Inspiring sessions at the Ohio Music Education Association Conference

It was an inspiring weekend at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference this past weekend in Columbus! There were many phenomenal general music clinicians, including some Orff specialists. I have outlined some of the sessions I attended below, as well as some resources they have published that are very helpful in supporting your classroom instruction!


Jill Trinka: The sessions given by Jill were very engaging and thoughtful! The first was a general overview of folk music and the characteristics associated with it. One quote resonated with me from these sessions: “As soon as a folk song is written down, it dies.” In other words, folk songs naturally have different variations! This is an inherent aspect of folk music. If there is one, codified way of singing the song, it isn’t folk music anymore. So the next time you go to a workshop and think, “That’s not how I learned it!” know that your reaction should happen if you are looking at a folk song! Be sure to check out Jill’s four volumes of folk song collections, which give an excellent glimpse into some folk songs that are practical for classroom use.


John Feierabend: Just like Jill’s sessions, these were very engaging and practical for all of us in attendance. The core of John’s belief about musical education in childhood can be summed up in three words: tuneful, beatful, and artful. He especially emphasized the last of these three, saying that we must teach the emotional and expressive elements of music, in addition to the basic rhythmic and melodic elements. John has published a variety of resources that assist in music and movement education. Some of these are handy, small books that are focused on a particular topic, such as circle games and movement exploration. Others offer a more detailed look into other topics and are just as useful. Check them out!


BethAnn Hepburn and Roger Sams: Ohio natives BethAnn and Roger impressed audiences with lessons from their new book, Purposeful Pathways Book 2. These sessions blend the Orff, Kodály, and Dalcroze approaches to classroom music, and incorporate elements of composition and improvisation. Other sessions highlighted lessons from Purposeful Pathways Book 1, which served as the foundation for Book 2. Book 1 is intended for approximately kindergarten through second grade learners, and Book 2 is intended for second through fourth grade learners. In addition, each book has a companion disc with SMART Board Files corresponding with the content of the lessons. These new resources are definitely worth a look!


It was a great conference in Columbus! I hope this post helps readers find some new resources for their classrooms that are both practical and useful!


Stay tuned this week for reports from the Texas Music Education Association Conference in San Antonio!

Justin Caithaml

Justin Caithaml teaches 7-12 Choral Music at Midview Local Schools in Lorain County, Ohio. He completed his Orff-Schulwerk Certification at Baldwin Wallace University, Villanova University, and University of the Arts. Caithaml recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baldwin Wallace University, and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of SMART360, an organization dedicated to strengthening elementary students' reading fluency, social skills, and cultural diversity through a creative musical experience. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

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