NWA Teach Music Conference

 NWA Teach Music Conference

FRI April 13 - SAT April 14, 2018

Featured Presenters: Alice Hammel, Nathan Olson, Kelly Pope, Christy Paxton with UAMusic Faculty and special guest Denese Odegaard - President of the National Association for Music Education.

The event is FREE for all attendees, students and professionals, but registration is required.

9.5 hours of Arkansas Department of Education professional development credit.

Register for the 2018 NWA Teach Music Conference


All events in Lewis E. Epley Band Building, unless otherwise noted

FRIDAY - April 13

5:00 - 5:45 PM Registration

6:00 PM Creating Conscious Choral Cultures - Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy (Janzen Hall)

7:15 PM Concurrent Sessions

  • Alexander Technique for Musicians - Professor Kate Frank (Janzen Hall)
  • Brass Instrument Repair - Palen Music Center (Worthington Hall)
  • Woodwind Instrument Repair - Palen Music Center (MUSC 115)
  • String Instrument Repair - Palmer Violin Shop (Band Library)
  • Percussion Instrument Repair - Professor Chal Ragsdale (Percussion Studio Room, Band 118)

8:30 - 9:30 PM 'Ukulele Jam - Paige Quinn and Kelly Sharpe (Janzen Hall)

  • Bring your 'uke and jam to top 40 hits throughout the decades!



SATURDAY - April 14

8:00 - 8:30 AM Registration

8:30 - 11:00 AM

  • Teaching Music to Children with Special Needs - Alice Hammel (Janzen Hall)

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Lunch on your own

12:15 - 1:15 PM Concurrent Sessions

  • Teaching Junior High Boys and Choir - Nathan Olson
  • Music Education and Diversity - Dr. Jeffrey Murdock (Janzen Hall)

1:30 - 2:30 PM Concurrent Sessions

  • Transition Activities in the Elementary Music Classroom - Kelly Pope (Janzen Hall)
  • Operating a Private Music Studio - Christy Paxton (Band Library)
  • Maximizing Rehearsal Efficiency - Dr. Stephen Caldwell (Worthington Hall)

2:45 - 3:30 PM

  • Examining Your First Job Through the Lens of Preparation and Interview - Denese Odegaard (Janzen Hall)

3:30 - 4:15 PM

  • Advocacy: Working with Administrators - Denese Odegaard (Janzen Hall)

4:15 PM Closing Remarks


Alice Hammel is a widely known music educator, author, and clinician whose experience in music is extraordinarily diverse. She teaches for James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth Universities in the areas of music education and music theory respectively, and has many years of experience teaching both instrumental and choral music in public and private schools. She has maintained a large, independent flute studio for over 20 years. Most recently, Dr. Hammel is also the Autism Spectrum Disorder Music Intervention Specialist for ASSET (Autism Spectrum Support, Education and Training), a division of Virginia Youth and Family Services.

Dr. Hammel has put these varied experiences to great use while compiling a large body of scholarly work. Dr. Hammel is a co-author for two texts: Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach, and Teaching Music to Students with Autism, available through Oxford University Press. A new resource, Winding It Back: Teaching to Individual Differences in Music Classroom and Ensemble Settings, will be released in 2015. Dr. Hammel has contributed chapters to several other Oxford University Press resources including Composing our Future (edited by Kaschub and Smith). Dr. Hammel is a contributing author to a variety of resources available through the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and has published widely in music, arts, special, and general education journals.

Dr. Hammel has been affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts for several years and has presented multiple workshops for arts educators and arts administrators through this association. She has been a Thought Leader for the Kennedy Center National Forum: Examining the Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education since 2012, and serves on the planning committee for their annual national conference. Dr. Hammel serves in many concurrent state and national professional leadership positions, including as the chair of the Students with Special Needs section of the Virginia Music Educators Association, and is a multiple award recipient honoring her commitment to music education and music teacher education.

Denese Odegaard, National Association for Music Education (NAfME) President (2016-2018), is currently the Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist, and has taught orchestra for 33 years.  National service includes board member on both the American String Teachers Association Board (ASTA) and the NAfME Board. While on the ASTA Board, she was chair of the Committee on School Orchestra and Strings and received the ASTA Citation for Leadership twice. She was a member of the NCCAS 3rd-5th Grade Writing Team as the Research Advisory.

Odegaard authored Curriculum Writing 101: Assistance with Standards-based Music Curriculum and Assessment Writing for Band, Choir, Orchestra and General Music (GIA), co-authored the ASTA Curriculum (Alfred) and e-Book, ASTA String Curriculum: Assessment Companion, and has contributed to several GIA, NAfME, ASTA, Alfred, FJH, and Corwin publications. 

Dr. Stephen Caldwell has received critical acclaim as a singer, conductor, and composer alike, and appears regularly in concert, recital, and stage performances throughout the country and abroad. He is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Arkansas where he oversees a thriving choral program of six ensembles and five graduate conductors. He conducts the nationally renowned Schola Cantorum and 70-voice Women’s Chorus. Under his direction, the Schola Cantorum has appeared at the 2015 Arkansas All-State Music Conference, the 2016 SWACDA conference, and has tour internationally to Puerto Rico, Belgium and Germany.

He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in conducting and literature, and is the primary instructor and advisor for graduate students pursuing the MM in Choral Conducting. A former high school music educator, he often serves as a vocal and pedagogical consultant for choral programs at many public schools, and has adjudicated choral festivals and conducted honor choirs at all levels. He has prepared choirs for many leading conductors and ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Arkansas Philharmonic, and the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He has presented sessions at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization and is an active member of both service communities. Upcoming fall engagements include conducting the 2016 Arkansas Region 2 and Region 5 high school mixed choirs, and festival choirs in Greenwood, AR, and Broken Arrow, OK.

He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado, two Master of Music Degrees in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Temple University, a French Language Certification from the University of Paris – Sorbonne, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University.

Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy is a Maryland native who hails most recently from Tallahassee, Florida. A proud Seminole, she completed her doctoral studies in choral music education/choral conducting at The Florida State University, with Drs. André Thomas, Kevin Fenton, Judy Bowers and Clifford K. Madsen. Dr. van der Vat-Chromy also served as vocal music director at Tallahassee Community College, conducting the seventy-voice Tallahassee Civic Chorale and the TCC Select Ensemble Illuminare. Formerly on the music staff of The International School of Brussels, Belgium, Jo-Anne most recently served as the Vocal Music Director at the American School of The Hague, in The Netherlands. Her work at ASH included directing six choirs and co-directing two concert bands, as well as teaching Rock Music History, Musical Theatre and directing the fifty-five-voice ASH Community Choir. Jo-Anne was also the founder/music director of Het Davidkoor, a subsidized thirty voice Dutch women’s choir who, for over eighteen years, has focused on the integration of choral music and holistic music making. In addition to her doctoral degree in Music Education/Choral Conducting from Florida State, Dr. van der Vat-Chromy holds Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan, a MM in Horn Performance from Bowling Green State University, and BA in Music from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her research interests include the kinesthetic connections in conducting pedagogy, choral acoustic music measurement, curriculum/assessment strategies for middle and high school choirs, and the sociological impact of choral cultures on student learning. As Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University, Dr. van der Vat-Chromy directs the Madison Singers, the JMU Chorale and the University Women’s Chorus. Her academic responsibilities include graduate thesis supervision, undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, high school choral methods, and student teacher supervision. “Dr. V.” is also a delighted member of the JMU Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence, where her work is coordinating musical activities and embedded choral teaching opportunities into Gandhi Center programs for global non-violence, peace and consciousness. Dr. V has served from 2012-2014 as Interim Music Director for the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir, is currently director and guest conductor of the JMU Vocal Arts Summer Camp, and serves as Virginia co-chair of the KEEP SINGING PROJECT, (www.keepsinging.info), a nationwide online networking initiative dedicated to assisting high school senior singers in continuing their passion for choral singing into their collegiate careers, regardless of their chosen major area of study.
Kate Frank was a guest director for the Opera Theatre Program at the University of Arkansas Music Department, directing the children's opera, Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck. She also staged Much Ado About Nothing at Northwest Arkansas Community College. As part of the New Play Festival at the U of A, she recently directed Sinclair, an original adaptation ofTartuffe, by MFA playwright Chris Martin. Future directing work includes The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Charlotte's Web, both to be produced by the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith in collaboration with the Academy of the Arts.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock is internationally known as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. He currently serves as Associate Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas where he conducts the Inspirational Chorale, the Men’s Chorus, and teaches courses within the choral music education curriculum. He is a 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Murdock’s research interests include cultural hegemony in choral music education, social justice in music education, culturally responsive pedagogy in music education, and music in urban schools. He has presented at the National Research Conference for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) as well as the World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) – Glasgow, U.K. Dr. Murdock is also a frequent research presenter at local and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) where he serves on the national committee for diversity initiatives, and as chair of student activities for the state of Arkansas.

Dr. Murdock holds both Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Conducting degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education from the University of Memphis. In addition to NAfME and ACDA, his professional memberships include the ASCAP and the National Collegiate Choral Organization

(NCCO). He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Dr. Christopher Knighten is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music in the University of Arkansas Department of Music. His duties include conducting the Wind Ensemble, leading the graduate instrumental conducting program, teaching conducting and band literature courses, and overseeing all aspects of the band program. Under his direction the University of Arkansas Wind Ensemble performed at College Band Directors National Association divisional conferences in Fayetteville, AR in 2014 (as hosts), in Boulder, CO in 2016, and at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX in March, 2015. In his previous role as Director of Athletic Bands the Razorback Marching Band grew to more than 350 members and performed at the FedEx Liberty Bowl, BCS Sugar Bowl, and AT&T Cotton Bowl. He has also served on the faculties at East Carolina University and Baylor University and taught instrumental music at Richland High School in North Richland Hills, TX.

Dr. Knighten has presented sessions on band literature and pedagogy at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the College Band Directors National Association Conference, the Music Educators National Conference, and the North Carolina and Tennessee Music Educators conferences. His articles on conducting and band literature have been published in The Instrumentalist, The Journal of Band Research, The North Carolina Music Educator, Today’s Music Educator, and in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the SEC Band Directors Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Kappa Kappa Psi National Band fraternity, and the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Dr. Knighten holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting and the Master of Music Degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Baylor University. His primary conducting teachers were Michael Haithcock and Allan McMurray.

Nathan Olson is the Assistant Choir Director at Lakeside Jr. High School in Springdale Public Schools. He holds a bachelor’s in music education degree from the University of Arkansas.

Christy Paxton is the Director of NWA Suzuki School of Music and the Ozark Suzuki Institute, Christy Paxton is an active Suzuki teacher and performer. Formerly of Joplin, MO, she studied Suzuki violin from the age of 5. She brings over 25 years of teaching experience and extensive training to Bentonville as an advocate of the Suzuki Method. Her training includes work with Suzuki Trainers such as Alice Joy Lewis, Ronda Cole, Ed Kreitman, Carol Dallinger, Cathryn Lee, Tom Wermuth, Linda Case, Barbara Barber, Susan Kempter, Teri Einfeldt, Brian Lewis, Gabe Bolkosky, and many others. She started the NWA Suzuki School of Music in January of 2013, where she maintains a high standard of excellence in private teaching, trains parents to be involved, and provides stimulating and motivation-building group classes and performance opportunities for her students. She currently teaches over 40 students, and is very excited to see the Suzuki Method growing in the NWA region.

She also finds time to be a symphony and solo performer, chamber musician, and director. In 2008, she founded and directed The Youth Orchestra of the 4 States, which allowed students

throughout the region to perform in a beginner-level group as well as a full concert orchestra of advanced students. She performs regularly with the Fort Smith Symphony, the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA), the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. She was selected by the SAA (Suzuki Association of the Americas) to participate in the Parents as Partners program in 2015 as a contributor. Her Parent Training program is one of the reasons for the success of the Suzuki programs. Her students have taken top chairs in All-Region and All-State Orchestras for the last 5 years since moving to Arkansas. Others have won competitions and have performed with several area symphonies. She is an amazing mother to 4 children, who think that she rocks.

Kelly Pope teaches elementary general music at RE Baker Elementary School in Bentonville Public Schools. She holds a bachelor’s in music education degree from the University of Arkansas.

For more information contact Dr. Daniel Abrahams.