Submitted by Ruth Prevette, ECMMA Southeast Regional Representative
Published in ECMMA Perspectives — “Regional Conferences” Issue
Volume 2 Number 4 Fall 2007
The young children rocked from side to side in pairs while singing the song, Listen for Bells, then sat in a circle and echoed the teacher as she sang several tonal patterns. Next they went eagerly to the keyboards to learn the song. The instructor led them through the patterns of the melody using the musical language of solfeggio and gradually each child found the pitches of the song on the keyboard. The delight on their faces as they accomplished this task was incredible! What was even more amazing was that during the class there were about 50 adults seated around the perimeter of the room quietly watching the master teacher at work. The adults were music teachers attending the ECMMA Southeast Regional Conference in Richmond, Virginia, during the summer of 2007. The teachers were observing a demonstration class in a session called , with Jill Hannagan, an early childhood music teacher since 1986 and co-author of , a publication for group piano instruction. At the end of the demonstration class Ms. Hannagan discussed with the teachers how the activities could lead to building musical skills in the future.
In another room at the same conference, preschool classroom teachers were participating in a session led by Lara Davis. Ms. Davis is the founder and owner of Kidstunes, which provides a developmentally appropriate music & movement education program to preschools, daycares, and private schools. The participants in the session Looking Toward the Future Music Makers: At the Keyboard Books that Sing-- Stories that Dance! commented on how inspiring it was to learn new ways to bring stories to life through songs and movement. The activities provided the teachers with hands-on experience and resources to promote creativity, crosscurricular connections, and literacy.
These are just two of the many informational sessions presented during ECMMA regional conferences throughout the country during the year 2007. Each conference generally lasts two days and offers varied sessions with highly qualified presenters in the early childhood music and movement field. The ECMMA also offers international conventions during even numbered years. Some of the topics of the 2006 convention in San Diego included drumming with children, babies and music, the power of play, and movement and the brain/body connection. The convention gave the attendees information about new research in the early childhood field and concrete facts about ways that music and movement can lead to enhanced literacy.
Music teachers often feel isolated as they work in different schools and studios. ECMMA conferences and conventions give them a chance to attend inspiring sessions, network with peers, and bring back exciting new ideas to their music students.As parents and caregivers of these students you can feel confident that your children are in good hands! Your support of early childhood music programs and your children’s joy of music inspire such teachers to continue their quest for knowledge so that everyone benefits.