2023 Sydney Music Educators Conference – Session Abstracts

Below you will find the confirmed session abstracts for the 2023 Conference. We will add to these abstracts as they become available.

Keynote – Crafting your advocacy for anyone
Dr Anita Collins

Many of our advocacy messages feel like they fall flat or on deaf ears and this is often because there are beliefs, experiences, and external pressures that need to be understood in order to make our advocacy “stick”. Dr Anita Collins will speak about how to craft our advocacy for any audience, anytime, and anywhere.

What are we really teaching in music? The power of teaching for executive function
Dr Anita Collins

Dr Anita Collins will workshop the many ways that group music learning and ensemble experiences power every child’s executive functioning, and how that transfers to their learning in school and into adult life.

25 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To Improve Your Ensemble
Dr Peter Boonshaft

This session offers simple techniques you can do to improve the quality of your ensemble, make any rehearsal more productive and energize the power of your teaching. Useful for conductors of any level and type of ensemble.

Common Errors and Misunderstandings in Conducting
Dr Peter Boonshaft

This session will explore common misunderstandings and errors made by conductors, offering ideas to solve these problems.  Topics will include:  independence of hands, mixed messages, preparatory gestures, over-conducting, stance, energy in motion, descriptive nuances, and body language. Useful for conductors of any level and type of ensemble.

It’s all about the music. Except for all the other stuff!
Paul Vickers

In this session Paul will give some practical insights into how ensemble directors can frame the many roles they fulfill inside and outside of the rehearsal room allowing them to strengthen the whole suite of capacities that make possible successful music education experiences for our students.

Expectations Without Limits: Helping Middle Level Bands Achieve Their Best
Mandy Fara Boonshaft

This session will address the unique opportunities and challenges of teaching middle level band. Topics will include rehearsal techniques, programming, warm-ups, percussion, achieving balanced instrumentation, and ensemble development.

If you can sing it, you can play it!
Jacki Cooper

We all know singing improves our playing, and contemporary composers are increasingly incorporating voice into their instrumental music. In this session Jacki will assist Music Directors to use their voice more effectively in rehearsals. Jacki will address how to impart technical information and provide practical advice on voice production to assist you and your students in developing good singing habits by looking at warmup techniques, sound production exercises, and some simple two and three part harmonies that will get you and your students hooked on singing.

Arranging for flexible ensembles
Daryl McKenzie

This presentation will discuss some of the well-established arranging methods used by arrangers that may fall short in an unbalanced ensemble. Daryl will also demonstrate how to create voicings from the ground up in a non-traditional way to allow flexibility in performance. Daryl will discuss the work of other arrangers who have used similar approaches and also discuss methods of adapting standard instrumentation arrangements to unique situations.

Did I Do That? Developing autonomous musical literacy from day one.
Jason Isaac

Do you ever think that a few of your students would have been great players regardless of what you did in lessons or in rehearsal? Can you really claim to have made that ensemble sound like that, or to have taught that student to improvise like Coltrane? Do you look back on past generations of graduates and wonder, “Did I do that?” Jason Isaac will peak under the hood of a developing musically literate student in snapshots through age 8 to 18.

Jazz Ensemble Development 101: start with the right tools and the students will do the rest.
John Morrison

In this session John will provide practical tools and concepts for developing student jazz ensembles and big bands. The focus on improvisation, stylistic nuances, and jazz language. John will also lead a demonstration on rhythm section cohesion and balance in which you will be invited to participate, so bring your instrument!