Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


All-State Music Conference

April 20, 2015

Maine Music Educators Association

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 2.05.21 PMThere is one month until the All State Festival and In Service Conference being held at USM, Gorham campus on May 14 and 15, 2015. The Maine Music Educators invite you to join them and promise that there is something for everyone!

The following highlights are important to note

  • 5 workshops with Christi Carey Miller of Hal Leonard
  • Key note by Peter Boonshaft
  • NAfME Eastern Division President Robert Frampton
  • Exhibits Crawl
  • President’s Reception
  • Workshops about online auditions
  • Director’s Chorus

Click Here for the Registration Form!  Registration (pre-register by April 30, 2015)

Call for a hotel reservation today Best Western Merry Manor (207) 774-6151

Thank you to Sue Barre and Sam Moore- Young who are the conference co-chairs. If you have questions please email them at or  Thanks also to Kristin Thomas who is doing an AMAZING job on the festival side of things.

In addition the conference highlights include the following

  • Performances by the Navy Band Thursday night and the Director’s Chorus and Maine Rock Orchestra Friday night.
  • Maine Music Educator of the Year and Outstanding Administrator will be announced at the President’s Reception.
  • York Treble Choir and Chamber Singers performing
  • Brunswick Concert Band performing
  • Over 60 workshops including 2 workshops by Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Leadership Team member and York High School choral director Rob Westerberg about assessment – Keeping it real and painless :-)!

I hope to see you there on May 14 or 15!!


Who Are They?: MECA, Part 6

April 15, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.42.14 PMThis is the sixth and final post as part of this series on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Thank you to Raffi Der Simonian, Director of Marketing & Communications for his help in putting this series together.

The final post includes information about MECAs new music and art program which received $3 million to kickstart the program. Learn about it in this video from Ian Anderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Frances Kellogg

April 14, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the ninth and last blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

4747f3_d808375765484117b6ae1b7e8f05a0cf.jpg_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Frances Kellogg currently teaches K-3 classroom music and grades 6-8 chorus at Ellsworth Elementary Middle School.  She has taught in Ellsworth for the last three years.  Frances has just over 400 students and sees them twice each week for a total of 60 minutes. Previously, she taught PreK-6 classroom music and 3-8 chorus at Jay Elementary School and Spruce Mountain Middle School. This is her eighth year as a music teacher in Maine. Frances received her B.M.E. from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007, and currently performs with the University Percussion Ensemble there.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love to see students get inspired and have fun. I hear so many teachers say how much they wish they could do more creative things in their classrooms, but can’t because there isn’t time–often due to curriculum or testing. I get to watch my students unleash their creativity and give them the chance to think outside the box, while still teaching and giving them the information they need. I love it when my students draw a connection between music and ANYTHING else–their classroom, home, visual art, or physical education–when they make that connection, they get more excited about what we are learning and also remember more of what we are learning .

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

A supportive community is a major key to a successful arts education:  support from the students’ parents, teachers, and administration. But building that support needs flexibility and a willingness to be a part of it. Make yourself seen at a parade or a baseball game can make all the difference to a student or the community as a whole. Being willing to adapt the framing of a lesson to be more interesting to your students can make the difference between a lesson they will forget and a lesson they will ask to repeat again.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has given me a way to know not only what my students are learning, but also how well I am teaching. I have long used assessment as a tool for measuring student knowledge, but have more recently learned how to use assessment as feedback for my teaching. If the students aren’t grasping a concept, what do I need to change? What has worked and what hasn’t?  t has been quite the eye-opening adventure for me.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Joining MAAI has been a huge growth experience for me. I took a leap, with both feet, into a leadership role which was new territory for me. The greatest benefit of all has been a chance to communicate and collaborate with other arts teachers around the state. I have been very fortunate to not be the only music teacher in my district, but I have often been the only music teacher at my level (elementary vs. high school or middle school). It’s been great to be able to talk with other elementary music teachers and to hear their ideas and perspectives, while at the same time being able to share my own. In addition, MAAI has given me a huge boost of confidence when talking with other arts educators which has in turn given me more confidence in working with other educators at my own school.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My growth. When I first started teaching, I taught things that I thought were fun and would interest students; a lot of them being things I remembered from when I was a kid or things that I learned in college. I tested students on the things I thought they should have learned and never really used them to learn about my teaching. Now, eight years later, I have learned to work with a curriculum, to use assessments with my students to give them and myself feedback, to adapt my lessons to interest my students while still teaching and/or reviewing the concepts that need to be learned, and to still have fun while learning. Looking back eight years, I see a transformation that I am truly proud of and I certainly hope it will continue.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Negativity. With all the seemingly overwhelming changes happening in education in Maine right now, it’s easy to get sucked in to people complaining or griping or worrying. The only way to fight it is to be positive!

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

A good image. I started out as a nervous and anxious, fresh out of college kid who needed guidance. I didn’t know how to run a music program, or create/work with a curriculum, or put together concerts. I needed a lot of help (or at least it felt like it) when I first started. But I worked hard: I listened to what people told me about what they thought I should do and “how we’ve always done it”, and in the end, I made my own educated choices about what to do.  Whether it was having concerts in the evening vs. during the school day, or giving students the opportunity to earn their recorder to keep (rather than just giving it to them), or taking the risk to ask for funding for a new idea; I was able to make those decisions based on what I had learned. When I left my first job and came to Ellsworth, I had already started down this path, so I had a better idea of what I should do and how I should act and ask for things.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Listen to your students. When my students ask if we can learn about something, I try to find a way to make it happen. Last year, one classroom of third grade students asked if we could sing a song about the environment because they were learning about the rainforest and ecology in their classrooms. So, I found a song that not only focused on saving the environment, but also taught students how to listen for a read two part harmony. Another classroom asked about rap; we discussed what students think rap is vs. what it is (and what it can be), and each classroom wrote a rap together. These two activities were some of the most enjoyable things I taught, because the students were so involved in the process.

If you were given $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would split it. Keeping some for myself, I would do some serious house renovations: new kitchen counters, painting, a front deck with a hot tub, and a temperature controlled room for musical instrument storage and enjoyment. With the rest, I would find the right way to invest it in bringing programs and visiting artists into schools, both the school I work for and other schools in my area.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

None. At that point, I will have had a chance to do what I always dreamed of in life:  teach. If I can inspire just one person, then I have done what I needed to do, and that is something to be proud of.


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To Providence and Back Again

April 13, 2015

Presenting with MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre

I had the opportunity to go to the 54th NAfME Eastern Division Biennial In-Service Conference last week held in Providence, Rhode Island. Its been some time since I traveled to Providence for a conference so I was surprised to see changes in the city.

Waterville music educator and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leader Sue Barre invited me to co-present with her. Our workshop called Assessment in Maine – The Way Life Should Be was scheduled for two time slots. The participants were a mix of pre-service teachers, veteran music teachers, and arts administrators. We created a wiki for participants at which is an open wiki with our workshop resources. Participants had good questions, many related to the type of resources that teachers are seeking.

Sue and I also sat on the Teacher Effectiveness panel with leaders from other eastern states. The session provided me an opportunity to learn where other states are in the process that all states are dealing with.

One of the workshops that I attended was called Can We Measure Creativity? A Confluence of Rubrics, Technology and Out-Of-The-Box Thinking  which was presented by music educator Kim Yannon, from the Cheshire Public Schools in Connecticut.  She shared very useful information.


MAAI Teacher Leader and MMEA President Pam Kinsey and Greg Pattillo from PROJECT Trio

One of the conference highlights was the Thursday evening performance by PROJECT Trio from Brooklyn, NY. Greg Pattillo on flute, Eric Stephenson on cello and Peter Seymour on bass. They are a unique high energy group who travel around the world playing chamber music. You can view them in the YouTube below. There are several other YouTubes with their work that you may want to check out. We spoke to them about the possibility of them coming to Maine for the fall biennial statewide conference on October 9, 2015. If anyone would like to contribute funding to bring them to Maine please let me know.


The Sound of Music

April 10, 2015

Rick Wormeli meets Maria

Rick Wormeli has been an educator for over 20 years and middle level is his area of expertise. However, he hits the nail on the head when he uses Maria and The Sound of Music as an example for the type of learning that research is pointing to today. The information is applicable to all ages and grade levels.

Watch this short YouTube and listen for the terms below. Rick demonstrates all the “best practices” that Maria uses with the boys and girls in the Sound of Music.

Multiple pathways, high standards, differentiated instruction and grading, clear expectations, student-centered, provide big picture, visual imagery, sense of humor, formative assessment, real life learning, kinesthetic, contextual learning, meaning in learning, love of knowledge, student engagement, no child left behind, interdisciplinary learning, scaffolding, high standards.


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Pamela Kinsey

March 31, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the seventh blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

Sunday best 1Pamela Kinsey serves on the MAAI Leadership Team along with being a Teacher Leader. She teaches music in Easton, Maine where her responsibilities include General Music K-6 (including Recorder), Beginning Band, Elementary Chorus, 7-12 Band, 7-12 Chorus and High School Jazz Choir. Pam has taught Music Appreciation at the High School level as well and she is the Co-Team Leader of the Wellness Team! She has been teaching music in some form since high school and gave private lessons. She has maintained a private ‘studio’ of varying numbers of students ever since. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education (with an instrumental emphasis on Flute) from the School of Music at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Pam has been teaching in schools since 1984, and in Easton since 1988.

What do you like best about being an music educator?

One of the things that I like best about teaching music is that it gives me an opportunity to share my love of all types of music with new ears. I see students from a young age and watch them grow and mature into wonderful young ladies and gentlemen and amazing young musicians. I can look back at several of my students and see them still actively participating in music! It is very rewarding. I have second-generation students continuing in the musical paths of their parents. I take them to concerts of every type available in a region where that is not necessarily the norm. Seeing their eyes roll at the prospect of going for the first time to the American Folk Festival in Bangor and then seeing their eyes light up at the idea of attending the Folk Festival a second…or third or fourth time….that is what makes me love my job. When students come back and seek me out to tell me how things are going. When students call me on the telephone to chat. When students invite me to their weddings and baby showers because we became friends while we were making music together. Those are all reasons that I teach music. It is a life style, not just a job.

What advice to you have for young teachers?

My advice to teachers and students alike is to take advantage of as many of the opportunities that present themselves to you as possible. You never know when something new will be the thing that hooks your interest and it might just take you places unimagined and amazing!

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Keys to any successful program? I think that first of all, you must love your art form. I think it is important to be out there, practicing our craft, and letting the students see us in that light. My students know that I play in a Community Band. I bring them on a bus to see the diversity of membership from young to old, all participating together. They know that they are invited to play in the group once they have the ability or the desire! My students know that I play in a Community Orchestra. Again, I bring them on a bus to see an orchestra in action. We don’t have a string program and I like them to see that art form live. They also know that I am involved in music at my church. Again, music is more than my job: it is my vocation, my passion and part of my daily life. Truly, I practice what I teach!

I think it is important to help students to succeed, but equally important to let them know that failure is OKAY! They have to make mistakes with their singing and playing so that they can learn from them and grow as musicians. It makes me sad when I ask students ‘Is it okay to make a mistake in music class or in school?’ and have them answer ‘NO’. I tell them of course it is okay…that is how we learn! If we make a mistake because we are trying, then we know it is there and it is something we can fix.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I consider myself an ‘Old Dog’, and ‘new tricks’ come hard to me. Assessment in my classroom has forced me to re-evaluate how I am teaching and connecting with my students…especially the younger ones. We now have clearer reasons for doing what we are doing and the students are taking more ownership. Now when they create, I show them the rubric that tells them exactly what to do for each level of grading. When they try to hand that in, I remind them that they still need the rubric to complete the project. They can view and listen with discerning eyes and ears, because the expectations are clear. That is very powerful.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Becoming involved in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative has given me more confidence in my teaching and in my advocacy skills. Finding my way as a department of one was difficult, since there was no support system that understood what I was trying to accomplish. Now, I am part of a caring, safe and supportive community of Arts professionals, ALL of whom understand what I am trying to accomplish and the struggles that I encounter on a daily basis, since they are very often shared struggles.

What are you most proud of in your career?

In my career, I am most proud of the relationships I have built with students and the hope that they possess an appreciation of music that will stay with them throughout their lives. I am proud of the fact that others see me in leadership roles that I might not have seen myself in. I have built up a rapport with other Arts educators throughout the state and region as a result of these leadership roles. I am proud to be a past chair of the District VII Northern Maine Music Educators Association, the former Secretary of the Maine Music Educators Association and the current President of the Maine Music Educators Association. I am also very proud of the work of MAAI and I am pleased to be a small part of the amazing leadership team and ‘Argy’s Army of Artists’!

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Sometimes, I think that all of the mandates for standardized expectations get in the way of teaching…and learning….simply for the joy of teaching and learning. There are expectations that our students have the very highest level of achievement, but we are allowed only the very minimum of time in a week to meet these expectations. Of course, funding is an issue in all of education. For me, time to prepare and collaborate with others would be amazing, but again, there isn’t time in the day for this type of group planning in the Arts, especially in a Music Department of one.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be do to “luck” or circumstances?

Hard work and determination are necessary in any job. I think that one thing that I have accomplished is a successful blending of a 7-12 Band. Many years ago, we moved our 7th and 8th graders form the Elementary School, where I had a proper Middle School Band, to the High School and I was told there was no room in the schedule for Middle School Band and the program would now be a combined Band. You can imagine my concern at the idea of mixing students with two years of playing experience with students with five years of playing experience. I feel that the people in the position of making that decision really didn’t understand what they were expecting would just ‘happen’. It was a real struggle, especially at the beginning. Now, however, it is a successful blending of abilities and the Band is pretty darned great in my opinion! On the surface, it was just expected, but I had to be creative and work very hard to make it succeed and not lose students due to frustration by being too difficult or too easy.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have funding like $500,000! I would begin by purchasing instruments, so that every student would have the opportunity to play an instrument, regardless of financial status. New instruments are psychologically better than used. In a rural, depressed area, often cost is the only deterrent to playing an instrument and I hate seeing students have that obstacle in their path. If I could put an instrument in the hands of every child to use for their entire school career, I would love that.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets? 

When I am 94, and I can only hope to have that longevity, I hope there won’t be any regrets! I know I won’t regret my career choice. I was fortunate enough to have a grandmother that had a very long life. When she was in her 90s she was still making music, playing in three hand bell choirs, and playing the piano. She is my musical success story for my students. If you have music in your blood, you will always have music in your life!


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Best Coin Ever Spent

March 28, 2015



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