Nova Scotia Music Educators Association

Music Makers & Agents of Change



When: Friday, Oct. 27, 2017
Where: Auburn Drive High School
300 Auburn Drive
(see map below)
Contact: Donalda Westcott / Keli Brewer
Click to email


Click on the map to access directions:

Conference Fees

Conference Fee $100.00
Retirees / Substitutes $50.00
Students $45.00

As per NSTU Operational Procedure 14(e)(iii): receipts of payment and attendance will not be distributed until the conference has concluded.


Double Tree Hotel
101 Wyse Road
Dartmouth, N.S.  902-463-1100 (block code MEA of NS Music Educators)

Rate:  $129.00 plus tax (deadline September 26, 2017)


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Trivia Night & Social at the Hotel at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, October 27, 2017

8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Registration
8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Keynote / Presentation of Awards (Session A)
9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Morning Break
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Session B
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Session C
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Session D
3:00 p.m. Registration Receipt Pick-up


Session A:  8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Keynote Address:  Coco Love Alcorn

Session B:  10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

B1 Beginner Band, Getting the Ball Rolling
Joe Cormier

Setting up of a first year/beginner band program including practical information on administrative, Instructional and student needs. Practical advice and strategies moving forward.

B2  Instrumental Music on the Brain
Pam Paddock

Music should be learned first and foremost for the sake of music.  However, as music educators, we see many spin-off benefits for our students because they are a part of an instrumental ensemble.  In this session, we will look at the science behind how the brain is affected both physically and cognitively over time due to instrumental music training.

B3   Curriculum Sharing Session : Instrumental Music grade 6-12
Dina Burtt

Come to Conference 2017 and leave with lessons and ideas from your colleagues. Dina will facilitate a session that will share ideas for lesson plans, contemporary curriculum and techniques for your classes that are being used in band rooms across our province.  All lessons will be uploaded to a Google classroom for you to access.  Please come with a tried and true curriculum gem you are willing to share!

B4  True Colour Your Students
Debbie McIsaac

Understanding the distinctive ways in which different personalities approach communication is key to successful relationships. Recognizing and appreciating different personality styles will help the teacher understand both their own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their students. Discover which of the four colors is your True Colour and how it relates to your students and others.  

B5  Music from my desk to yours
Donna Rhodenizer

Donna Rhodenizer has written many original songs as a result of her experience delivering her elementary school music program for over 30 years. She has composed many new songs since her last published song collection in 2011. In this session, she will share new songs that work well for classroom singers and choir members at the elementary level. Repertoire includes French songs, songs to support curriculum delivery, concert material, songs for fun and songs for serious. Come sing about giants, snakes that tango, complain about laundry chores, and sing snow songs! No shovel required.

B6   A Musical Smorgasbord of Movement and Manipulatives
Maureen MacMullin

In this session, you will participate in activities that will get you moving and interacting with each other. Dollar Store, Value Village and other inexpensive treasures make great manipulatives and these hands-on items make reinforcing concepts lots of fun!

B7  Ukelele and the Classroom Music  Teacher : accompanying your students and enriching your everyday curriculum with your ukelele
Suzanne Doane

This session will explore using the ukulele as a tool to aid to curriculum delivery. With it's soft strumming and picking sound, rhythmic strumming, and limitless skill possibilities it is the perfect tool to give students a solid, but not overwhelming, accompaniment guide as they sing every day with you in the classroom. We will look at different ideas for songs and games.  These are all ideas that are currently in use and will give you materials as well as ideas of how to try something new once you're back to school with the songs you already use and love.

B8   Become The Guitar
Ken Davidson

Become The Guitar (BTG) is thoughtfully designed to improve skills and build repertoire in little time. It works by using innovative methods that bring existing musical knowledge and experience into the process of better understanding the guitar.  Students will work through a spectrum of tonal qualities while using just one and two notes, triads, and added bass lines to provide interesting rhythm accompaniment and chord melodies. Campfire chords and strumming? Sure! But taken much, much further. Simplicity is key! Too often guitar players struggle with bar chords and awkward chord formations. And the overuse of common chord forms is all too common as singers hide from chords with threatening names. BTG makes it easy to overcome these issues and will serve as an aid to students studying at any degree-granting institution as well as those teachers, caregivers, and music therapists already in the workplace.

B9   Cultural Bootcamp: African Nova Scotian Culture Understanding Diversity
Presenter: TBD
Description: TBD

B10   Cultural Bootcamp: African Nova Scotian Culture: Integrating culture
Maritime Center for African Dance Inc.

African culture and history as it applies to the instruments

B11    Artful Technology Integration
Kay Greene

Sometimes in the arts, it might feel as if ‘technology integration’ is not a topic we need to be overly concerned with. We use our ‘technology’ in the instruments we play, and perhaps a music notation program. Nobody needs to integrate technology just for the sake of “Technology Integration”, right? I agree! And at the same time, I always want to make effective use of my time with my students, so will seek out ways to use technology to that end. This session will show how Google products, including the New Google Sites and Google Classroom, can become an effective, efficient daily part of your music class, whether you are a private teacher or an elementary, secondary, or even post-secondary educator.

B12  Branding & Strengthening Your Program (Advocacy)
Colin Bush

Raising the profile of your music program by creating a brand and making your product more visible in your school and your community.  We can even extend this to the province.  This type of advocacy will strengthen the arts in our schools. There are a number of things you can do that are cheap and easy, as well as higher impact items that may take a little more effort.

B13  Round table discussion for music and education students.
Shannon Young & Jillian MacNutt

Round Table Discussion with a panel of current NS teachers (including elementary, high school, band & choral) available for discussion of a variety of topics. All university music education students welcome.

Session C:  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

C1   More than just Band…all the other stuff
Joe Cormier        

Setting up Band Parent Associations/ Parent Support Groups  and setting up Band Trips/Bus trips/ Festivals/ Concert Tours with emphasis on forming effective Chaperone groups. Dos and don'ts...

C2    Fun warm ups for drummers that develop snare skills
Meg Ferguson

Let’s play! Some tips and tricks of the drumming trade.  We will review some fundamentals that will help your drummers and percussionists become more proficient players, produce a more even tone and have fun warming up! Warm up handouts will be provided for your unlimited use and we may have time to demystify the drum roll while we are at it!  

C3     Care & Feeding of your Low Brass Section      
Steve Butterworth         

Steve will share ideas and tips on recruiting more low brass players into your band program and encouraging their development.  Bring an instrument (trombone, baritone, euphonium, or tuba) and enjoy a hands on session and participate in some best practices in teaching low brass and promoting its importance in a solid band sound.

C4   The Well Balanced Teacher
Debbie McIsaac

Challenged with an increasingly complicated and sometimes overwhelming career, teachers can end up in one of two places.  Some overwork themselves while others may disconnect.  This workshop looks at some of the main struggles we face when attempting to stay healthy, balanced and engaged and how to reach a happy medium.

C5     How to Turn any group into a Beautiful Chorus
Tina Gallant

When you open your music room door to anyone with a love of music to sing, whether it be for your choir, ensemble, vocals class or musical, we often get a few singers and a lot of students who like to sing but maybe have difficulty matching pitch, singing in tune, singing harmonies and blending.  This clinic is going to give some solutions to these challenges and give you some tools to take back to your group.  This session is for any grade level but the focus will be on junior and senior high school.

C6   Incorporating Mi’kmaq culture into elementary music lessons
Denise Wilson

I know from being a music teacher and from talking with music teachers that we are excited at the idea of incorporating more Mi’kmaq culture into our music lessons.  The challenge then becomes, how?  I would like to share with you a few ways that I’ve done this.  We will look at books published by local Mi’kmaq authors and explore ways to create soundscapes, movement, student composition, singing and instrument performance with these books.  You will leave with ready-to-use ideas for your music lessons, which, if you’re anything like me, is exactly what you love to find.  Participants are encouraged to bring the Mi’kmaq drum from your school.   

C7  Cultural Bootcamp: African Nova Scotian Culture: Incorporating Music Discipline in Classes
Presenter: TBD

Incorporating Music Discipline in Classes as it impacts performance, confidence and ability to progress.

C8  Cultural Bootcamp: African Nova Scotian Culture The Why’s & The How’s
Ian David

Description:        TBD

C9      Accordian Art (Book Making)
Catherine Thompson

An accordion book is a fun, creative and colourful, yet ideal, way to display poetry, portfolios, musical experiences, listening logs with your classes of all ages.  Join us while we make our own accordion book.  Materials supplied, just bring your crafty/artsy nature to create your own.  There are endless possibilities for use of this artistic creation.

C10  Keep it Simple Brass
Greg Irvine

When working with young brass players it is important to communicate clearly and to give your students a good concept of what they should sound like.  Modelling is very important but if you aren’t able to demonstrate what good brass playing sounds like yourself use recordings, or bring in good models, if practical.  In this clinic, the presenter will demonstrate, and use good recordings as models of good brass playing, combined with a discussion about Arnold Jacobs’ simple approach to brass performance of “Song and Wind.”  This simple approach will result in your brass players being able to play their instruments successfully, and musically, without being tied up in knots from over-thinking.

C11  Creating a Culture of Excellence (Advocacy)
Colin Bush

Establishing norms and core values within your program will hook students, raise the quality of your product, instill pride and succession planning.  How to foster buy-in to your program, develop internal leadership and how to avoid being a “one-year-wonder”.  The goal is to grow and strengthen your program so that it becomes self-sustaining through a “champion” attitude and culture.

C12      Moved to sing: using Dalcroze Pedagogy to Develop Vocal Skills
Claire Mallin


C13   How to Makey Makey (etc) in the Music Room
Roy Francis

This will be a hands on session! In this session participants will gain experience using a makey makey. They will learn how to connect and create a circuit using the makey makey and explore different ways it can be used in a music environment. We will also explore larger scale musical installations that students can create with the makey makey, a computer, coding and some everyday objects!  No experience required.  Participants will receive project ideas, instructions and links to resources.

Session D:  1:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m.

D1 Title: TBD
Presenter: Coco Love Alcorn

Description: TBD

D2    Shaping Creative Flow: SoundPainting as a Catalyst for Creativity
Mark Hopkins

This session aims to suggest ways that SoundPainting, (a method to shape improvisation within ensembles, and organize musicians to solo or accompany in real time) can help organize ensembles of 5-100 musicians to improvise coherent and meaningful compositions. SoundPainting allows a leader (aka, “SoundPainter”) to shape live improvisation, resulting in a cohesive, finished composition. Likewise, SoundPainting opens up a world of collaboration and deep-listening, cooperative ensemble skills, which are as meaningful in a traditional band or orchestra as they are in an improvised ensemble. SoundPainting also provides an excellent vehicle for the introduction of improvised musical activities in school settings. A music educator with SoundPainting skills can lend structure to the improvised ensemble, assuring that meaningful, organized, and fully inclusive improvisations can occur.

D3  Infusing Composition and Encouraging Creativity
Dina Burtt

How can we provide creative opportunities for our musicians in classes and rehearsals?  By examining and focusing on the concepts in our curriculum and repertoire we can include composition and originality every day.   Dina will share  composition activities you can use with your students as well as demonstrate how to include student creativity in your music room.

D4   Find your Inner Composer
Ridley Vinson

Many teachers have their students compose, but how many write their own music for their classes or choirs to use? It can be difficult to find the time to create one’s own work when it can be easier to purchase a resource with a variety of songs.  This is a creative, interactive workshop where teachers can find their inner composer, where you can practice writing within the session with the goal of creating a song draft that can be used the next working day for your class using the new curriculum indicators.  There will be an opportunity to discuss creativity and motivation issues, experiment with ways to get ideas flowing, and find out what challenges students may face through facing your own.  Let your own creativity bloom and it will in turn transfer to your students! Teachers are encouraged to bring their own iPads.

D5  Will the Circle be Unbroken?    
James Jackson

The circle has long been a powerful symbol within society. There is the circle of life, the healing circle, the family circle, the cycle of the seasons and of course the circle as a symbol for perpetual change, just to name a few. Musically we have the circle of fifths, drum circles, circle games and dances, rounds, singing circles. James, fresh off of his yearlong studies at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, will take you through a series of circle experiences. Using song, movement and mallet instruments and utilizing improvisation, creativity and international musical material, come join us as we jump into the circle.

D6  Kitchen Party
Greg Daniels

Bring an instrument (preferably acoustic) and a song to share - or just an instrument to participate - in this East Coast Kitchen Party-style jam session. This is a collaborative opportunity to informally enjoy and share musical knowledge with colleagues. Perhaps even something to try out at your school to promote East Coast Music.

D7   Cutural Bootcamp: African Nova Scotian Culture Marimba Music Maker
Maritime Centre for African Dance Inc

Let’s travel to South Africa. MARIMBA (Xylophone) learning a piece of traditional music from Southern African and playing it on that instrument, historical component and its use not just in a band but on its own (We could do that in the making music part) We would like to particularly focus on this instrument as most teachers use it in a cultural context.

D8  Spirit of West Africa!
Chris Kennedy

We will discover & explore the instruments of West Africa focussing on technique, history, and traditional rhythms. Our outcome is to learn a  traditional, authentic, rhythm that can be taught to students of all abilities in a classroom setting.

D9   Get Your Paint On!
Elizabeth Burtt

During this session, participants will create a painting using acrylics and canvas, step by step instruction will be given by the instructor. Though we will all be working on the same basic painting, participants can put their own creative touches on the work, making it unique. All supplies will be provided, and no experience is necessary (Limit 12 Particiapnts)

D10   Using Movement to Enhance Audiation & Rhythmic Skills in the Classroom
Claire Mallin


D11   MakerSpace Workshop
Roy Francis

This will be a hands on session! In this session participants will be given the opportunity to explore sound and music through the maker movement.  In addition to a presentation and discussion participants will be given time to explore and create using Spheros, makey makey, korg synth littlebits, Compose Yourself, Lego Mindstorm EV3 as well as some low tech music experiments.  Participants will receive a list of all tools in the makerspace as well as project ideas and links to resources.  No experience is required.  Bring your sense of imagination and get ready to make and create!

Registration will be online only.

While we encourage members to have an NSTU web account, one is NOT REQUIRED to register for a conference.
You may register utilizing any email account.

To register for the NSMEA conference CLICK HERE.

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