Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

2018 - 2020 Board of Directors Nominees

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President: Amy Rucker

BIO: Amy Rucker is from Ohio, where she attended The Ohio State University, earning degrees in Piano Performance and Music Education in choral conducting. During her undergrad, she conducted handbell choirs, children’s choirs, and ensembles. Much of her piano performance degree was focused on accompanying and training as an accompanist-coach. Amy and her husband moved to Dallas, TX, which brought her to SMU’s prestigious Piano Pedagogy and Preparatory Department, where she earned her Masters degree in Piano Pedagogy. It was at SMU that Amy saw the value of early childhood music and movement. After she earned her MM she was hired as adjunct faculty, continuing her work in the pedagogy program for six years. During this time Amy taught Kindermusik for the department and served as the Early Childhood specialist. She was active in KTA, and spoke on the benefits EC Music and Movement to the Dallas chapter of the American Guild of Organists, as well as the role of children’s music in the church for Music in Worship. After leaving SMU to start a family, Amy attended additional Teacher Training under Lorna Heyge, and began teaching Musikgarten in 1996. She founded the Early Childhood Music program at the Arts Academy of Park Cities Presbyterian church, growing the program to include 5 certified teachers and all levels of Musikgarten instruction. Amy and her husband are now back in Ohio with their two children, Elise and Ben. Amy has presented workshops on early childhood music and movement for Musikgarten, TMEA, Detroit Musician’s League, OMEA, and Ohio University. She has had articles published in Clavier Companion and Musikgarten Messenger, and was selected to serve as a National Teacher Trainer for Musikgarten in 2004. Amy joined ECMMA when she began teaching Musikgarten, and became certified in 2006. She belongs to Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity, and Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity.

Statement: I feel ECMMA is moving in a positive direction, finding a niche in bridging research to practice. We are ready to move forward in so many areas, and with a great board we are ready to go. Looking forward to the next two (to four) years!!


Past President: Diana Greene

BIO: Diana is currently the assistant director of Musikgarten’s Music for Learning Program and also maintains a private studio. In addition, Diana performs as a collaborative pianist, appearing regularly with violinist Nicholas Currie and cellist Adam Gonzalez as Trio Giocoso. Diana has taught early childhood music, piano, and choral singing in Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, and New Jersey and also has arts management experience. Diana was one of the founding members of the Greater Washington DC -ECMMA Chapter where she served as Vice-President. Diana holds a BMus. degree from Wheaton College and a MM from the University of North Texas. She has Level II Certification from ECMMA and is certified in all levels of the Musikgarten curriculum. She currently resides in Sparta, NJ with her husband, Allan.

Statement: My vision is that ECMMA should serve as a primary source in providing research, advocacy, professional development, and collaboration opportunities for practitioners, educators, and parents in all aspects of early childhood music and movement. In addition, I hope ECMMA will create a greater national presence, connect practitioners and parents to early childhood music research, and set the standard for expertise in early childhood music and movement, while nurturing and mentoring the next generation of early childhood music and movement educators.


President-Elect / VP Development : Su D’Ambrosio

BIO: Assunta "Su" D'Ambrosio is Director of Programs and Curriculum at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. She holds an MM in clarinet performance from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a BA in Music from Smith College, and Orff Level III certification from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. At South Shore Conservatory, in addition to administrative duties, she is a preschool and kindergarten classroom music specialist. Previously, she taught general and instrumental music in public schools for 17 years as well as private lessons on clarinet. Su has been with South Shore Conservatory since 2003. Su became interested in early childhood education after the birth of her first daughter in 1997. Watching her daughter listen and respond to music made it clear that these early years are a crucial time for exposure to rhythm and tonal patterns as they are the seeds and foundation for understanding music later in life. She lives in Plymouth, MA with her daughters Maria, Rosa, and her dog Bernie who is a puppy at heart.

Statement: I truly believe in the importance of early experiences in the arts, especially music. It is clear that early experiences with excellent teachers foster child development in every way. Through supporting early childhood music and movement educators, ECMMA is contributing to the growth and sustainability of this vital work. There are many organizations that support specific early childhood arts curricula and as an umbrella organization, ECMMA is in a unique position to connect them all, offer opportunities for collaboration between organizations and bring educators together for networking and act as a resource for providing continued, meaningful professional development. ECMMA is also positioned to represent the early childhood music and movement profession nationally and advocate for increased awareness and respect for early childhood music and movement education and all of the benefits for young students.


Secretary: H. Ellie Falter

BIO: H. Ellie Falter has taught early childhood music in varied public and private settings, including preschools, elementary schools, a homeschool co-op, and libraries. Having served students from diverse backgrounds—such as on an American Indian Reservation, in inner city neighborhoods with generational poverty, and in wealthy suburbs—Ellie has internalized that there are many ways to teach music and each student brings interests and competencies which enhance the music learning community. She is committed to learning from her students (young children, college students, and practicing music or generalist teachers) in part by teaching through play. Currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder (completion expected June 2018), she continues to teach music to young children and music teaching methods to their teachers. Her research interests include the music exploring and learning of young children and ways adults perceive and can support this music creation and development. Ellie has presented on early childhood music education at the local, state, national, and international level and published articles in journals such as Perspectives (ECMMA), General Music Today (NAfME), Teaching Young Children (National Association for the Education of Young Children), and Early Years Bulletin (Association for Childhood Education International).

Statement: Humans, I believe, are musical beings, are moving beings. We all deserve and can foster meaningful, empowering music and movement experiences and education. Influenced by my path, I have focused on early childhood and teacher music education, naturally integrating music with other human processes including movement and play. I believe that practitioners and researchers who approach early childhood education from different lenses (e.g., generalists, music specialists, movement specialists) have much to offer and learn from each other. The mission of ECMMA supports development of the profession through collaboration between knowledgeable adults while maintaining a focus on appropriate music and movement experiences for young children that enhance their development.


Treasurer: Christina Svec

BIO: Dr. Christina Svec is currently the Assistant Professor of Music Education at Iowa State University where she teaches courses in elementary and secondary choral music methods. She received her PhD and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music Education degree from Michigan State University. She has also earned three levels of certification in Music Learning Theory and three levels in Kodály.  Before coming to Iowa State and the Ames Children’s Choirs, Dr. Svec taught elementary music for six years and has been involved with early childhood music for nearly fifteen years. She has served as Director of Children’s Music for First United Methodist Church of McKinney, TX and as Director of Music (including Children’s Choirs) for First Presbyterian Church of McKinney, TX. In addition to her music-making and educating, Dr. Svec is a passionate music education researcher. Her research interests include research methodology, research pedagogy, and singing voice development. She has presented papers, research posters, and sessions at conferences locally, nationally, and internationally. Her publications can be found in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education and Psychology of Music.

Statement: I'm passionate about supporting the mission by helping with financial responsibilities.



VP Convention Programming: Mara Culp

BIO: Dr. Mara Culp is an Elementary General Music specialist and Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Eastman School of Music. Prior to her appointment at Eastman, she taught general, choral, and instrumental music to children in elementary, middle, and high school in Michigan for five years. Additionally, she has provided music for pre-kindergarten children and completed Kodály Level I and Music Together teacher training. Her academic and research interests include improving speech and language using music, music education for exceptional learners, interdisciplinary collaboration, elementary general music education, and choral music. She has presented at state, national, and international conferences; and presented as an invited speaker in Communication Sciences and Disorders departments. Her work has been published in The Orff Echo, Choral Journal, Journal of Research in Music Education, and General Music Today; and featured on NAfME's Music in a Minuet blog.

Statement: I would like to help organize and program the 2020 convention. For many years, communication and identity have been at the core of my work. I believe connecting with others and developing knowledge about oneself are crucial elements of the human experience. I am interested in how musical experiences assist in communication and the development of self-knowledge; and how communication and one's identity may affect one's music-making. If I were to assist with the organization of the convention, I would hope to highlight communication and identity development among young children. I would hope to illuminate ways in which children communicate through music, how communication influences music-making, how musical experiences influence identity development, and how identity influences music-making.


VP Convention Site: Karen Salvador

BIO: Karen Salvador is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan-Flint, where she coordinates the Music Teacher’s Certificate Program and teaches early childhood music at the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center. Dr. Salvador previously taught elementary general music in Eaton Rapids, MI, choir and drama in Palmerston North, New Zealand, early childhood music at the Michigan State University Community Music School, and worked as school program director for the North American Choral Company in Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Salvador’s research pertains to equity and inclusion in music education, examining the intersections of instructional practices, music teacher education, and educational policy. Dr. Salvador enjoys presenting workshops for practicing teachers, and her research appears in journals including Journal of Research in Music Education, Arts Education Policy Review, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and Music Educators Journal. Dr. Salvador contributed guiding principles and strategies regarding inclusive practices to the forthcoming new edition of Music Play. She is a past facilitator for the Society for Music Teacher Education’s Area for Strategic Planning and Action on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, and is current President of the Michigan Music Education Association.

Statement: Although my research interests in inclusive practice and music teacher education may have overshadowed this on my CV and bio, I am at heart an elementary specialist, and I lean toward early childhood practice both because k-2 were my favorite grades to teach and also because teaching 3-4 year olds at our early childhood center is where I continue my teaching practice (outside of teaching university coursework). I believe that every child is entitled to a music education that meets their needs, and I am interested not only in continuing to research, write, and present about early childhood/elementary music educational practices, but also in learning from others. It seems to me that ECMMA is a good community in which to pursue research, presentation, and continued learning. Moreover, I am interested in policy aspects of early childhood music. For example, in MI, we may be switching to a PK-12 music cert, and I am interested in the ramifications of this change for music teacher education programs--many of which do not require elementary methods for all students, let alone address EC methods. Finally, I'd like to help advocate, spreading ECMMA's current message that appropriate early music and movement experiences are important for every child, and also promoting the ways early childhood practices and ways of thinking can be informative for our grades 4-12 colleagues.


VP Director of Publications: Diana Dansereau

BIO: Diana R. Dansereau is Assistant Professor of Music, Music Education at Boston University where she teaches elementary methods to undergraduate students, and graduate courses in early childhood music education, the psychology and sociology of music teaching and learning, and quantitative research in music education.  Dr. Dansereau is Chair of the National Association for Music Education’s Early Childhood Music Special Research Interest Group, Vice President of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association (ECMMA), and Editorial Chair for ECMMA’s journal Perspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association. She is co-editor of the forthcoming Pluralism in Music Education Research: A Collection of Essays and Narratives (Springer, 2018), is a contributing author to the book Learning from Young Children: Research in Early Childhood Music, a contributor to Tips: The Child Voice, and has been published in conference proceedings and journals, which include Psychology of Music, Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Community Music, The Music Educators Journal, Perspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association, and Massachusetts Music News.

Statement: I see ECMMA as a key professional organization for early childhood music and movement educators and researchers. It is uniquely positioned to bring together and serve all parties who value early childhood music education and foster the sharing of resources and ideas. ECMMA may also serve as an advocacy body for the improvement and growth of music education opportunities for very young children.


VP Membership: Erika Cincotta         

BIO: Erika Cincotta lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and three children. During her college years, she traveled around the country performing with the Tamburitzans, an Eastern European folk ensemble. Erika began teaching early childhood music at the Peabody Preparatory in Baltimore where she used a variety of curricula including Kindermusik®, Musikgarten®, and Sally’s Music Circle®. She became a licensed Music Together® teacher in 2004 and directed a center in Baltimore before moving to Colorado Springs where she continued teaching at a local Music Together center. Erika currently works as the Early Language and Literacy Specialist at Alliance for Kids, El Paso County's Early Childhood Council, where she trains parents and early childhood professionals how to incorporate music learning and literacy into the lives of young children. In addition to her most important jobs as wife and mother, she has taught private flute and voice, performed with community choirs and church praise teams, and taught early childhood music in private schools. Erika also enjoys running, hiking, skiing and folk dancing. She has a B.S. in Music Therapy from Duquesne University.

Statement: I support ECMMA's mission to provide resources and valuable professional development opportunities for early childhood music and movement professionals, and to promote collaboration and cooperation among those professionals so that they can empower all early care providers with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to support and improve the music development of young children.


VP Social Media: Ruthie Miltenberger

BIO: Ruthie Miltenberger, Manager of Family Programs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, fell in love with classical music at the age of 7 when her mother first introduced her to the flute. Having grown up in a home where a love of music was nurtured and cultivated, she understands how vital it is that we continue to create inviting and engaging opportunities where children and families can explore their own curiosity and creativity through the art of music. Ruthie earned her B.M. in Flute Performance from West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV), and her M.M. in Flute Performance from DePaul University (Chicago, IL). She was a Donald Peck Endowed Scholar at DePaul University, and a Presser Scholar at West Virginia University. She is Chicago Flute Club Young Artist grand prize winner (2007), a two-time grand prize winner of the WVUSO Young Artist competition (2007, 2009) and has performed professionally with orchestras including the Kansas City Symphony (Kansas City, MO) and the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra (Chicago, IL). In January 2018, she joined the faculty of Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia teaching courses in Music and Humanities.

Statement: My passion in life is to share my love of music and music making with as many people as I can -- in particular children. I fell in love with music as a child and it has completely changed the trajectory of my life. The mission of the ECMMA to connect music & movement in the lives of children and young minds is in completely alignment with my personal passions.

VP Professional Advancement: Kerry B. Renzoni

BIO: Kerry B. Renzoni is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education at SUNY Buffalo State. She is also founder and director of the Early Childhood Music and Movement program for the Buffalo State Community Arts Academy. Prior to her work at Buffalo State, Kerry taught pre-k through fifth grade classroom music in which she prioritized creativity and improvisation in the music curricula. Additionally, she has served as Lead Teacher for the Early Childhood Music Foundations program at Temple University and has taught through the Early Childhood Music program at the Eastman Community Music School. Kerry is an active researcher, conference presenter, and clinician at the state, national, and international levels. Her research interests include the role of environment in music learning, creativity, improvisation, and music literacy in early childhood and elementary music settings. She has worked with early childhood music teachers in Italy, Brazil, and China.

Statement: I believe it is paramount for early childhood music practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders to stay in frequent dialogue with each other. This organization provides a needed platform for that.

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