2020 International Conference



This year’s conference included workshops about performing, marketing, production, copyrights, education, movement and building developmental skills through music; song circles and song swaps; late night jam sessions and countless ways to forge new friends and musical collaborations.

Check out our four workshops tracks: Track: Our Earth & Community Track: Music Education Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do Track: Song Swaps

Unless otherwise specified, times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Songs for Social Justice Songswap | 1:00-2:00 pm

Photo: Sally Rogers
Sally Rogers

Track: Our Earth & Community Track: Song Swaps

Join us for a song swap of Songs for Social Justice with facilitator, Sally Rogers, long time performer and former CMN president. Please bring a song to share or you can also just come to sing along or to listen. I'm sure this last few years has generated some new beauties. Bring them along!

Sally Rogers served many years as CMN president and is a former Magic Penny Award winner. Her 14 albums and many songs have won praise nationally and some are now considered "classics". She has also spent 15 years as a classroom music teacher. www.sallyrogers.com

Songs to Celebrate Books, Reading & Libraries Songswap | 2:30-3:30 pm

Photo: Steve Blunt
Steve Blunt
Photo: Monty Harper
Monty Harper

Track: Song Swaps

Let's share songs that make kids want to rock, roll & read! Teachers & others are welcome to join the fun--though we expect to focus some discussion on performing for kids & families at libraries. Maybe we'll even get a jump on the 2021 CSLP summer reading theme, "Tails & Tales."

Co-facilitators Steve Blunt & Monty Harper are award-winning children's musicians and long-time school & library performers.

Steve lives in Nashua, NH, and began working with the NH State Library's "Kids, Books & the Arts" Program in 1999. His CD "Let's Have a Reading Party!" is available at www.steveblunt.com.

Monty has performed for summer reading programs in public libraries for the past thirty summers, and he’s written as many songs that celebrate books, reading, and libraries. His Reading Songs Volumes I and II are available on BandCamp at montyharper.bandcamp.com.

Environmental Songswap | 4:00-5:00 pm

Photo: Amy Conley
Amy Conley

Track: Our Earth & Community Track: Song Swaps

Let's share our favorite songs for children that celebrate and/or protect the earth and its living systems, cultivate a sense of wonder and teach us about the natural world. Songs for children of any age are welcome. We will take turns sharing until we run out of time. Please stick to the theme and keep intros short so we can get to everyone.

Amy Conley has been an active CMN member since 1986. She teaches online classes for ukulele on Zoom, directs Music Together of Milford/Nashua NH, and also performs music for all ages, using puppetry, movement and song. Her love for the natural world drew her to New Hampshire where she loves to hike and photograph nature.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Do-Re-Mi ABC: Music and Early Literacy Learning | 4:00-5:00 PM

Photo: Liz Buchanan
Liz Buchanan

Track: Music Education Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

In this workshop, Liz will share the highlights of her work connecting music with early literacy learning, including relevant research. Participants will be invited to join in songs and musical activities that they can take home and use right away with the young children in their world.

Liz Buchanan is a musician, writer, children’s performer and educator in the Boston area. Her four CDs for children have received accolades from Parents’ Choice, Creative Child Magazine and School Library Journal. She has two decades of experience teaching music in Boston-area schools and preschools. Liz currently serves as music teacher for the Children’s Own School (Montessori) in Winchester, MA, and Menotomy Preschool in Arlington, MA. She is also a performer and music/literacy consultant with Young Audiences of Massachusetts and has led many early childhood workshops and classes on music in the classroom. You can find many of Liz’s songs and literacy activities at her blog at www.antelopedance.com.

Be the Change: Interactive Panel on Racism and How We Can Be Better | 7:00-8:30 pm

Photo: Wendy Morgan
Wendy Morgan

Track: Our Earth & Community

With Stephen Wandu Bimo/I CAN South Sudan, Darryl Boggs, Marsha Goodman-Wood, Kaitlin McGaw & Tommy Shepherd/Alphabet Rockers, SaulPaul, and Devin Walker.

How can we be better examples for our children? How can we be the change for the future? Can we learn to not judge others based on color, language, gender preference, age and the list goes on. We need to be better examples for the children and families that come to us to share truth. Through a series of led exercises and a panel discussion, we can all learn how to be better musician/artist role models and engage community action to teach love and inclusion. Learning objectives: learn non-judging skills, release rigid thinking, how to reset your programming and be open to new ways, ideas and types of people.

Wendy Morgan is part of the duo/band Wendy and DB from Chicago, IL. They are all about inclusion and diversity. Wendy grew up on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood known as Hyde Park and often as a white girl was in the minority. She was fortunate to have this diverse upbringing and be exposed to many different ethnic groups at an early age. So she learned “people are people.” As the lyricist for the group she is always looking for ways to present a message of love, inclusion and diversity in their songs. Through recorded and live music performances they have successfully found common ground for all. Sing, dance and laugh and soon all the differences disappear. She has a strong desire to help others find the love to push past their judgements and biases and be free!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Music, Puppets and the Environment | 4:00-5:00 PM

Photo: Richard McLaughlin
Richard McLaughlin

Track: Music Education Track: Our Earth & Community

Utilizing original and familiar songs, develop a show/class that will teach students the basics of ecology and the environment.


  • Use music and puppets to teach young people about environmental issues.
  • Use real-world data and field observations IOT determine different biomes.
  • To investigate a specific environmental problem IOT plan how they might change their behavior and their community’s behavior to mitigate it.

Richard McLaughlin has been teaching for 32 years, and has a Masters in Psychology. Richard is a high school learning support special education teacher, and he also teaches environmental science. He has directed students to develop puppet shows that teach younger students about endangered and threatened species through puppetry and song. He is known locally (in the Philly area) as Eco-Man, and has been performing since 1990. He also participates in Philadelphia's Musicians on Call.

Suffrage Songs: Music to March, Persuade and Rally | 7:00-8:00 PM

Photo: Joyce Rouse
Joyce Rouse

Track: Our Earth & Community

Many suffrage songs of the era were new words written to familiar melodies.

  • Participants will sing and analyze popular suffrage songs which were helpful in persuading citizens to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
  • We will compare songs from other major social movements in effectiveness to the suffrage era and current movements.
  • We will sing from songsters (one by CMN member Steve Woodbury) as we review the 72 year history to win Votes for Women

Joyce Rouse is best known as writer/performer Earth Mama, eco-music programs and Helping Heal the Planet One song at a Time. She is also a collector and composer of songs celebrating the 72 year struggle to win Votes For Women. Composer of women's anthem "Standing On the Shoulders. www.earthmama.org.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Music and the Brain | 4:00-5:00 pm

Photo: Marsha Goodman-Wood
Marsha Goodman-Wood

Track: Music Education Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

The workshop would give an overview of recent research on music and its effects on the brain and body. We would review and summarize the effects that music has on the developing brain, including connecting physical structures with function. We would look at the measurable physical effects of music, reiterating and reinforcing the common knowledge that we observe as music teachers and performers, and showing the science behind those observations. Learning objective: to give context to our work; to explain the known science showing the physical benefits of music on brain development and well being. The workshop would include some musical examples for the audience, and if possible (technology-wise) would include some video examples.

Marsha Goodman-Wood leads DC-based kindie band, Marsha and the Positrons, specializing in fun songs about science and how the world works. Marsha is a former cognitive neuroscientist, and her graduate work involved developing a new brain imaging technique using near-infrared light. She applies her neuroscience background in her approach to teaching music to very young children, connecting music and movement to language development, gross and fine motor skill development, and social and emotional development. This workshop will look at the neuroscience underlying our work as children's musicians and educators. We will also discuss the growing body of recent research looking at the positive effects of music on various patient populations.

Songs as Story | 7:00-8:00 pm

Photo: Jackson Gillman
Jackson Gillman

Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

When a song tells a good story, sometimes instrumentation, extra refrains, or even a steady rhythm, can just get in the way. Jackson will demonstrate some delivery choices which enable the song’s story to have more impact. Most of the workshop will allow participants to bring songs to experiment with, and explore performance options for how best to let the story be told.

Jackson Gillman has performed songs as story throughout his 40+ year career. Sometimes he accompanies himself with guitar, ukulele, harmonica, keyboard or soundtracks, but most often he chooses to perform unencumbered. Watching him, you can see why.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Two Little Blackbirds: Early Childhood Finger-Plays & Hand Puppets | 4:00-5:00 pm

Photo: Eric Maring
Eric Maring

Track: Music Education

Our hands deeply facilitate how we musically connect with children and their environment. In this session participants will be inside a music class with Eric Maring, connecting with his masterful use of animal puppets & finger-plays, bringing the teaching moment alive while laying core music ideas. Like all of his workshops, this one will be 100% interactive. The workshop will be a mock class of sorts as participants will be able to role-play as if they are children/teachers/parents in a music class. We will sit on the floor engaging in finger-plays, lay down, jump up, dance, use small and big body movements, engage in call-and-response, take turns playing a drum and ukulele, interact with several puppets, and beyond. At times we will pause and briefly discuss core moments as they happen, weaving Q&A into the moment.

Following this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  1. Envision using their hands and puppets as tools to deeply enhance teaching moments
  2. Explore different sides of themselves as teachers via personalities that manifest out of animated hands and puppets
  3. Connect to and enlighten children and families via story-telling and movement/dance activities

Eric Maring has taught at UMD’s Center for Young Children for 13 years as well as at NASA's preschool, and Levine Music’s outreach program. M.Ed, Fulbright Scholar, and trained in Musikgarten, Music Together, and Music Rhapsody methods. 2020 will see the release of his book/video/audio “Two Little Blackbirds” - a collection of songs and music activities for the very young and their communities - published by the New England Dancing Masters.

Accessible Music: Creating Songs for Children with Autism | 7:00-8:00 pm

Photo: David Meyers
David Meyers

Track: Our Earth & Community Track: Music Education Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

Learn to create songs which are accessible, motivational and language appropriate. Participants will gain knowledge to concepts for using music to direct and hold attention for those with sensory and social deficiencies. Select activites with include percussion, melodic and string instruments. Please bring your guitars, shakers, bells or drums along for this interactive workshop.

David Meyers has created a curriculum of “Accessible Music” benefitting children impacted by autism and other developmental disabilities. Known as RockonMusicSchool, his multi-instrumental program has logged 1,000+ sessions of special needs programming since its inception in 2017. David has written over 100 songs and has been on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Music Network.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Songwriting for Kids from 3-103 | 4:00-5:00 pm

Photo: Paul Reisler
Paul Reisler

Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

Paul will talk about the Kid Pan Alley group songwriting process, using the creative process to inspire children to become creators of their own culture, partnerships with other organizations, and we will write part of a song. While it is focussed on writing songs with children, the techniques are also valuable for anyone writing songs.

Paul Reisler has been writing songs, performing, composing, recording, and teaching songwriting for over 45 years as the leader of Trapezoid, the founder of Kid Pan Alley, Music Director for Ki Theatre, and the leader of his current groups: Paul Reisler & A Thousand Questions and Three Good Reasons. His discovery that kids make the best song co-writers led to the founding of the Kid Pan Alley. To date, he’s helped 65,000 children write more than 2,700 songs nationally and has produced CDs featuring artists including Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Cracker, Kix Brooks, Corey Harris and many others recording the songs he wrote with the children. The albums have received numerous awards including Parents Choice and NAPPA Gold Awards, a WAMMIE and a Grammy nomination.

Rock Your Showcase | 7:00-8:00 pm

Photo: Val Smalkin
Val Smalkin

Track: The Art, Mind, Business of What We Do

Learning objectives: How to best present your musical and teaching gifts in 8 minutes.

Val will demonstrate one form of showcase presentation and then participants will work individually (or in a group if they prefer) to outline what their showcase might look and sound like. Anyone wishing to present their masterpiece may do so with the expectation that the other participants will offer their polite and considerate feedback with the goal of helping the presenter elevate his or her program.

Ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin was one of the writers, performers, and co-producers as well as the head puppeteer of the Emmy award winning television program It's Kindertime on Baltimore’s ABC affiliate WMAR-TV 2. As a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council grant for solo non-classical performance in 2015, and for solo theatre performance in 2016 and 2019, Val continues to perform and compose music designed for the 2 to 10-year-old set. As a ventriloquist, Val performs for family and educational events in across the US as well as Cap d’Antibes, France, and Brussels, Belgium. As a jazz chanteuse Val performs with the occasional puppet and the Silverback Jazz Quintet in Baltimore, Maryland. Val has learned, through experience, some of the best ways to present at showcases where you have 8 to 10 minutes to prove your competence.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

There is Room for All of Us: Sensory Friendly Songs & Games | 3:00-4:00 pm

Photo: Joanie Calem
Joanie Calem

Track: Music Education Track: Our Earth & Community

We will share a collection of songs and musical games intentionally chosen to create sensory friendly communities, with background as to how to maintain classroom and community gatherings that are sensory friendly so that community building can work for everyone present.

Joanie Calem is a folk musician, singer/song-writer, storyteller and disability inclusion advocate for all ages. Joanie leads interactive song and story programs at festivals, schools, libraries and parks, inviting her audiences to make friends, build community, and have fun as we all sing and dance together.

Open the Circle – Really Wide! Musical Games for Parallel Play | 4:30-5:30 pm

Photo: Nancy Hershatter
Nancy Hershatter
Photo: Margaret Hooton
Margaret Hooton

Track: Music Education

As we plan for musical games in the future, we should be aware about practicing social distancing. Games which require hand holding, partners and props will have to take a back seat. Luckily, there are many parallel play games which are engaging and fun for children. We will share some of our favorites!

Nancy Hershatter began her professional life as a nursery school teacher and director. In 1992, she founded Music in Early Childhood in Westchester County, NY and began offering music classes in early childhood settings, which she has happily been doing ever since. In recent years, Nancy has expanded the reach of her work to create Sing Play and Connect , an intergenerational music program, now offered to grandparents and grandchildren via Zoom. She also leads music groups for youth and adults with developmental challenges, through SPARC (Special Programs and Resource Connections of Westchester County). Nancy has been a CMNer since 1993. She coordinated the CMN National Conference at Bank Street College of Education in New York City in 1998. She has served on the CMN board, been a NY Metro regional coordinator, and is now offering support to other regional coordinators via 4X/year conference calls. She had been a folk musician and guitarist since the age of 12.

Early childhood music teacher Margaret Hooton has been sharing her love of music with children for more than 25 years. At the 2004 NAEYC Conference in Anaheim, California, she was honored with the Early Childhood Professional Award, given by Scholastic Publishing to only five teachers nationally. Margaret is a Wolf Trap teaching artist with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, working with Head Start teachers in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She taught Integrating the Arts and Movement in the Early Childhood Curriculum and Curriculum Design with the Arts at Duquesne University's School of Education. She has been a Pennsylvania Early Learning Quality Assurance System (PQAS) Professional Development Instructor. Margaret is the music specialist at St. Paul’s Nursery School and Shady Lane School in Pittsburgh. Margaret has presented workshops at 18 NAEYC National Conferences, as well as many local conferences.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Putting it All Together: For Elementary & Middle School Music Teachers | 1:00-2:00 pm

Photo: Kim Wallach
Kim Wallach

Track: Music Education

Bring your successful lessons to share, your questions, your frustrations, your stumbling blocks. We'll share songs, ideas on how to combine multiple objectives in one exercise, come away reinvigorated.

Kim Wallach has taught music to preschoolers since 1976, and has been a certified public school music teacher in NH and MA since 1991. She has a BA in music and English from Wellesley College, and an M.Ed. from Antioch New England. In addition, Kim has been a songwriter and performer for both children and adults since 1975, including 5 years co-hosting the children's stage at the Kerrville Folk Festival.

Early Childhood 1-Minute Zingers! Songswap | 2:30-3:30 pm

Photo: Kathy Reid-Naiman
Kathy Reid-Naiman

Track: Music Education Track: Song Swaps

This will be a Round Robin dedicated to tried and true songs, rhymes, and fingerplays for early childhood. Ideally, they should be under a minute and should take less than a minute to teach. They should be specifically for children 0-6 and should be pieces that you have used successfully with children.

Kathy Reid-Naiman is an early childhood music and movement specialist who has been sharing her love of language with children aged 6 months to 5 years since 1982. Her playful tunes illustrate important literacy skills like rhyming and phonemic awareness; and her delightful recordings – pleasing to little ears and big ears – have been frequently included in the Newborn Literacy Kits distributed to families in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.