The 18th annual Capital Region Music Educators Symposium was held on October 26th at the Schenectady County Community College School of Music. This year marked the first time that the event was held at SCCC. Teachers and ensemble directors from throughout the Capital District joined SCCC students in interactive workshops and seminar sessions addressing the specific challenges of music education.
The morning keynote address was delivered by Dr. Rollo Dilworth, Chair of the Music Education and Music Therapy Department at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. During his keynote address and two subsequent workshops – “The Choral Warmup Experience” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing: Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice in the Choral Rehearsal” – Dr. Dilworth shared deep musical knowledge and passion for education and community that left an indelible mark on his audience. Following his second workshop, numerous students and educators approached Dr. Dilworth to express gratitude for his inspiring message. The joy and excitement evoked by Dr. Dilworth’s presentations affirmed music’s unique potential to transcend differences and build communities.
The Suburban Council Music Educators Association curated an additional ten workshops throughout the morning and afternoon sessions conducted by talented musician-educators from across the state. Professor Brett Wery of SCCC demonstrated effective rehearsal techniques for conductors, Leah Holsclaw of Saratoga offered a workshop integrating instructional technology into music education in “Working Smarter, Not Harder” and John Connolly of the Empire State Youth Orchestra shared strategies to engage underserved music students.
The first afternoon session featured “Beginning Bucket Drumming” by Pat Stone of Albany City Schools, Sue Kokernak and Mike Danis addressed the intricacies of teaching proper technique on double reed instruments and Nicholas Walker from Ithaca College shared methods for beginning upright bass instruction. The final workshop block featured Rob Hileman of Scotia-Glenville who shared an innovative method of engaging students in improvisation and composition using simple two and three beat rhythms. Chad Ploss and Andy Hearn discussed percussion tuning and repair – a challenge for many teachers and band directors who may not be drummers. Fred Weingarten provided insights into a standards based approach to music instruction while Mendy Varga took participants through the maze of sheet music publication in “Navigating Music Copyright and Publishing.”
Talented presenters, engaged educators and students along with the faculty and staff of the Schenectady County Community College School of Music ensured that this year’s Capital Region Music Educators Symposium was a success. The joy of discovery, mutual respect and celebration of music that defined the day underscored Dr. Dilworth’s message that music is a singular force for good.