Maria A. Ellis: From Bach to Beyoncé, How Music Helps Us Heal | S01E08


Maria A. Ellis joins Missy to talk about Bach & Beyoncé, her new radio show where she gets to geek out about her love for music and challenge assumptions about a broad spectrum of musical genres, including Classical Music. She shares her desire to inspire educators to teach in a variety of ways and to look to music to help people heal together, no matter their skin color.

Maria A. Ellis is a very passionate music educator and choral conductor.  She currently serves as the Director of The Sheldon’s City of Music All-Star Chorus and is the host of Bach and Beyoncé – The Radio Show on Classic 107.3 FM The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis, MO.  Maria is an active clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the United States and abroad.  Maria holds a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She has served as a host for The St. Louis Symphony’s Link Up Program, The Community Engagement Manager for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs and an Ensemble Director for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs new Virtual Chorus. Maria is the Repertoire and Resource Chair of Inclusivity for the Missouri Choral Directors Association.  She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Educators, Missouri Alliance for Arts Education and holds Level 3 Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education.  Maria is the owner of Girl Conductor LLC which provides diverse music education resources.

Please check out Maria’s Black History PD session and the diverse music education resources on her website

Jasmine Fripp: Black History Year-Round | S01E07

Music teachers don’t always know what to do for Black History Month, and there are far too many only doing a lesson in February. Jasmine talks to Missy about the importance of making sure that long before February rolls around, we are teaching students about Black history, culture, and music throughout the school year. Jasmine offers engaging, practical ideas for BHM as well as the rest of the year, and also talks about her new endeavor, The Passionate Black Educator.

Andy Himelick: FAME Teacher Trainer Talk | S01E06


FAME Teacher Trainer and Indiana Music Educator Association’s 2021 Outstanding Elementary Educator Award recipient Andy Himelick talks with Missy about how teaching is going for him during the pandemic. They chat about his First Steps and Conversational Solfege instruction and he gives Missy an update on the Conversational Solfege and Orff book project he and his co-authors are working on for GIA Publications.

Andy Himelick has been an elementary music teacher in Carmel Indiana for 28 years and an assistant choral director with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir for 22 years. He graduated from Butler University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and was awarded Outstanding Student Teacher. In 1999, he completed the Kodály Certificate of Music Education from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI. He completed Orff-Schulwerk Levels I and II at the University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN in 2001 and 2002, and Level III at Anderson University in 2005. In 2006 he received the Indiana University School of Education Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator Award. In 2021 he received the Indiana Music Education Association’s Outstanding Elementary Educator Award. He is a founding member of FAME and currently serving on the FAME board as Treasurer. He is a Teacher Trainer in both “First Steps in Music” and “Conversational Solfege”. He is a presenter and clinician at national and state music conventions and workshops. He, his wife Lori, son Jaren, and daughter Jenna live in Indianapolis.

Natasha Verhulst: Reversing False Narratives & Talking Native Truths – One Teacher’s Perspective | S01E05


Music Educator Natasha Verhulst, an enrolled tribal member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and a descendant of the Menominee Nation, talks to Missy about her life growing up in Wisconsin and shares how her love for the music and culture of her people led her to become a musician and eventually, a music teacher.

Natasha Verhulst is an enrolled tribal member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a descendant of the Menominee Nation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education with triple certification from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin in 2015, and is currently working towards her master’s degree in Music Education with emphasis in Kodaly previously at Holy Family College and plans to finish the program at Lakeland University. Natasha has taught 9th-12th grade band and choir at Menasha High School in Menasha, WI and 5th-8th grade choir, band, and general music at Kiel Middle School in Kiel, WI. She is currently teaching 4K-5th grade general music at Keshena Primary School in Menominee Indian School District on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. 

Natasha’s career goal is to help bring native music and culture to the music classroom setting for children to experience and learn from. Natasha recently worked with PBS on their project “ReSound: Songs of Wisconsin,” creating a diverse curriculum of different cultural music for educators throughout the state. She presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association State conference in October 2019. Recently, Natasha was a part of the 2020 WSMA Summer Workshop series, where she taught a session to music educators on how to include Native American music in regular music lessons. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is featuring Natasha’s lesson plans on their website so that educators throughout the country may use them in their classrooms. She is also a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access committee member for the Feierabend Association is Music Education. Natasha enjoys spending time with her husband and relatives, performing, crocheting, and beading in her spare time.

Land map

Article about Text for Land Info

Wisconsin Act 31

We Shall Remain – PBS


An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (For Young People)

All the Real Indians Died Off: And 20 Other Myths About Natibe Americans (Myths Made in America)

Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask

Why You Can’t Teach United States History without American Indians

David Row: Music Ed Puppet Master | S01E04


Join Missy as she chats with David Row about their shared love for using puppets in the music program. Learn fun ways to utilize these wonderful teacher sidekicks in your classroom right away. It’s possible that you’ll have just as much fun (or even more) than your students!

David Row loves teaching music to kids! A Nebraska native and Midwesterner at heart, David now lives and teaches in the Kansas City metro area for the DeSoto Unified School District. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, completed three levels and a master course in Orff Schulwerk training, and has extensive experience with critical thinking in the arts. David is an active clinician and has presented workshops at state and local conventions across the United States and Canada.

On his blog,, David shares ideas about classroom content, management, lesson plans, critical thinking, and more. Search for “Make Moments Matter: A Music Education Podcast!” wherever you download podcasts or catch up with David every week on his “Musical Mondays” LIVE videos on Facebook.

David’s Website & home of his blog:
David’s blog post on using puppets to teach the four voices:

Chris Anne Powers: A New Repertoire Database | S01E03


FAME Teacher Trainer Chris Anne Powers joins Missy to talk all about the new Feierabend Repertoire Database, a truly exciting new resource that Chris has been working on for GIA Publications that will help music teachers easily find just the right song, chant, or game at just the right time!

Chris Powers has been an elementary music specialist since 1995.  She started her career as a music specialist in Stratford, Connecticut.  In 1998, she joined the music department in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she currently teaches K-5 General Music, Band and Chorus at Cos Cob School.

From 1999 through 2012, Chris co-conducted the Greenwich Public Schools Honor Choir.  Comprised of the finest young singers in the town, the choir participated in prestigious choral festivals, including the National Children’s Choir at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Henry Leck, and the Children In Harmony Festival Choir with Dr. Barbara Tagg.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Chris has also worked as a seminar leader, portfolio scorer and mentor teacher, assisting beginning teachers in the BEST/TEAM program. Chris is also a free-lance flutist, singer and private flute instructor.

Chris received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she had the good fortune of studying with John Feierabend.  She completed her Master’s Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University in 2002.

In 2010, Chris received her Kodaly Certificate from The Hartt School.   Given her strong commitment to the Feierabend Approach, she is thrilled that the Greenwich Public Schools has adopted First Steps In Music For Preschool & Beyond and Conversational Solfege as the basis of their new Core Music Curriculum for Pre-K through 5th grade.  Chris created and presented professional development workshops for her colleagues based on the Feierabend approach to facilitate the implementation of the new curriculum.

Chris is honored to be one of the founding members of the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME) and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors. She is an Endorsed Teacher Trainer for the First Steps in Music Curriculum.

Chris lives a music-filled life in Cos Cob, Connecticut with her husband Jed and their sons, Jay and Tommy.

Feierabend Repertoire Database:


Franklin Willis: A New Vision for Music Ed | S01E02


Music Educator extraordinaire Franklin Willis joins Missy to talk about a few great topics – from some of the irons he has in the fire as a Teacher/Entrepreneur, to his new book Edward’s Rhythm Sticks, to describing how becoming a father to his young son and the events of 2020 have changed him as a person and as an educator. Both new and veteran music teachers will find inspiration in hearing Franklin talk about what it takes to continue in the profession in spite of the challenges that we all face, so don’t miss it!

For more than a decade, Franklin Willis has educated, mentored, and developed elementary and middle school students through the power of music. He specializes in providing musical instruction through authentic culturally relevant teaching experiences to empower and engage all children to achieve success. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Music in 2009. In 2012, he earned the Master of Education Degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Belmont University. Most recently Willis completed the Education Specialist Degree with an emphasis in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.

He currently serves as the Elementary Music Instructional Coach for the Metro Nashville Public Schools District, to provide music teachers with instructional support and resources necessary to enhance their classrooms. Willis believes that music education is a vital tool to teach students about other cultures, create community, and a love for learning. Through his work, he has developed a passion that the cultivation of musicianship begins at a young age and that every child has musical potential. Every student is a champion and deserves a music teacher who will see the best in them.

Willis has facilitated professional development sessions for music teachers of all grade levels sharing his unique and relevant teaching practices. He consistently collaborates with colleagues, community organizations, local businesses, colleges and universities to advocate for the importance of music education in our schools. Through his work he has received national recognition for his ability to meet students at their point of need and guide them to new levels of success. He is a three time recipient of the CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence Award. (’16, ’18, ’19)

Links from this episode:

Learn more about Franklin:

Shop music education apparel:

Browse elementary music education resources:

Download Edward’s Rhythm Sticks Ebook with F. Flat Books

Watch Carrie Underwood surprise Franklin’s music students:

Karen Howard: Confronting Systemic Racism in the Music Room | S01E01


Join Missy in the premiere episode of her new podcast, Music Ed Amplified, as she talks with professor, author and global music expert Dr. Karen Howard. Karen and Missy discuss how music teachers who have yet to do so must begin the crucial work of acknowledging and confronting systemic racism in education and in their music classrooms.

Karen Howard is Associate Professor of Music at the University of St. Thomas. She teaches courses in global music traditions that emphasize marginalized and underrepresented cultures, transforming music education curricula, research methods, children’s music, and vocal/choral music.

Karen’s research has been published in the Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, and Music Educators Journal. Her books include World Music Pedagogy Vol III: Secondary School Innovations, First Steps in Global Music, and Dance Like a Butterfly: Songs from Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana. Karen is the editor of the newly created series World Music Initiative (WMI) through GIA Music. While all music is music of the world, WMI is focused on uplifting underrepresented traditions in music education.

Karen is a frequent presenter on matters of diversity in curriculum, anti-racism in music education, and performance practices from multiple cultures. She is also one of the facilitators of the Smithsonian Folkways (SFW) Certificate in World Music Pedagogy as well as part of the Education Advisory Committee for SFW.

Links from this episode:

Dr. Howard’s Books:[]=tb&elProductType[]=tp&elProductType[]=tr&search-artist=Karen+Howard

Dr. Howard’s Article on Cultural Appropriation:

The Routledge World Music Pedagogy Series:

Dr. Howard’s article on Changing Perceptions and Pedagogies in Choral Music Education: