Winter 2016

Hello MGMTA members,

With Fall’s many activities, raking leaves, getting lost in corn mazes, and cooking applesauce, the highlight of this season has to be our Montana Music Educators Association conference every October. While the trees now stand bare, my soul is still full with the joy of making music with all of you, as this year’s conference was simply wonderful! I was delighted with Dr. Sylvia Munsen’s use of toys to help children visualize quality choral sound, not to mention keep their attention, and all of the ways she encouraged children to sing expressively and to give their very best. I also appreciated her post-concert self-assessment tools. I found myself using her engaging methods immediately, and I hope you took away some gems to use in your classroom too.

Our in-state presenters were outstanding, as always. Many thanks to Mike Jetty for specifically addressing IEFA in the music classroom. Sarah Burdick and Julie Blakeslee gave us a super session on structuring improvisation to lead students to create their own music. And thanks go out to Carolyn Burns, Brenda Griggs, and Jennifer Murphy for sharing their favorite multi-cultural holiday selections. Much appreciated, ladies!

Of course, we couldn’t do this conference without the on-going help of session presiders, badge checkers, and everyone who just pitches in to help whenever the need arises. Thanks to Dusty Molyneaux and all of the Great Falls staff for providing instruments and being there every time we needed. Everyone’s contributions together add up to a remarkable conference.

Next year we will be in Bozeman, October 18-20, 2017 with headline clinician Kalani Das. Kalani is a world percussion specialist with more than 30 years of professional experience. He is a certified Orff-Schulwerk educator, and a board-certified music therapist, traveling both nationally and internationally, presenting training programs, residencies, and workshops. And he’s coming to Montana!

I am also pleased to announce that our 2018 headline clinician will be Jeremy Dittus. You can learn more about him at Thank you Dorothy, for lining up top-notch presenters for the next two years.

And thanks to Abby Nyhof, the MGMTA website is up and running. You can browse the photos of this year’s conference, read through past articles, and Dr. Munsen’s session notes will be posted through the end of November. Check it out – This is our website, so if you have any ideas of how to improve it, please contact me or Abby. Our goal is to provide member access to conference notes as well as a member directory (coming soon). Finally, we discussed posting substitute plans. We probably each have one tried-and-true substitute plan. If we all posted just one, we’d have a hundred to choose from the next time we wake up in the middle of the night realizing we are not going to make it to school the following day. So I am calling all teachers, young and old, to send in a sub plan that works. You may send it to me or our wonderful webmaster, Abby.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I must take a moment to say how thankful I am for you, for you are the heart of this organization. More importantly, you bring the joy of music to thousands of students every day. I wish you a beautiful and joyous holiday season with friends and family.



Winter 2016
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