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2018 SMU Music Educators Workshops: Orff Schulwerk, Kodály, Improvisation, Instrument Repair and More

Over 300 professional music educators from U.S. and abroad expected at 23rd annual event, June 7–July 20

Whether elementary school music specialists or high school band, orchestra or choral directors, music teachers flock to the summer Music Educators Workshops held each year at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Now in its 23rd year, the SMU workshops—among the largest of their kind in the U.S.—offer professional development credits, certifications and chances to learn from some of the industry’s top music educators. Eight workshops will be held June 7–July 20.

This year’s lineup of faculty and topics includes sessions such as:

  • Jump Right In: Music Literacy Beyond the Page, June 11–15, with Christopher Azzara, Eastman School of Music professor of music education and protégé of music luminary Edwin Gordon. “Gordon was a proponent of ’music beyond the page,’ which refers to audiation and improvisation,” says workshop founder and director Julie Scott, professor of practice and co-chair of music education at SMU Meadows. “Gordon believed students should begin learning to play instruments by first singing simple tunes, then figuring them out on their instruments. Once the pitches are understood in their heads, they quickly look at the notes on the staff to see and learn a visual representation of the music. Only after students understand a given piece of music in their heads do they learn to reproduce music from the score.”

    Gordon’s most often-quoted recommendation encourages music teachers to “... improvise, improvise, improvise! Get rid of notation. Learn from music learning theory to teach children to make music without the aid of notation or music theory. Follow religiously the process of the way we learn language.”

    The “Jump Right In” workshop is geared toward band, choir, orchestra and elementary music teachers.

  • Instrument Repair for the Band Director, June 7 & 8, with Ann MacMillanInterlochen College of Creative Arts instructor of professional development and University of North Texas College of Music adjunct professor. MacMillan is a master of instrument repair and shares knowledge that band directors will want to know, including methods for repadding, recorking, cleaning, dent work and soldering.
  • First Steps in Music for Preschool and Beyond – FAME certification, June 11–13, with John Feierabend, founder of Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME). “Dr. Feierabend is considered one of the leading authorities on music and movement development in childhood,” says Scott. “When he teaches at the annual TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) conference, he has 600 people in each one of his sessions.” Feierabend, who has taught at the SMU Music Educators Workshops for 10 years, is professor emeritusof music education at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford and past president of Organization of American Kodály Educators.
  • Advanced Choral Conducting, June 13–15, with Pam Elrod Huffman, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and Robert Bode, Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri professor of choral music and director of choral activities at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Huffman is a sought-after workshop clinician, particularly in the area of the choral techniques of Robert Shaw. Bode had his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 1990 and has enjoyed a successful international conducting career as guest conductor of the Kammerorchester Leipzig, Germany; Filharmonia Sudecka, Walbryzch, Poland; Vratca Philharmonic, Vratca, Bulgaria; and the Yunnan Provincial Chorus, Kunming, China, among many others.

Additional stellar workshops include:

  • The Art of Teaching Music: A Workshop for Band Directors, June 18–20, with Brian Merrill and Matthew McInturfMerrill, winner of TMEA 5A Honor Band awards, is adjunct assistant professor and coordinator of music education at SMU Meadows and past president of the Texas Bandmasters Association. McInturf is a professor, director of bands and director of Sam Houston State University’s Center for Music Education and a past president of the Texas Bandmasters Association. He serves as region officer for TMEA.
  • Orff Schulwerk Levels I, II and III, June 18–29, with Paul Cribari, Richard Layton, Meg Tietz, Paul Hallsted, Jacqueline Schrader, Dena Byers, Michael Chandler, Andrew Ellingsen, Beth Melin Nelson and Amy Fenton. Scott notes that, last summer, Cribari taught Orff sessions in Milan, Italy, and that Hallsted taught in China. Scott adds that over the last 10 years, the SMU Orff program has been the largest in the country.
  • The Art of Teaching Orchestra, July 5–7, with Deborah Perkins, adjunct assistant professor of music education at SMU Meadows. Perkins is known for her love of teaching diverse musical styles and for her ability to have fun by creating an encouraging atmosphere that challenges students as they achieve mastery of musical skills beyond their age level. She has built and reinforced public school orchestra programs in Florida, South Carolina and Texas, has served in leadership positions in ASTA (American String Teachers Association) and TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) and is serving a two-year term as “Member at Large” on the national ASTA board.
  • Kodály Certification Training Levels I, II and III, and Kodály Choral Track Levels I, II and III, July 5–20, with Gay deMontel, Laszlo Duranyik, Lenke Igo, Brenda Keen, Kathy Kuddes, Anne Amileski, Kristin Moore and Melissa Young. Scott mentions that Igo, who is a well-known choral director in Hungary, knew Kodály founder Zoltán Kodály; they lived in the same neighborhood.

Registration, housing and limited scholarships

Registration: Scott advises educators to register two weeks in advance so that workshop organizers can arrange for enough supplies, chairs, tables and instruments.

Housing: Two of the workshops—the Orff Schulwerk and the Kodály — offer limited spaces for on-campus housing. Scott urges those wanting on-campus housing to make their arrangements early, preferably at least two weeks in advance of the Orff and Kodály workshops.

Attendees of workshops other than the Orff and Kodály workshops (e.g., FAME, Advanced Choral Conducting, The Art of Teaching Orchestra, etc.) will need to make arrangements to stay off campus. A list of Dallas hotels can be found here.

Scholarships and crowdsourcing: SMU Music Educators Workshops offer half-off scholarships for the Orff and Kodály workshops to undergraduate students who are not yet employed. For details on how to request consideration for the half-price scholarships, contact Dr. Julie Scott or workshop assistant director Lisa Beyer at muedworkshops@smu.edu.

Scott says some attendees have received funding through DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit, online crowdsourcing website dedicated solely to public school and charter school teachers seeking financial help for classroom projects.

In addition to attendees from across the U.S., Scott says several international students attend each year. “One big attraction for our international guests is that their tuition is waived,” she says. “They do pay for their travel and housing, but not the workshops themselves.” Last year, students from Uganda and China were among the workshop attendees.

Read more about the 2018 SMU Music Educators Workshops. Workshops will be held at SMU Meadows School of the Arts in the Owen Arts Center, located at 6101 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75205 on the Southern Methodist University campus.

Watch a mini-documentary about the 20th anniversary Orff Schulwerk workshops at SMU Meadows. Read more aboutDr. Julie Scott and the SMU Meadows Department of Music Education.

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