John Feierabend is considered one of the leading authorities on music and movement development in early childhood. He is a professor of Music and the Director of Music Education at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford and is a past President of the American Kodály Educators. A music educator for over thirty years, he continues to be committed to collecting, preserving and teaching the diverse folk music of our country and to using that folk music as a bridge to help children understand and enjoy classical music.
In addition to serving as the lead scriptwriter for the Van Cliburn Foundation's "Musical Awakenings" program of classical concerts for children, Dr. Feierabend promotes music education through frequent presentations in the United States and abroad. He is the author of more than 60 books, recordings and DVDs including the popular "First Steps in Music" series and the "Conversational Solfege" curriculum materials.
Judy Bowers is a professor of Choral Music Education at The Florida State University, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music and music education, and conducts the Women’s Glee Club, a performing group that also provides Adopt-A-Choir and Study-Buddy partnerships with area secondary public school choirs. She has received a University Award for Excellence in Teaching at FSU.
As a choral educator, she is an active conductor of all-state and honor choirs across the United States, and in 2005 was awarded the Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Service Award from the Florida ACDA Chapter. Bowers frequently presents workshops and clinics for teachers, and her research interests include developmental choral groups, the adolescent voice change, learning partnerships, and voice use of music teachers and students. She has published in the Journal of Research in Music Education and the Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, was a contributing author to the MENC publication Music at the Middle School Level, as well as contributing a chapter to The School Choral Program: Philosophy, Planning, Organizing, and Teaching (GIA), by Holt and Jordan. Bowers was co-editor of another MENC publication, Strategies for Teaching Elementary and Middle-Level Choir.
Professor Bowers holds music degrees from Louisiana State University (Ph.D.) and Texas Tech University (B.M.E.). From 1990-2000, she led the Capital Children’s Choir program at FSU and more recently has developed a community service partnership with an urban middle school. Since 2000, this collaboration has provided additional music ensembles for the middle school students (a jazz band, steel drum ensembles, and a world music choir) while also enriching the teacher preparation experiences for Florida State University students.
Christopher Azzara - pianist, arranger, composer, and educator - Chris Azzara has made important contributions to advancing the understanding of creativity and improvisation in the music learning process. An innovator in the area of music teaching and learning, Dr. Azzara is Professor of Music Education, Chair of the Music Education Department, and Affiliate Faculty of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music.
Teaching and performing internationally, he is the author of numerous articles, arrangements, and books including Developing Musicianship Through Improvisation, Creativity In Improvisation, and Jump Right In: THe Instrumental Series (GIA). His research and publications are concerned with meaningful relationships among listening, creating, improvising, reading, composing, and analyzing music in vocal and instrumental settings. He performs as a soloist and in various ensembles, including the Chris Azzara Quartet, an has played on and produced many studio and educational recordings. Dr. Azzara has presented and performed extensively throughout the Unites States and abroad. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from George Mason University and taught instrumental music in the Fairfax County Public Schools. He later received a Master of Music and Ph.D. in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music.
T. Clark Saunders (B.F.A., 1977, M.F.A., 1978, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo; Ph.D., Temple University, 1984) is Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. Dr. Saunders serves as The Hartt School's administrator for academic affairs including the oversight, in collaboration with the Division Directors and Dean, of undergraduate and graduate curricula and instruction.
As a professor of music education Dr. Saunders has taught advanced courses in assessment, music education research and the psychology of music learning. Prior to coming to The Hartt School, Dr. Saunders taught at The University of Maryland at College Park (1986-1992) and Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA (1984-1986). From 1978 to 1981 he was Band Director and instrumental music teacher at Washingtonville High School, Washingtonville, NY.
In addition to his teaching, Dr. Saunders has pursued a research agenda related to methods and procedures for the valid assessment of music performance skills. He has completed a series of studies that demonstrate useful techniques for the measurement of student growth of music skill learning. More recent research projects of his have focused on the cognitive processing of sounds as melodies. Articles related to his work have appeared in the Music Educators Journal, General Music Today, CMEA News, Early Childhood Connections, Journal of Research in Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Update, and The Quarterly.
Dr. Saunders is a frequent presenter of music education workshops at state and national Music Education Conventions where he demonstrates innovative methods of student music performance assessment.
Lillie Feierabend is known for her work with young children and instilling a love of music within them. This is her twelfth year as faculty at the University of Hartford Magnet School and her thirteenth as a director for the Connecticut Children's Chorus. She received the 1998 Teacher of the Year Award from her district for her innovative and inclusive music programs.
In 2008, Lillie again received her district's Teacher of the Year Award and Outstanding Elementary Music Educator Award from the Connecticut Music Educators Association. Lillie is a frequent clinician at local, state and national conferences, speaking on many aspects of early childhood music.