Friday morning began early for me with an 8:15am session. I attended Donna Menhart’s (future Conference Chair) “Fun and Games in the Kodaly Classroom.” She shared movement ideas for classrooms with limited space and other fun activities. She also gave some examples of how to incorporate Kodaly techniques using popular music. For example, while listening to Viva La Vida tap the pulse in one hand, tap the ostinato in the other, and sing the song – three-part thinking! Don’t forget to switch hands so that you are using your non-dominant hand for the ostinato as well. She also discussed how to easily get students reading in multiple clefs by using one melody (Ode to Joy, for example) and just erasing the clef and changing the letter names for singing purposes. It was a great session with fresh ideas!
At 9:45am, I attended Nyssa Brown’s session entitled “21st Century Skills: Refining Our Kodaly-Inspired Curriculum for Today.” This session was not your typical Kodaly session because it did not involve singing or dancing, instead, it was more philosophically based. We discussed needing to move from thinking about what teachers do to what students do. It doesn’t matter how well we present a concept if the students still do not understand. We discussed the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating) and also 21st Century Skills and how that applies to literacy. With partners, we talked about what literacy means to us. Answers were shared like independent musicianship; see it, hear it, read it, write it; teaching the language of music; being able to listen, speak, read, and write. Nyssa shared the Minnesota Revised Academic Standards with us that are based on three pillars – CREATE, PERFORM, and RESPOND. These “strands” begin with the building of a basic foundation and then moving outward to creating and performing and then eventually to reflection, feedback, and critique. Her session was very relevant to the changes relating to Common Core and the push for literacy. It was very engaging and informative.
When the lunch break came around, I opted out of going to concerts and went to meet my girls for lunch. We walked to the Corner Bakery and enjoyed some sandwiches, soups, and salads. On my way back to the hotel, I strolled through a beautiful park. I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of scenery!
After lunch it was time for more sessions. I went to Henry Leck’s “Creating Artistry through Visualization.” He was working with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus Concert Choir directed by Ron Carpenter. He was very complimentary of their sound and also the conducting style of the director. It was interesting to watch him use the basic Laban and Dalcroze motions and gestures as he worked with the choir.
Around 2:30, I headed back to my room for a snooze before the General Assembly at 4:00pm. =)
The General Assembly started with the singing of Harmonia Mundi.
After we sang, our own Dr. Joy Nelson called the meeting to order and we were off. There were reports, presentations of awards and scholarships. recognition of retiring board members and incoming new board members, and other news to share. It was exciting for the Southern Division because our own Kevin Pearson received the Jeno Adam scholarship for Kodaly studies, Cecile Johnson (Texas) was awarded the Outstanding Educator Award, and Lamar Robertson was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was AWESOME! However, the meeting ended on a sad note when Georgia Newlin (Past-President) announced the resignation of Joan Dahlin and Randy Dahlin, Administrative Director and Graphic Designer for OAKE. It will be a huge loss for our organization.
At the conclusion of the General Assembly, I went to the Southern Division meeting. It was similar to the General Assembly but it was nice to hear about the other chapters in our division. If you have not heard, OKE has volunteered to host the Southern Division gathering this Fall. It will be on Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 6th. Friday will be Opening Ceremonies and community dancing and Saturday John Feierabend will present an all day session. We are holding the gathering in downtown Oklahoma City in the educational facility at the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial. We are also arranging for dinner cruises through Bricktown on Saturday evening for participants. It promises to be a great time so mark your calendars now!
After the General Assembly, I went to dinner with my students and the other Okies went out for some Greek food. Then it was on to the dessert reception and then to Dr. Nelson’s room for a mini-gathering of Okies and Holy Names graduates. It was definitely a full and satisfying conference day!