AMEA November Newsletter



  • Do anything and everything you can to make yourself a better teacher and musician!
  • Develop and nurture your professional networks
  • Support your Arizona colleagues featured at this year's conference
  • Become INSPIRED
  • You don't want to miss this year's innovative sessions and nationally-recognized clinicians
AMEA has a letter for your ADMINISTRATION justifying the benefits and professional growth opportunities from attending conference.

The AMEA CONFERENCE will be held on January 29 - 30 at the Mesa Marriott Convention Center. Friday and Saturday schedules are available below, subject to change as sessions might be added or moved.

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New feature at this year's conference: OPEN FORUM SESSIONS

OPEN FORUM SESSIONS will feature a panel of experts, but the format will encourage dialogue, participation, and questions from the attendees. A handout with specific ideas, suggestions, and effective strategies for implementation will be provided. Topics include:

Teaching Beyond Your Specialty

With the changing definition of today’s music teacher, you must be prepared to teach outside of your comfort zone. Whether it be orchestra, choir, guitar or media, how do we cope with these expectations? Don’t fear – this open forum session will provide tools for the demands of your job and provide a specific list of resources that you can utilize.

Panelists: Bill Bitter, Chuck Hulihan, Jim DeBusk

Moderator: Antonio Lozano

Boost or Bust: Organizing & Utilizing Your Booster Group

When organized properly, your booster organization can be a huge asset to your success, whether in band, orchestra or choir. This open forum session features two successful Arizona high schools who utilize their parent groups to help boost their success. Specific information will be provided on how to organize your booster parents to lessen your load and empower your program.

Panelists: Renee Shane-Boyd, Kirk Douglas

Moderator: Danny Schmidt

Mentoring Teachers to Mastery

This open forum session will provide tools, advice, and resources for guiding new teachers to success. Beneficial for teachers that are mentoring student teachers or working with new colleagues, the session will also provide new or future teachers with useful and practical information.

Panelists: Ellen Kirkbride, Marg Schmidt, Laura Scholten

Moderator: Lynn Tuttle

New Teachers: Navigating the Way to Success

Geared toward new or future teachers, this open forum session will feature the wealth of knowledge provided by NAfME leadership listed below. The session will provide a specific list of resources for new teachers as well as hands-on advice for success during the critical first few years on the job.

Panelists: Glen Niermann, Dave Fullmer, Ellen Kirkbride, Lynn Tuttle

Moderator: Renee Shane-Boyd

University Night Concert Fri January 29 5:30 - 7:00 pm

You won't want to miss this year’s University Night Concert, featuring all 3 universities presenting a masterwork from each perspective area - choir, band and orchestra. The UA choir will be giving a presentation on “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein, the NAU Wind Symphony will be giving a presentation on Percy Grainger’s “Colonial Song” and its ramifications on “Australian Up-Country Tune” and “Gum-Sucker’s March”, and the ASU Symphony Orchestra will be giving a presentation on Johann Strauss’ “Der Fledermaus”. This will be an incredible educational experience for all members of AMEA, as well as a unique opportunity to hear fine performances of these masterworks.


National Speakers and Clinicians:

  • Soon Hee Newbold will be doing a number of sessions related to string pedagogy and composing and arranging.
  • Randall Standridge will be speaking on many topics that include; “Practical Solutions for the Marching Band,” “Developing the Superior Small Band” and “Simple Solutions with Finale” for the music teacher.

Many of our local music educators are also involved in presenting sessions:

  • Danny Schmidt and Dave Kuhns will continue their discussions on preparing and performing a march
  • Chuck Hulihan will speak on the foundations of teaching guitar (great for band and choir directors who reach guitar as a part of their schedule)
  • Nathan Johnston will present some “Low Brass Techniques"
  • Diane Greiser will be talking strings and the foundations of teaching
  • Jenn Bock will feature a session with her Poston Jr. High School students
  • Dan Swaim talking about string basses and many more.

We are also excited to present six outstanding ensembles in concert that represent some of the finest musical ensembles in Arizona. These include: Fees College Prep Band; Desert Vista Chamber Orchestra; Mountain Ridge High School Jazz I; Highland Jr. High 8th Grade Orchestra; Dobson High School Wind Symphony and the ASU Clarinet Ensemble. These will all be amazing performances that you do not want to miss.

ABODA Conference highlights provided by Bill Humbert


ACE is planning a conference that is sure to appeal to all of our choral communities from elementary/middle school to high school and higher education. If choir is your thing, you will find many sessions that will expand your repertoire, knowledge and stimulate your creative flow!

Our headliners this year are Jefferey Ames and Cristian Grases. Both of these gentlemen will be with us both days of the conference and you will have opportunities to have reading sessions and study sessions with both. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity!

We are also pleased to be host to J. Edmund Hughes and David and Jean Perry as they share new compositions and ideas for your choral programs both young and old! These veteran teachers/composers are a fabulous resource for tried and true literature and methods that really work.

Lastly, it is indeed exciting to be offering sessions this year presented by our friends and colleagues from around the state. Some of our best materials and expertise can be found in our own backyard and this year we will learn ways to incorporate dictation into our classrooms, prepare students for auditions, both for state level honor ensembles and for college, discuss ways to teach to millennium children…and more.

ACE conference highlights provided by Amy Van Winkle


GENERAL MUSIC TEACHERS!! We have a number of great presentations for the 2016 AMEA conference. Are you an instrumental teacher currently teaching general music? We have a session for you! Looking for ideas on developing curriculum and assessments? Come to the conference! Everything from composition tips to notation help; games and movement to improvisation! Presenters this year include: Dr. Evan Tobias, Erik Whitehill, Theresa Hulihan, Amorette Languell, and Doreen Press. Hope to see you there.

AzSGM highlights provided by Anneka Bergstrand


An exciting technology feature at this year's conference will be the Rapid Fire Technology Session, led by Angela Greynolds, which will be a continuous session of numerous 5-minute presenters. Each presenter will showcase a technology integration achievement, with screenshots, photos of students in action, and a URL or QR code to a webpage of additional information.


Lynn Tuttle outlines some outstanding conference session offerings on Arizona's newly adopted music standards:

Standards specific sessions for you!

· Want an overview of the new standards and the process by which they were created? Join us for an overview session during Session 11 of the conference. We will look at the architecture of the new standards, discuss what decisions were made in their creation, and spend some time pondering how the new standards interact with your current music classes or program.

· Want to learn about the new standards and their connection to performing ensembles – band, in particular? Join Theresa Hulihan, one of the writers of the new Music standards for a journey into the performing ensemble standards and how they can be realized in your classroom.

Conference sessions with connections to the new music standards

While the two aforementioned sessions are specific to the standards, many of the sessions offered during this year’s in-service conference have connections or ties to the new music standards. Here are just a few examples:

· Dr. Evan Tobias’ session on Developing and Updating Music Curriculum, part of the AzSGM strand (offered Sessions 3 and 9), will touch briefly on standards and their role in the creation of your music curriculum

· Tim Nowak’s session on Gateways to Improvisation in Orchestra, part of the ABODA strand (offered Session 8), focuses on improvisation for a performing ensemble – part of the Creating section of the new music standards – an area where many of us music educators need additional support as we expand what our students do to include not only performance of music but also the creation of music.

Special Guests from NAFME

Attending this year’s conference will be NAfME President Glenn Nierman, who will also be our keynote speaker, as well as Western Division President David Fullmer. They will be participating in our Hall of Fame luncheon, open forum sessions and collegiate meet and greet.


A good time was had by all at the Collegiate Kick-Off at ASU on Saturday, November 7. About 40 college students registered for the one day collegiate conference. There were many exciting session offerings, and clinicians provided excellent handouts for those in attendance. Special thanks to Mark Nelson for coordinating the event!

AMEA Information

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