Music Sessions

The music component encompasses the broad spectrum of choral, instrumental, and general music.  Clinicians from around the country use their expertise to help participants enhance their skills and renew their enthusiasm for teaching.  In addition to the music sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2021 Tennessee Arts Academy.


Elementary/Lower Middle Music

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.

Sing, Say, Dance, and Play: Create in a Responsive Way

Instructor: Manju Durairaj

In this workshop, participants will explore activities based on movement, body percussion, songs, chants, and games. Children’s literature will also be used, along with multicultural music and dance, to help students create, improvise, and compose. The workshop will help teachers learn to design activities that enable their students to collaborate and create together, using protocols defined for responsive classrooms. Because the nature of instruction may involve virtual, hybrid, or socially distanced in-person instruction, all activities will be adapted for various teaching scenarios. Simple apps and virtual instruments that lend themselves to creative music making will be integrated when possible.

Teaching with Love and Grace

Instructor: Natasha Thurmon

More than ever, there is a need for teachers and students to infuse love, grace, and patience into their classrooms. Just like many other aspects of teaching, this takes time, planning, and practice. In this session, practical strategies and approaches for achieving this will be explored—especially in relation to the elementary music classroom.


Upper Middle/Secondary Music

Participants will follow either the vocal or instrumental track and attend two of the three classes listed below each day.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Let Them Choose!

Instructor: Ann Clements

These sessions will explore ways that music teachers and their students can take risks and learn alongside one another. By focusing on world music, popular music, and gaming, attendees will leave these sessions with skills and strategies they can immediately use in their curricula and instruction.

Toward Becoming a Complete Conductor: Synthesizing Deep Preparation; Clear Communication; and Fluid, Dynamic Rehearsal Technique

Instructor: Gary Hill

Becoming a complete conductor is a lifelong journey, comprising numerous essential skills that must be acquired and developed over many years. Deep score preparation is a multifaceted and continuously integrated process, with each area providing feedback to the others. These areas include historical and theoretical considerations; performance priorities; performance problems and solutions; rehearsal planning; and realizing, internalizing, and somatically expressing a sonic model. Clear communication is a critical factor in the achievement of consistent success rather than random results. In this session, many components of rehearsal technique will be discussed, including the use of level-based organizational and sequential models; how deliberate practice can improve results; how to create customized, context-specific etudes; and the ways discoveries from neuroscience and associated fields can help foster engagement within ensemble rehearsals.

It’s All in A Year’s Work: Practical and Purposeful Strategies for the Choral Classroom

Instructor: Victor Johnson

Effective teaching happens when the teacher has done extensive, practical, and purposeful planning. In these sessions, Victor Johnson will talk about methods that will help teachers and students stay motivated and engaged throughout the school year. Topics will include strategies for building community within ensemble groups, creative methods for sequential teaching, score preparation, practical rehearsal techniques, and music reading sessions.