making process whether or not their school implements SEL as a whole. Singing offers a venue to explore emotions and to work through challenges. Although music teachers are not expected to be mental health professionals, we have the unique privilege of working with students for multiple years and can provide insight into students’ challenges and growth. SEL gives choral music teachers a way to guide students toward social and emotional wellness.

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Receiving a bad grade on a test while worrying about a fight they had with their parents.

Social Well-Being

Choir rooms can be places of great joy, connection, and meaning for singers. Although students can experience social connection in many different places (e.g., clubs, sports, places of worship), making music as a group encourages social bonding and cooperative teamwork, leading to emotional connection and inclusion. Choir directors cannot control every interpersonal conflict that happens outside of the classroom, but they can facilitate experiences that encourage students to coexist respectfully. The following questions serve as a starting point for promoting social well-being through the SEL competencies of relationship skills and social awareness.

1. Do singers have opportunities to build and maintain healthy connections with those around them? Sectionals or student-led group work can encourage students to communicate

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May 2023 21
Responding to an insult from a peer after finding out they didn’t get a role in the musical.

Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being in Choir

continued from page 21

effectively, cooperate, and negotiate conflicts, especially if group norms are established ahead of time. Build in time during rehearsal for singers to discuss answers to questions and to generate ideas with those around them.

2. Do students feel connected to the choral program as a whole? Promote group identity by generating a unifying motto or mission statement as a choral program. Offer students the chance to inspire one another by writing encouraging messages for students in a different class before honor choir auditions or sharing written compli-

ments with other ensembles after a concert.

3. Does the classroom environment reflect the students it serves? Consider seeking student input about what impacts their learning experience, such as classroom layout, the type and frequency of certain class activities, and what they need to feel comfortable while singing. Actively listen to students and respond to their feedback so they know their voice matters. Additionally, root classroom policies in fairness, look for opportunities to give students voice and choice, and model healthy relationships with care-

ful interpersonal interactions.

4. Does being in your choir build empathy? Social awareness includes showing respect and empathy toward others. Connect with service organizations in your school to raise awareness for their cause or collect donations at an upcoming concert. Collaborate with students on ways to best share their musical gifts with the community.

Emotional Well-Being

Music can have a strong emotional impact on students. For many, music is a way to cope with the pressures of school, family, and social lives. Music aids in

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understanding, assessing, and expressing emotions (Küpana, 2015). Participants in a recent study indicated that singing allowed them to individually engage with complex emotions that were otherwise challenging to express (Brammer Damsgaard & Brinkmann, 2022). Some participants in that study noted increased feelings of presence in the moment while singing. Meaningful lyrics helped connect their memories and identity. Singing together created vulnerability and visibility for participants (Brammer Damsgaard & Brinkmann, 2022). The questions below can be an entry place for generating emotional wellness through the SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making.

1. Do students have opportunities to identify and share emotions? Quick written check-ins or reflections at the start or end of rehearsal allow students to share how they are feeling in a lowstakes way. Questions such as “how are you feeling about our upcoming concert, and why?” or “how did yesterday’s rehearsal make you feel, and what can I do to support you?” encourage students to think deeply about what their experience in your ensemble is like. Intentionally being present and greeting students as they are entering and leaving the room shows you are available if they need to share concerns or ideas.

2. Are you tapping into the emotional power of vocal music? Choose literature with quality, relevant texts and have students reflect on the texts through dis-

cussions or written reflections. Guide students to make connections between the lyrics they are singing and their own lives. Students may have deep insights about how a text speaks to them and what emotional connections it makes. Creative projects such as songwriting offer students the chance to express their feelings authentically.

3. Does being in your choir build responsible decision-making skills? Help students make strong musical decisions by setting individual and group goals. Reflect on goals throughout the year and tweak as needed to increase their impact. Problem-solve as a class or in sectionals and encourage students to be solution-oriented. Circle discussions can be a valuable tool for giving each student a voice to share.

4. Are students given time to participate in emotionally healthy activities? Include breath work, meditation, and mindfulness exercises in class to help students reset after a stressful day. Model thankfulness and give students a chance to share gratitude, either aloud or anonymously. Affirmations can build student confidence, whether those affirmations are written, echoed in warm-ups, or spoken aloud in small groups. Stress-management techniques can be shared and practiced in rehearsal.

Singing is an accessible, collaborative, and expressive art form that lends itself well to social emotional learning. Connecting choral music to SEL can have a deep impact. The American Choral

Directors Association constitution and bylaws states that one of their purposes is to “foster and promote choral singing in the pursuit of peace and justice that enhances social and emotional well-being” (ACDA, 2021, para. 6). We can do that by actively assessing students’ social and emotional needs and maintaining a growth mindset around SEL. With intentionality, choir teachers can be agents of change for students to experience social and emotional well-being during their time in school.

Annabelle Mills is a national board certified teacher pursuing a master’s degree at Florida State University. She teaches middle school choral music in Virginia and volunteers as a crisis counselor for a crisis hotline.


American Choral Directors Association (2021). Constitution and Bylaws of the American Choral Directors Association. ACDA. https:// acda.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ Constitution-and-Bylaws-rev.-Jan.-2021.pdf

Brammer Damsgaard, J., & Brinkmann, S. (2022). Me and us: cultivating presence and mental health through choir singing. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 36(4), 1134–1142. https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.13078

CASEL. (2022, August 3). What is the CASEL framework? CASEL. https://casel.org/ fundamentals-of-sel/what-is-the-caselframework/

Küpana, M. (2015). Social emotional learning and music education. SED Journal of Art Education, 3(2), 75–88. https://doi.org/10.7816/ sed-03-01-05

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021). Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory. HHS.gov. https:// www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeongeneral-youth-mental-health-advisory.pdf

May 2023 23


Constructivism in the Choral Rehearsal

WWhat inspires choral directors to choose the music we choose for our ensembles? Our mentors and guides tell us to choose music that will challenge our students in some ways but must also be accessible. Our own musical aesthetics will guide us toward certain melodic lines and harmonic structures. Depending on our specific circumstances, we will consider the accompaniment of the piece. All these things come into play when making selections for our students, but as choral directors, we have an opportunity to look at the text. Does the text speak to me as a director? Can I see it speaking to my students? What messages am I conveying to my students? As choral directors, the text plays a part. Even if the text is in a foreign language, we will inevitably discuss the translations and meanings and hopefully have a conversation with our students. Constructivism is the idea that knowledge is constructed in the classroom as a joint endeavor between students and the teacher, a concept that is challenging in the traditional choral rehearsal. This article makes a case for the use of text analysis as a vehicle for empowering students and thus infusing constructivist methods within the choral rehearsal.

Students walk into the choral rehearsal with their own set of knowledge and experiences. “Knowledge cannot be transmitted, it is constructed and must be constructed by each individual” (Hansen, 1991, p. 1029). Knowledge is

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continued from page 24

constructed by students both as a group and as individuals, and it is the role of the teacher to assist the students in their quest for knowledge by creating opportunities for construction. Students construct meaning for themselves through interaction. This interaction should not be limited to mechanics alone, but it should include reflections and evaluation of themselves. This evaluation paves the way for active engagement in the learning process (Hansen, 1991). While the teacher may have chosen the piece of music for the students to learn and perform, it is not until the students and the teacher work on the piece together that it comes to life. In that work, the teachers and students are constructing musical literacy.

Literacy is a way to construct knowledge, and it is not limited to reading and writing of text. Literacy encompasses the ability to analyze and use information to make educated choices. Literacy should be purposeful and used to reflect, express ideas, entertain, as well as persuade (Spears-Bunton & Powell, 2009). Literacy is the ability to communicate and understand symbols within the confines of a specific cultural group. It is transferable; the skills used can be reshaped to work in other areas. When students are learning a musical piece, they are utilizing literacy skills on multiple levels simultaneously. Vocal music specifically provides a vehicle to explore relations between words and music and bring the meaning and messages embedded in the text back to the music. Structuring curriculum and instruction in a way that links the processes of learning music with similar processes in other domains can help to develop a student’s ability to move between domains and generalize knowledge (Pearman & Friendman, 2009).

Reading and writing strategies make content area instruction more comprehensible for students. It makes content come alive so students can make their own connections between their lives and the texts they read. Music offers a vehicle for imaginative discourse that can allow students to build their literacy skills. Imaginative discourse can be used to benefit students in the growth and development of their written language, ideas backed up by researchers such as Vygotsky (1967), Piaget (1962), and Bruner (1983). Other educators (e.g., Calkins, 1986; Florio & Clark, 1982; Graves, 1983) have created relatively similar strategies for teachers to use when trying to aid students through imaginative discourse, which include:

1. create an informal environment and climate of risk taking,

2. encourage students to generate their own topics, provide stimulating prewriting experiences,

3. recognize and allow for individual and unique processes of writing,

4. set up real purposes and real audiences, and

5. provide conferences during the writing process in a nondirective way to facilitate the writer’s intentions.

Applying these strategies to the choral rehearsal, directors can help students construct meanings, transfer skills, and empower students in their ability to analyze and interpret the world. The means to this end are as follows:

First, teach the music of the piece, melodically, harmonically, in whatever methods the music is normally taught in your individual classroom. The first time I did this lesson, I began with solfège, and the piece I was teaching was Omnia Sol by Z. Randall Stroope. Once the students had learned the melodic and harmonic nuances of the music and loved it, we began to dive into the text. The specifics of my classroom were such that many students were immigrants or first-generation Americans. As such, their English skills needed a little more support at times. We took the text from the song, started to sing it, and then one day, I pulled the words off the musical page and displayed them on the screen as a poem. As a class, we discussed the text, each line, and explained metaphors if they were unclear. As the director, I did not give the students the answers, but merely guided the discussion and ensured the class stayed on task. Students were asked individually to decide on words they felt were personally important and write them down, along with their explanations as to why those words were important. Following this individual thinking time, we resumed class discussions, and the students shared some of their thoughts. The class voted and decided that within each phrase, the textual emphasis belonged in specific places, and then we tried to sing through those phrases with their new emphasis. We had one more segment where they

26 Florida Music Director

had to write down what the piece in totality meant to each individual student. Following this segment, students were invited to share what they thought the piece meant. This led to another class discussion, and the group voted on the overall meaning for the class. We concluded this segment of the class by returning to the song and trying to translate all that had been discussed into dynamics, text emphasis, and tonal colors.

The open forum for the students in the chorus room mimicked some of the strategies previously listed. As a result of these discussions, the students had a connection to this piece of music not only on an auditory level, but also on an intellectual and emotional level. During the final performance, students were moved to tears while they were singing. As Jackendoff (2009) explained, music and language are distinct from other human activities in that they are two expressions of the same competence for human communication. As we all move forward in our respective goals of teaching and empowering our students through choral music, this lesson gives students another vehicle to take ownership of the music and the many meanings music can hold in our minds and souls simultaneously.

Below are some concluding points to think about if you should choose to use this lesson in your own classrooms/choral rehearsals.

Choral music/vocal music has text.

w Text must be translated.

w Text should be interpreted for artistic meanings.

w Text must be studied for syllabic stress such that the audience members can understand and possibly also connect to the musical performance.

How much time is spent on the text as an ensemble?

w What decisions are being made as far as emphasis of the text?

w Do teachers maintain that the composer makes all the best choices regarding dynamics and emphasis?

w Is there room for personal interpretation in solo music? Is there room for collaborative interpretation in choral music? What would that look like?

Recommendations for the process

w Remove the text from the music and ask the students to read it as a poem.

w Lead a class discussion on where the emphasis of the text should lie and why.

w Have the students attempt the different placements of emphasis.

w Have the class/students vote on the placement of the emphasis.

w Place the emphasis on the musical scores, adding notes on why one word or phrase is louder or softer, or notes on what memories they may be trying to access on that phrase.

w Perform the entirety of the piece with the intent of bringing to life the discussions had as an ensemble.

Alicia Romero-Sardiñas, PhD, is a visiting professor of music education at Florida International University. A first-generation American daughter of Cuban immigrant parents, Dr. Romero-Sardiñas holds degrees in music education from Florida International University (BS) and Florida State University (MMEd) and a degree in curriculum and instruction (PhD) from Florida International University.


Abrahams, F. (2005). Transforming classroom music instruction with ideas from critical pedagogy. Music Educators Journal, 92(1), 62–67. https://doi.org/10.2307/3400229

Benedict, C. L. (2012). Critical and transformative literacies: music and general education. Theory into Practice, 51(3), 152–158. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2012.690293

Bruner. (1983). Play, thought, and language. Peabody Journal of Education, 60(3), 60–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/01619568309538407

Calkins, L. (1986). The art of teaching writing (1st ed.). Heinemann.

Cleaver, D., & Ballantyne, J. (2013). Teachers’ views of constructivist theory: A qualitative study illuminating relationships between epistemological understanding and music teaching practice. International Journal of Music Education, 32(2), 228–241. https://doi. org/10.1177/0255761413508066

Florio, S., & Clark, C. M. (1982). The functions of writing in an elementary classroom. Research in the Teaching of English, 16(2), 115–130. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40170938

Graves, D. (1983). Writing: Teachers and children at work. Heinemann.

Hansen, J. (1991). The language arts interact. In J. Flood, J. M. Jensen, D. Lapp, & J. R. Squire (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching in the English language arts (2nd ed., pp. 1026–1034). Macmillan.

Hansen, D. & Bernstorf, E. B. (2002). Linking music learning to reading instruction. Music Educators Journal, 88(5), 17–23. https://doi. org/10.2307/3399821

Hansen, D., Bernstorf, E. B., & Stuber, G. M. (2014). The music and literacy connection Rowman & Littlefield.

Jackendoff, R. (2009). Parallels and nonparallels between language and music. Music Perception, 26(3), 195–204. https://doi. org/10.1525/mp.2009.26.3.195

Pearman, C. J., & Friedman, T. (2009). Reading and rhythm: Binding language arts and music in an academic notebook. General Music Today, 23(1), 12–16. https://doi. org/10.1177/1048371309331610

Piaget, J. (1963). Part I: Cognitive development in children: Piaget: Development and Learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2, 8–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ tea.3660020306

Spears-Bunton, L. A. & Powell, R. (2009). Toward a literacy of promise: Joining the African American experience. Routledge.

Vygotsky, (1967). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Soviet Psychology, 5(3), 6–18. https://doi.org/10.2753/RPO1061040505036

May 2023 27
Literacy encompasses the ability to analyze and use information to make educated choices.

OnMarch 31, I had to wake up at 5 am. I had to get to my classroom at 6 am and confirm that I had all originals for our entries for state solo and ensemble. I had to find a missing bow tie. I had to find a pearl necklace. I had to find a missing left character shoe. At 6:30 am I had to travel with 43 students and six chaperones approximately two hours in traffic to arrive 30 minutes before our first performance. When we finally arrived, I had to run up three flights of stairs and show that I am seriously out of shape. After five hours of performances and waiting for performances, I had to take my students to ride go-karts and play laser tag. That evening I rushed back to school because I had to walk alongside

my senior son at his senior-night lacrosse game. When the game was over, I had to eat at “La Carreta” (IYKYK). I arrived home, opened my email, and remembered that I had to prepare for my last article as FVA president.

Now Accepting Booth Space Reservations for the 2024

One of our ensemble songs was Kaleidoscope Heart arranged by Allison Girvan. A kaleidoscope shows beauty in broken pieces. All you need is a lens that will help you see clearly and a mirror that reflects. A music educator gets to empower others to find the beauty in their own kaleidoscopes. When I finally saw clearly through the kaleidoscope of my life, I realized I don’t have to do any of these things … I get to do them. My body is tired, but my heart is full. Shall we never take for granted the experiences that help us achieve our purpose.

What an honor it has been to serve as your president. I am so grateful for the opportunity and pray that I will get to serve you as your friend.

May 2023 29
Please register and pay your deposit as soon as possible.
We are assigning booth space in the order deposits are paid.
fmea.org/ conference/exhibitor-information/

Component News

It’sMay—say it ain’t so—the final month (or so) of yet another school year! Most of us will be setting sail for our summer festivities very soon, and rightfully so. It’s definitely time to get away for a bit, reconnect with friends, enjoy family, and possibly take advantage of some of the summer opportunities to grow as a music educator. Before moving on, I’d once again like to thank the FBA membership for giving me the opportunity to lead this incredible organization. It is truly a pleasure and an honor to do so, and I greatly appreciate the support you have displayed this year. I began this term by introducing a theme of Building Better Bands, Through Camaraderie, Community, and Creativity, and I believe we are well on our way to making this happen throughout the state. As we close out the 2022-23 school year, I’d like to briefly reflect on three items that have been heavy on my plate since day one.


The first is our FBA (or music educator) Family. Last year, Past President Ian Schwindt wrote about the importance of our band director family and how we must stick together, support each other, learn from each other, and celebrate each other. We may not always agree on every issue, but we can accomplish much more with each other than we can without each other. This message is still true and probably needed now more than ever. With that in mind, be on the lookout for a more active presence from our retired FBA membership next year as we have reestablished this important aspect of our association. We are also going to continue (with a little more defined focus) our Hi-Five Focus group for our teachers in years 0–5, as well as work on some tweaking of our mentor program. But generally I want to challenge all of us to be aware of each other and continue to make the effort to reach out and support your brothers and sisters in music throughout

the state. (“What’s up Wednesdays” are still a thing!)

The second point is the MPA Perspective. I know that all of us in secondary music education have varied opinions on our MPA system, and that is perfectly fine. That is not what I’m addressing with this message. Regardless of how you view the MPA process, I am a strong believer that your MPA rating does not determine who you are as a music educator or, more importantly, as a human being. For whatever reason, we have tied ratings to success and to our personal livelihood and well-being. This year I took my band to MPA, and we did not earn a superior rating. Can you believe that the day after that, the good Lord still woke me up and sent me on my way back to school? And all of my students showed up as well. Of course, we discussed our performance and listened to the recordings, reviewed the adjudicator comments, and came up with a plan to improve … or basically used the experience as a tool to grow and become a better educator. Regardless of the rating, I’m still who I am and I still love what I get to do each and every day. To my knowledge, there is no movement to impeach me from the presidency because I did not get a superior. Other directors have still asked me to come assist with their band programs. My students still laugh at my jokes, and my wife didn’t leave me! I think you get my point, right?! I do believe our MPA system is a needed, viable, and valuable educational tool. But it does not determine my self worth as a music educator or a human being. I hope this will be encouraging to you as well.

The final point I’d like to discuss is our effort to do a better job of Celebrating Success within our FBA (FMEA) family.

30 Florida Music Director
Cheryl Floyd, conductor of the 2023 All-State Middle School Band, celebrates a successful performance with her students.

Earlier this year, my pastor preached a sermon that centered on the quote “You get more of what you celebrate!” It made perfectly good sense to me, and I think it is something that is very achievable. Success in our profession looks many different ways and can be achieved at any given time or place and in any given setting or classroom situation. Success does not have to be based on a rating or a trophy from the “Intergalactic Universal Federation of Band Associations of the Space Time Continuum.” So be on the lookout for our “Celebrating Success” initiatives coming very soon.

Back to that point of summer growth opportunities, please consider attending the FBA Summer Conference, June 26–28 at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld. We are pleased to welcome home our keynote speaker, Dr. Rodney Dorsey. Much more will be available at this summer conference—the return of the Seven and Nine Star Honor Bands as well as the Jazz Institute, to name a few (and possibly the BBQ challenge that so many of you have requested). All of the necessary information can be found on the FBA website: https://fba.flmusiced. org/for-directors/summer-conference/

Congratulations to everyone on your successful school year! Have a great, relaxing, and refreshing summer, and let’s all continue building better bands!


AsI approach the end of my term as president of the Florida Music Supervision Association, I am reflecting on the many people who have taught me throughout my time in this position. I have found that the kindness others have shown toward me is both invaluable and irreplaceable. As a person who strives to be a reflective practitioner, I actually started reflecting on the many facets of “kindness” and how it is the keystone to effective and lasting teaching and learning.

“Kindness is giving hope to those who think they are all alone in this world.”

One of the results of the global pandemic that still lurks about is the feeling of isolation and distance. However, one of the unintended consequences of this same event is the necessity to become more and more proficient at communicating in a virtual platform. At a time when we were most apart, FMSA found a way to connect regularly in a way that reminded us that while we were apart, we were not alone in our struggles and fears. We had each other to laugh with, to commiserate with, and to support. I leaned on my FMSA colleagues (a k a friends), and I cannot thank them enough.

“Kindness is seeing the best in others when they cannot see it in themselves.”

Being tasked with a leadership position can be daunting and also isolating. It is not unlike starting a new job as a music teacher in a new school. People look to you for help and guidance, and the responsibilities related to those decisions can be a heavy burden. My FSMA and FMEA colleagues have all treated me in a way that showed me they trusted me and would still support me even if a choice I made did not function as anticipated. That is a gift I will cherish and one I hope I bestowed on my students throughout my nearly 30 years of teaching.

“Kindness is not what you do, but who you are.”

We are what we repeatedly do. If we want to make this world a better, more accepting, and kind place, we must model kind and respectful behaviors to those around us. This can challenging, but when in doubt, think through—what is the kindest thing I can say/do right now?

As we end another academic year and set our eyes toward “next,” I wanted to take a moment to find the strength and majesty that is kindness. The prevailing thought in psychology is that human beings are more likely to learn and retain information when they are in an environment that feels safe and secure. I am going to share the wise (and kind) words of my amazing wife. “Remember, Lindsey, we are all doing the best we can with what we have on that day.” While we may not feel as if we can immediately change the current climate of dichotomous thought and fear, we can certainly choose to do the next kindest thing that will ultimately deliver us to a “next” that allows us all to feel safe and at peace.

May 2023 31

Component News



Music Advocacy Day was a huge success this year! For the first time since 2020, collegiates from across the state came together in Tallahassee to advocate for music education, to speak with legislators, and to make sure music remains funded and in our schools. We

want to give a huge thank you to Jeanne Reynolds, Kathy Sanz, Val Anderson, and Jovan Osborne for putting together this event and making sure the day ran smoothly.

Being it was the first in-person Collegiate Music Advocacy Day we’ve had in a while, I was extremely pleased


with how well the event turned out. We had close to 30 collegiates show up, and each one took part in meeting with legislators and discussing why music education is vital to our students and schools.


It is hard to believe that summer will soon be upon us. Each school year presents its own joys, lessons, and challenges. I know that everyone of you reading this message has gone above and beyond for their students. Please know that though some days you may feel unnoticed or underappreciated, there are many children whose lives have been changed because of YOU! I thank you for your commitment to high-quality music education and to meeting the needs of your students.

As my term as your FEMEA president comes to an end, I want to tell you what an honor it has been to serve you and this organization. Elementary music teachers are the hardest working, most compassionate, and most giving people I know. I am so inspired by all the amazing things you do every day and will always be grateful that you trusted me to lead this organization. I have had the opportunity to work with many incredible people. I am proud of all that FEMEA has accomplished during my term. The pandemic definitely had an impact on the FEMEA, but I am proud to say we have made huge gains in the past two years. There are so many people who have helped me along this journey.

I would like to thank the FMEA board and Dr. Shelby Chipman for their leadership. Thank you to Val Anderson and Dr. Kathy Sanz for their support. My heart is full of gratitude to the FEMEA board for their dedication and service to our organization. The servant leadership on this board means that members’ and students’ needs are always in the forefront of decisionmaking. I am also thankful for their willingness to listen to and be open to new ideas. Thank you to Rosemary Pilonero and Ernesta Chicklowski for their guidance. I am excited that Ashley Peek will be taking the helm in July and thank her for her leadership and vision. Finally, I want to thank Jennifer Sullivan for ALL she does for FEMEA. Her vision, leadership, and dedication have been essential to the success of FEMEA. Her kind nature and compassion have made her a joy to work with. I hope all of you have a wonderful summer break and get the rest and relaxation you truly deserve.

On a personal note, it was extremely uplifting to see the support the arts had throughout the Capitol and how important it was to many of our legislators. Multiple times, I had representatives and their aides share stories with us about their own ties to the arts, how they have been supportive in bills and committees, and their continued plan to make sure we secure arts education in Florida.

I was also happy to see the connections people were making throughout the entire day, not only to their legislators, but with their peers and colleagues as well. Collegiates were grouped together by their representatives, rather than by school, and due to this I saw many people forge friendships and grow closer to their peers from different universities. With how little we meet as a chapter, I always enjoy seeing people creating relationships beyond their school.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who came out and made the day possible. I hope you all will realize the impact you made for music education and how well you represented Florida NAfME Collegiate. As this event continues to grow, I can’t wait to see how you all keep pushing and advocating for the arts and its importance to our students, schools, and society.

32 Florida Music Director
FLORIDA NAfME COLLEGIATE Peek Kathy Sanz with student participants at Collegiate Music Advocacy Day

Weare at that busy time of year when we have just finished our MPA season and have begun preparing for our spring concerts and end-of-year events. It was truly a pleasure to see you and to hear some of the orchestras at the state concert MPA. I would like to thank our state concert MPA judges and clinicians for their comments and guidance: Dr. Brenda Brenner, Dr. Elizabeth Reed, Dr. Judith Palak, Georgia Ekonomou, and Patricia Glunt.

It is hard to believe this is the last article I will be writing as FOA president. These two years have flown by, and I want to thank all of you for making my tenure such a pleasant experience. Jumping from president-elect right into president made me feel slightly behind, but everyone was always very kind and helpful. I have enjoyed meeting so many new people, and

I look forward to continuing in service as past president. I am excited to be helping our new FOA Executive Committee as we are under new leadership with incoming President Cheri Sleeper and Presidentelect Andrea Szarowicz. I hope you make their experience as enriching as mine. It is our goal to make this your FOA, and we have greatly appreciated your input to our conference planning and handbook updates. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any other board member regarding your concerns and questions. We are here to serve you. We all wish you a great ending to your school year. Here are some things to think about as we end this year:

Celebrate all that you and your stu-


dents have accomplished this year. Identify the steps made in your journey of learning and the making of music, and honor your successes.

Rest and get away from the stress of the everyday challenges of the work, and allow yourself to be recharged to refill your reservoir of energy for the coming year.

Grow and set aside time to feed your soul. Do something that is intellectually stimulating: Attend a workshop or a summer conference, read a book, do something artful that is from a different discipline (paint, write a short story, or learn a new instrument).

Plan what next year could look like and what changes you will make in the learning journey that your students experience in your classroom.

Enjoy your summer break!


Summeris almost here and with it comes some much needed time to rest and recharge. This summer marks the end of my term as president of the Florida College Music Educators Association. It has been an honor to serve you and this organization. The last three years we faced many challenges that threatened to tear our community apart, but instead, these challenges only drew us closer. We overcame them because of the resourcefulness and creativity of our members. I am proud of what we have accomplished and thankful to you all.

I am excited for the future of our organization and eager to see it grow and evolve. Taking over the position of president will be Dr. Sandra Adorno from Florida International University. She is the perfect person to lead this great organization into the future. Please join me in welcoming her.

Good luck, Dr. Adorno!

May 2023 33
Sleeper Adorno


Research-Based Strategies for Ensemble Rehearsals

Sometimesteachers may have the impression that research deals with esoteric topics that have no real connection to what goes on in K-12 music classes and rehearsals on a daily basis. However, most music education researchers were K-12 teachers themselves and have a deep interest in trying to make contributions to music education at the elementary and secondary levels. As an example, there has been a great deal of research related to teaching large and small music ensembles. Brian A. Silvey (2014), a music educator, conductor, and researcher who teaches at the University of Missouri, summarized and synthesized much of that research in an article published in the NAfME journal UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education. In this article, Silvey discussed research related to (a) ensemble warm-ups, (b) teacher behaviors, (c) feedback, (d) moving beyond notes and rhythms, and more.


Silvey indicated that conductors may not always make the best use of ensemble warm-up time, frequently using it for announcements, taking attendance, and a routine that varies little from day to day, resulting in students being on autopilot and not focusing their attention on important aspects of individual and collective musicianship. He pointed out that the content, structure, and approach to the warm-up can set the tone for the entire rehearsal (e.g., Madsen, 1990). Silvey advised that the teacher needs to be fully prepared for the ensemble warm-up, which should focus on instrument and performance fundamentals, and be designed not only to physically warm up instruments/voices and bodies, but also to engage students musically and emotionally from the outset.

Teacher Behaviors

It is not surprising that the actions of the teacher/conductor can have a large influence on the effectiveness of a rehearsal. Two aspects of ensemble teacher behavior that have been studied by researchers are eye contact and conductor talk. Researchers have found that performers prefer conductors who make lots

This on-going column seeks to stimulate awareness of research issues for FMEA teachers and researchers.

of eye contact, a trait that is more prevalent in expert than in novice conductors. By engaging in sufficient score study prior to a rehearsal, conductors can free themselves from constantly looking at the music, thus being better able to look at members of the ensemble during rehearsals and performances. To improve eye contact, conductors may also deliberately plan how and when they will look at the musicians by writing in the score when to look at sections or individuals, or intentionally making eye contact during the warm-up period when the printed music does not usually need to be closely consulted.

Researchers have also found that conductors like to talk, often too much. Students enroll in school ensembles to play and sing. Too much conductor talk results in fewer opportunities for music-making. Like the research on eye contact, there is a difference in conductor talk between expert and novice conductors, with experts tending to talk less than novices. In addition, researchers have learned students tend to pay better attention in rehearsals where there is less conductor talk. One reason why expert conductors tend to talk less than novices may be that they are better at communicating nonverbally, which includes using expressive conducting gestures that are preferred by musicians.


Feedback is crucial to the teaching-learning process; however, not all feedback is equally effective. In music classes and rehearsals, there is usually a three-part feedback cycle consisting of (1) a teacher directive—the teacher asks the student to do something, (2) student performance—the student responds to the teacher directive; this can be a musical performance or any other type of response that aligns with the directive, and (3) teacher feedback (see Price & Yarbrough, 1993; Siebenaler, 1997; and Yarbrough & Hendel, 1993). The key to this cycle being efficient and effective is that both the directive and the feedback need to be specific. Feedback, whether positive or negative, needs to address not only “what the problem is, but how to fix that problem” (Silvey, 2014, p. 13). Silvey suggested

34 Florida Music Director

that teachers pair a generic good or bad with a musical description, providing this example: “Good job flutes on making those sixteenth notes more crisp with a lighter tongue!” (p. 13).

Beyond Notes and Rhythms

It is not unusual for conductors to spend a great deal of time during rehearsals helping students to play the correct notes and rhythms of repertoire. This may result in rehearsal goals and procedures being focused on the technical aspects of ensemble performance, to the neglect of the expressive aspects of music. Silvey (2014) suggested one reason for this is that students often lack the understanding of how to effectively practice independently and encouraged teachers to discuss the process of practicing with their students, helping them to develop essential strategies and approaches. In addition, teachers might consider choosing some repertoire that is less technically demanding so there is an opportunity to spend more time working on higher-level musical concepts and performance practices.


In this column, I’ve provided an overview of the content of Silvey’s (2014) article, which provides a wonderful example of how the results of research can be applied to our daily work as music teachers. To learn more about this topic and to explore the research on other aspects of music teaching and learning, access the website of the NAfME journal UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, which can be found at https:// bit.ly/nafme-update. The mission of UPDATE is to bring “research in music teaching and learning close to everyday practice to help teachers apply research in their music classrooms and rehearsal halls” (National Association for Music Education, 2023, para. 1). All FMEA members can access and read UPDATE as part of their FMEA/NAfME membership.


Madsen, C. K. (1990). Teacher intensity in relationship to music education. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 104, 38–46.

National Association for Music Education. (2023, March). UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education. https://nafme.org/ nafme-research/update-applications-of-research-in-musiceducation/

Price, H. E., & Yarbrough, C. E. (1993). Effect of scripted sequential patterns of instruction in music rehearsals on teaching evaluations by college nonmusic students. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 119, 170–178.

Siebenaler, D. J. (1997). Analysis of teacher-student interactions in the piano lessons of adults and children. Journal of Research in Music Education, 45, 6–20. https://doi.org/10.2307/3345462

Silvey, B. A. (2014). Strategies for improving rehearsal technique: Using research findings to promote better rehearsals. UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, 32(2) 11–17. https://doi. org/10.1177/8755123313502348

Yarbrough, C., & Hendel, C. (1993). The effect of sequential patterns on rehearsal evaluations of high school and elementary students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 41(3), 246–257. https://doi. org/10.2307/3345328

May 2023 35 Email your questions and feedback to wbauer@ufl.edu with a subject heading Research Puzzles.

Committee Reports


Aswe wrap up another school year of quality music education, I applaud all music educators for promoting and exemplifying quality music education on a daily basis. We have so many heroes out there, rising above and being the light, and that includes YOU.

Speaking of heroes, it’s that time of the year when I ask you to consider who in your sphere of influence is deserving of recognition by the FMEA Awards Program. Each year I am so inspired by the nominees in every category, and I also think about the many unsung heroes of music education throughout our state. The call for nominations is already available at https://FMEA.org/programs/awards/. I know there are many amazing music educators and music education supporters out there, and your FMEA Awards Committee looks forward to receiving the next new round of nominations.

In the coming months I would like to share with you a little of the brilliance that our awardees shared with us at our 2023 FMEA Awards Ceremony during the FMEA Professional Development Conference. These words of inspiration I share with you to give you that confidence to be the light to your own students at the end of another school year, as well as the drive to help shine a light on others in our next nomination period. I know that reading words from all of our 2023 FMEA awardees will impress you, but I hope it will also inspire you to think about possible nominees for 2024.

First off this month, we will start with some inspiring words from our 2023 FMEA Elementary Music Educator of the Year, Ernesta Chicklowski, and our 2023 FMEA Secondary Music Educators of the Year, Vivian Gonzalez and Deborah Mar.

Iamdeeply honored to be selected as the 2023 FMEA Elementary Music Educator of the Year. What a true pleasure and surprise to be considered as a leader in the field of music education. I celebrate every educator: joyfully teaching music each week, making meaningful musical memories, and cultivating creativity in their school community and classroom. What makes me most proud is the sound of my students making music without me, working independently, creating something beautiful and intentional. What makes me most proud is listening to my students collaborate and connect with their peers, making something unique. What makes me most proud is seeing my students continue to pursue music outside of our classroom walls. And what makes me most proud is seeing a student achieve a personal musical milestone—from a small musical moment to grand leaps. I couldn’t be more proud. The recent buzz of this esteemed award is great, but even more important is the message of music for ALL of Florida’s students. I feel honored to have the opportunity to share the message of advocacy for music in our schools on many platforms. Advocacy for music education ensures that music will continue, well beyond my teaching journey. This is the legacy I hope to leave behind. Let the music continue to change our student’s lives, one note at a time. I believe that music education makes a difference.

36 Florida Music Director
Ernesta Chicklowski, elementary music educator at Roosevelt Elementary School in Hillsborough County Public Schools, inspires with celebration:

Next, Vivian Gonzalez, secondary music educator at Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, inspires with hope:

Iamso honored to have received the FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award. It’s such an honor to be a representative for our community of music educators who work so hard every day to make sure they give access, opportunity, and inclusion to all of our students in the state of Florida, and that we really emphasize to everyone how important music education really is. I am a child of a first-generation teenage mom and a Cuban exile father, and without music in my life, I’m not really sure what my life would be. I was lucky enough to have the music community in Miami and my public school music teachers really rally around me, find my talent, and encourage to pursue my dreams to be a musician and music educator. I really believe that music is essential to all of our students and through music we change the lives of our students. By changing their lives through music, we are changing the world, one student at a time. I think it’s so important that we share our student’s stories, and they get to experience the music of their culture, as well as the music that’s around them every single day. I am so excited to be a bridge for my students and my colleagues to make sure that all of them have access, opportunity, and inclusion in music classrooms, whether it’s in Miami, the state of Florida, or across the nation. I really believe that music changes the world, and through our students and their stories, we are changing the world too.

And finally, Deborah Mar, secondary music educator at Southwood Middle School in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, inspires through reflection:

Iampleased and humbled to accept the FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year award. I offer my sincere gratitude to my family, FVA, the amazing FVA District 16, my colleagues at Southwood Middle School, and Angel Marchese for this nomination. Much has changed since I began teaching, but the most important things have remained the same—those being my belief that music is for every child and to create pathways to mentor other young music educators along their unique journeys. As a young novice teacher, I searched for ways to grow professionally and engage my students. The Florida Vocal Association has offered those opportunities through musical events, professional development, and leadership opportunities. My mentors are long gone now, but I think of them daily and their positive impact on my life. There is a large banner hung on my classroom wall. On it is a compelling question: “How big is your world?” I challenge my students to think outside their immediate environment. I challenge them to consider how their beautiful music might have a higher purpose. I trust that their musical experiences will build confidence, courage to find their place in this world, and a sense of belonging and value. My joy comes when I see my students performing in their respective high schools and colleges. My joy comes when I see my former interns thriving in their new careers as music educators. My joy comes when I see attendees inspired and moved by conference sessions. My joy comes when I receive a letter from a parent stating that choir saved their son’s life. Today I celebrate with you my journey as a music educator, as well as the journey of my past and present students, colleagues, and mentees. Find your joy!

May 2023 37

ROCKING WITH RUBY When Inclusion Works


McAuliffe, first teacher astronaut, said, “I touch the future; I teach.” One of the many rewards of teaching is hearing from former students. I love to hear from former students regardless of what they call to tell me; however, it is incredibly gratifying when they call to say they are using what they learned in class in their own teaching. I spent most of my career promoting the music education of students with disabilities; therefore, it is especially rewarding when former students tell me about their students with disabilities. I was excited to recently hear from a student I had over 15 years ago, Alan DeVall, who teaches at Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas, and formerly taught at North Fort Myers High School in Southwest Florida. He messaged me and a colleague of mine at the University of Texas where he went to graduate school to thank us for our influence on his teaching and work with students who have disabilities. He included a link to a video about Ruby, a middle schooler with intellectual disabilities. Included in the video was footage of Ruby playing in band, practicing trombone, and working with her band buddy. My former student was also interviewed about teaching Ruby and what it meant to him and his teaching.

The video also profiled Ruby in numerous other typical middle school academic and social activities. It was clear she was fully included and accepted by her

peers. Her principal touchingly shared his own personal experience with inclusion. Unfortunately, his experience with inclusion was not as successful as Ruby’s. I want all students to have the school life that Ruby enjoys. Authentic inclusion requires that parents, teachers, peers, and administrators all agree on the principles of inclusion and work in concert to adhere to those principles so the goal of full inclusion can be realized. It is clear from Ruby’s video that her parents, teachers, and school administrators have figured out how to put the principles of inclusion into practice.

Principles of Inclusion

Two of the principles most important to inclusion are the principle of normalization and the principle of self-determination (Adamek & Darrow, 2018). The principle of normalization reflects the belief that individuals with disabilities should have experiences as close as possible to what is typical. This principle provided a foundation for the civil rights movement for

people with disabilities, and it has many implications for the classroom. With normalized experiences, students have opportunities for increased community integration, social integration with peers, and improved quality of life. The principle of self-determination promotes students’ empowerment and decision-making regarding the services they will receive and what they want their future to look like. Characteristics and skills such as assertiveness, problem-solving, and decision-making are developed throughout their educational years to promote autonomy and self-efficacy as adults. Ruby’s video illustrates these principles of inclusion and the role music can play in promoting these principles.

Jellison (2015) offers two additional principles that support full inclusion for students with disabilities: the principle of socialization and the principle of collaboration. The principle of socialization focuses on students’ cognitive and social development through positive interactions with peers. In addition to the goal of promoting

38 Florida Music Director Committee Reports
Alan DeVall

academic learning, helping students develop positive social relationships assists their integration in school and community life. Students need oppor-

tunities to engage in varied experiences, such as band, that encourage the development of social skills and friendships.

The principle of collaboration focuses on the

OR SEARCH for Ruby’s Story of Inclusion: The Middle School Years

importance of coordinated efforts and the ways administrative personnel, teachers, students, and parents can work together to cultivate a school environment where all students are included and valued.

The video Ruby’s Story of Inclusion: The Middle School Years clearly illustrates each of these principles in action.

continued on page 40

Teacher Tips for Inclusion

on following page

May 2023 39

Committee Reports

Teacher Tips for Inclusion

continued from page 39

The principles of inclusion are ideals that require classroom strategies to be realized. I am often asked to share instructional tips or strategies for inclusion (Darrow, 2022, pp. 60–61). Former students have said these teaching tips have helped them, and I hope they will help FMD readers. My first tip is always the same: to see disability not as a form of deviance from the norm, but rather to reconceptualize disability as a natural form of human variation. All students exist somewhere on the continuum of abilities. The key is to know where your students are on that continuum and to teach accordingly.

Below are some other tips that have helped me throughout my career in teaching students with disabilities.

1. Know your students. Know their abilities, limitations, interests, and learning style preferences (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading, writing). Knowing your students will allow you to embrace the three principles of Universal Design for Learning:

w Provide multiple means of representation. Any musical concept can be taught in multiple ways: using visuals, singing, playing, moving, listening, creating, reading.

w Provide multiple means of action and expression. Differentiate the ways that students can show what they know. Can they sing, speak, use a gesture, or point to a visual that represents their response?

w Provide multiple means of engagement based on students’ interests Any musical concept can be taught using various musical genres, employing contemporary

technological media, or incorporating current social issues and themes in students’ lessons.

2. Become skilled at task analysis … breaking down any musical task to its most basic elements. Perhaps one student is naming notes and another is identifying notes as a line or space notes, a prerequisite skill for note naming. Students with disabilities do not need a special curriculum, but they may need differentiated instruction.

3. Embrace modeling and guided practice. These are two of the most effective strategies for teaching new skills to all students: I do (modeling), we do together, you do as group, you do individually (guided practice).

4. Analyze students’ difficulties. Do you need to:

w Adapt the music (arrange easier or more difficult parts, color-code the music, write in accidentals, provide larger size print or Braille music)?

w Change or adapt a student’s instrument so it aligns with their physical abilities?

w Adapt the environment (remove distractions or physical barriers, rearrange students’ seating, write reminders on the board, etc.)?

w Adapt your instruction (less teacher talking and more student engagement, use more visuals, use peer-facilitated learning strategies, etc.)?

w Adapt your expectations or definition for student success?

w Provide scaffolding or learning supports such as prompts and cues (“Check the board to make sure you have everything you need to begin rehearsal.”)?

5. Provide a safe and respectful learning environment for students with disabilities.

w Students are your best disability information resource. Invite them to let you know when and if they need assistance and what kind of assistance. Don’t assume they need help, and encourage them to self-advocate when they do. It will be a useful skill in the adult world. Students with disabilities generally need less help than most teachers think they do. When they do need assistance, enlist a fellow classmate if the task is appropriate for peer modeling. Doing so promotes peer interactions and is less stigmatizing than using an adult paraprofessional.

w Educate yourself on appropriate terminology, and avoid pejorative terms such as “confined to a wheelchair.” We don’t say “confined to a cane.” We say simply, “She uses a cane, or he uses a wheelchair.”

w Your reactions and comments matter. Most people have a fear of becoming disabled and, thus, often feel the need to express sentiments such as, “You are so brave,” “I wouldn’t want to live if I lost my sight,” or “I would rather die than be confined to a wheelchair.” These and similar comments devalue the lives of students with disabilities.

w Focus on what’s important. Teachers often spend more time thinking about a student’s disability than the student does. Many if not most students are not mindful of their disabilities and find them to be inconsequential to their happiness or to their academic life. They are often reminded of their disability only when faced with societal barriers or when others make reference to it.

40 Florida Music Director

w Give all students a chance to lead and grow musically. Students with disabilities have the same goals, desires, and ambitions that all students do. Provide them with the same opportunities for leadership and musical growth.

w Don’t tolerate mistreatment of any student. Invite all students to report to you privately if they observe any classmate being bullied or intentionally isolated. Monitor the social interactions in your classroom, and teach all students to be good class citizens. Your musical product will be better for it, and your students will learn to appreciate the diversity within their music classroom.

w Look to role models of all abilities. Persons with disabilities have been and are well represented in the musical arts. Studying musicians with disabilities, performing their music, and inviting them as clinicians will provide positive role models and infuse disability information into the music curriculum.

When music educators employ inclusive principles and practices such those cited above, they honor human diversity in all its forms, and all students benefit. Think of Ruby … and use these principles and practices to make every classroom a place where others like Ruby can keep rocking through school and life.


Adamek, M. A., & Darrow, A. A. (2018). Music in Special Education. Silver Spring, MD: American Music Therapy Association.

Darrow, A. A. (2022). Tips for teaching students with disabilities. Teaching Music, 29, 60–61.

Jellison, J. (2015). Including everyone: Creating music classrooms where all children learn. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


Itis thrilling to see Florida students experiencing the JOYS of great and long-lasting experiences with MUSIC in schools throughout our state. It’s equally thrilling to see the excitement and pride on the faces of parents, grandparents, teachers, school administrators, community leaders, and more. Congratulations to each and every one of you for your commitment and thoughtful teaching. YOU are influencing and changing lives every day! Worth it? Oh, YES! Years, even decades later, those students are still remembering the experiences they had in YOUR classes.

To help to ensure a better future, FMEA is working to encourage and develop leadership skills in teachers who will make a difference in their schools and communities and way beyond. In a real way, we are in the business of changing lives through MUSIC.

The annual FMEA Emerging Leaders Summer Conference will be on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at the University of Central Florida – Orlando Campus. The day together will be packed with powerful and deeply committed speakers who will help us all grow and thrive. Sessions will include presentations on connecting your music students with your community, becoming a personal advocate for music education, understanding the “business” of music education, and more. FMEA leaders will be on hand to share experiences and inspiration.

In addition, the FMEA Emerging Leaders play a critical role in making the FMEA Professional Development Conference happen each January. Opportunities to meet and work with amazing conductors and leaders will be offered to FMEA Emerging Leaders. Further, we sponsor two amazing sessions. We host a Thursday morning Coffee Talk at which you can connect informally with conference presenters, other past and present Emerging Leaders, and more. Interested new Emerging Leaders are invited to be part of our Pecha Kucha session to share their ideas. These are great opportunities to network and build your leadership awareness and skill. YOU can make a difference ... enrich lives and communities ... connect with others who are equally interested. I’m thrilled that many of our past Emerging Leaders join us each year to connect with new Emerging Leaders and to be that mentor you may have been searching for.

Applications for the program are available on the FMEA website (under “Programs: Emerging Leaders”). You can self-nominate, and teachers or administrators can nominate candidates.

Questions? Please contact Dr. Mary Palmer at mpalmerassoc@aol.com

We look forward to seeing you in June ... and in January!

May 2023 41

FBA 2023 Summer Conference

June 26-28, 2023

DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Registration/Hotel Reservations

$60 preregistration, opens May 1 $75 after June 1

DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld 10100 International Drive Orlando, FL 32821

$129 per night, make your reservation via the link on the FBA website, click on “Summer Conference Info”


Sunday June 25 Board Meeting

Monday June 26 Adjudication Training (requires separate registration)

TuesdayWednesday June 27-28 Summer Conference

Wednesday June 28 Exhibitors Day, FBA General Meeting, Seven Star and Nine Star Honor Band Concerts

WednesdayThursday June 28-29 Summer Jazz Institute

A more detailed schedule will be posted on the FBA website in early June.

Honor Bands

Students from throughout Florida will perform as members of the FBA 2023 Seven Star and Nine Star Honor Bands during the annual Florida Bandmasters Association summer conference.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rodney Dorsey

Rodney Dorsey, DM, was appointed director of the wind orchestra and graduate wind conducting at Florida State University on March 10, 2023. Prior to this, he was chair of the Department of Bands at Indiana University; director of bands at the University of Oregon; and held various positions at the University of Michigan, DePaul University, and Northwestern University. He was a public school band director for eight years, and he holds degrees from FSU and Northwestern University. He is a board member of the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference.

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Jim Matthews, conductor Larry Shane, conductor Seven Star Honor Band Nine Star Honor Band

Please take time to thank and support our 2022-2023 Academic Partners.



University of Central Florida


Cannon Music Camp - Appalachian State University

Florida Southern College

Rollins College Department of Music

St. Thomas University

Partners as of April 6, 2023.

University of North Florida

University of North Texas

University of Tampa

Valdosta State University

*Please visit FMEA.org/partners for partnership details or call 850-878-6844.

May 2023 43
44 Florida Music Director Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc. SILVER PARTNERS Partners as of April 6, 2023. *Please visit FMEA.org/partners for partnership details or call 850-878-6844. GOLD

Please take time to thank and support our 2022-2023 Corporate Partners.


Eastman Music Company

Head’s House of Music

Meloquest, Inc.

Music & Arts Music Man, Inc.


National Concerts

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

Orlando Sings

West Music Company

May 2023 45

The mission of The Florida Music Educators Association is to promote quality, comprehensive music education for all Florida students as a part of their complete education.

Our Important Work Continues Over the Summer

Weare nearing the end of the 2022-23 school year. As music educators, we continue to face many challenges. The Florida Music Education Association has been reviewing research that focuses on increasing student engagement and teacher satisfaction. In that effort, the research is being analyzed and discussed to improve/increase teacher recruitment and retention in the music education field and in Florida schools. FMEA is in the process of providing links online to these important research documents and will be convening a workgroup this summer to provide forward thinking for music education in Florida.

Student Health and Safety

Florida schools are making preparations for summer band camps. As we all are aware, the Florida sun can be very intense and dehydration is a key element for teachers and students to address. It is critically important for teachers to be aware of the heat index and how it affects our bodies. In addition to heat-related dangers, many of our counties have lightning strikes without warning. Please be cautious.

The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) has developed online courses that assist music educators who have students involved in physical activity. These courses are free of charge, and FMEA and FSMA encourage every school district and school program to be sure that all teachers are aware of the dangers they and students face. The three courses from NFHS include:

Heat Illness Prevention


Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know


Sudden Cardiac Arrest


In addition to the courses listed above, please see the information and links on the FSMA website for keeping our students and teachers safe in the Florida heat.


Florida is projected to gain 2.5 million new residents by 2030. So what does that mean for schools? According to Florida Trend, Florida is projected to add 348,878 school-aged children. The increase most likely will be from domestic migration and international immigration. Depending on the location(s) of the migrations, school size may be impacted. Think about your school, and use foresight in your planning.

The 2023 Legislative Session ends on May 5, unless there is an extension. The FMEA advocacy committee will be reviewing legislation and will provide updates.

Professional Development

The theme of the 2024 FMEA Professional Development and AllState Concerts is Music Education Begins with ME. The deadline for submitting session proposals is quickly approaching. The portal for session proposals is open until midnight on May 12, 2023. We look forward to seeing the fantastic session proposals for 2024.

Membership Renewal Time

Each year beginning on April 1 we open the membership registration process. The membership year for FMEA is July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. Joining is easy and online. If you need assistance, please call the FMEA office. FMEA is your way to keep current on music education events and resources. Visit the website, FMEA.org.

All of us at FMEA hope you have a restful and fulfilling summer with your family and friends.

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