Board & Staff.

Dr. Tiger Robinson

Dr. Tiger Robison

Tiger Robison, Ph.D., is assistant professor of music education at the University of Wyoming where he teaches courses in elementary general music methods, aural theory, and world music. Tiger earned a Ph.D. from the University of Hartford's Hartt School where he was grateful for the mentorship of Drs. Joshua Russell, Vanessa Bond, and John Feierabend among others. Additionally, he holds certification in Kodály, Orff, and First Steps in Music methodologies. Prior to his appointment at UW, Tiger was visiting assistant professor of music education at the University of Maryland. Before his collegiate career, Tiger taught in the Connecticut public schools for ten years where he taught general music to students in grades pre-Kindergarten (aged three and four) to grade four. Currently, Tiger’s research in early childhood music is funded by the UW College of Arts and Sciences, the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, and the Wyoming Arts Council.

Focus & Vision: I am excited that more and increasingly diverse stakeholders are now becoming interested in early childhood education (see documentary "No Small Matter") and that organizations like the ECMMA have the rationale and corroborating research to make music and movement inextricably linked to a child's early education.

Specific to ECMMA, I am excited to potentially join a group of fiercely intelligent people spanning at least three "generations" (i.e., "Baby Boomers," "Generation X," and "Millennials") who are enthused about music in early childhood. As I am, many ECMMA members are motivated by families of their own and/or their duties at work (e.g., tenure track professor, educator, or administrator), and I am looking forward to potentially contributing to an organization that is poised to produce a large body of work in a short amount of time. In short, few causes could be more noble than the betterment of children, and few causes could advance as quickly as those driven by a cooperative team such as that of ECMMA.

I am interested in all facets of ECMMA's work, but I think the two most reasonable projects to focus on are a) winning grant proposals and b) securing the success of IJMEC. Both of these projects align with my duties as a tenure-track professor. To date, I have won $40,773 in grant monies for early childhood music projects with diverse populations from children of professors to children of Wyoming prisoners. I want to bring my knack for grant writing to ECMMA. I believe there is no shortage of good ideas and goodwill in our community, only shortages of capital.

Su D'Ambrosio

Su D'Ambrosio
Past President

Assunta "Su" D'Ambrosio is Director of Education at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. She holds an MM in clarinet performance from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a BA in Music from Smith College, Orff Level III certification from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and training in Music Together, Musikgarten and Gordon Music Learning Theory. At South Shore Conservatory, in addition to administrative duties, she is a preschool and kindergarten classroom music specialist. Previously, she taught general and instrumental music in public schools for 17 years as well as private lessons on clarinet. Su has been with South Shore Conservatory since 2003. Su became interested in early childhood education after the birth of her first daughter in 1997. Watching her daughter listen and respond to music made it clear that these early years are a crucial time for exposure to rhythm and tonal patterns as they are the seeds and foundation for understanding music later in life. She lives in Plymouth, MA with her daughters Maria, Rosa, and her dog Bernie who is a puppy at heart.

I am excited by ECMMA’s potential to make connections between many organizations that serve and focus on early childhood arts education. My focus will be growing membership and making connections between other EC organizations with similar missions.

Dr. H. Ellie Wolfe (formerly Falter) is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. They have taught early childhood music in varied public and private settings, including preschools, elementary schools, a homeschool co-op, and libraries. Having served students from diverse backgrounds—such as on an American Indian Reservation, in inner city neighborhoods with generational poverty, and in wealthy suburbs—Ellie has internalized that there are many ways to teach music and each student brings interests and competencies which enhance the learning community. Dr. Wolfe is committed to learning from their students (young children, college students, and practicing music or generalist teachers) in part by teaching through play. They center research and practice on being more fully present in music-making and teacher education, approaching the goal of presence through the lenses of play, translating understanding through multiple symbolic systems, mindfulness, and the Alexander Technique.

Focus & Vision: Young children are musical beings. They deserve meaningful music and movement experiences. Also, they have so much to share with and teach the adults and communities in their lives who open themselves up to learning. I love how ECMMA brings together educators from different pedagogical perspectives to build a collective, messy, shared, yet contrasting understanding of early childhood music education, so that we may each work to provide meaningful music and movement experiences with the young children in our personal spheres. My focus for this board term is continuing to develop proactive and supportive organizational structures that support communication and project management.

H. Ellie Falter

H. Ellie Wolfe

Christina Svec

Christina Svec

Dr. Christina Svec is currently the Assistant Professor of Music Education at Iowa State University where she teaches courses in elementary and secondary choral music methods. She received her PhD and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music Education degree from Michigan State University. She has also earned three levels of certification in Music Learning Theory and three levels in Kodály. Before coming to Iowa State and the Ames Children’s Choirs, Dr. Svec taught elementary music for six years and has been involved with early childhood music for nearly fifteen years. Her research interests include research methodology, research pedagogy, and singing voice development. Her publications can be found in Kodály Envoy, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and Psychology of Music.

Focus & Vision: With ECMMA I am serving a population who cares deeply about early childhood music teaching, learning, and research!

Lara Larsson

Dr. Gina Yi
VP Professional Advancement

Gina Yi is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Music Education at Wheaton College. Yi received a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School, a Master of Music Education from Ewha Womans University in South Korea, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University.

Yi taught early childhood music for over 15 years and participated as a clinician at numerous conferences for music educators presenting on topics such as early childhood music, elementary general music, assessment, and world music. She has published in Music Educators Journal and presented her research at the International Society for Music Education, the International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education, the Desert Skies Symposium, the Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium, and the Mountain Lake Colloquium. Internationally, she has presented at various workshops as a leading clinician, published several instructional materials and songbooks, and developed music programs for children in South Korea.

Focus & Vision: The ECMMA's effort to impact early childhood music educators - hosting an international convention, providing professional development, publishing scholarship through IJMEC, and creating a supportive community - excites me because I have a heart for this particular field of music education. I am interested in the Professional Advancement mission. I believe that it is vital for ECMMA to provide various learning opportunities to meet the needs of early childhood music teachers who are teaching in this global and digital era. Particularly, through an online platform, ECMMA can reach music teachers both nationally and internationally. As a VP Professional Advancement, I am interested in developing strategic plan and exploring the implementation of professional development through various platforms and ways that can enrich the further education of the current early childhood music teachers, elementary general music teachers, and college students who hope to impact young music makers.

I would like to focus on Professional Development. I have experience organizing music education workshops at my current institution, hosted GIML workshops in Korea, and served on an online education committee of Interactive Education for Children in Korea.

Dr. Christa Kuebel specializes her research in music teacher preparation and early childhood music education. Her current work focuses on the role of self-efficacy among preservice music educators. She has instructed higher education courses in elementary general methods, world music, child development, and introduction to music education. Kuebel has taught choir, band, and general music for students in preschool through junior high in Illinois, China, and Poland. She also teaches early childhood music education classes to children four and under.

Kuebel holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio), Master of Music from Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts), and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio). She has presented at state, national, and international conferences. Her published research can be found in Research Studies in Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Music Educators Journal, and Journal of Research in Music Education.

The mission of ECMMA encompasses all areas of early childhood music in order to support educators at all stages of their career and professional development. Being able to participate in the lifelong learning of music educators is an exciting endeavor that I want to continue to be a part of. After completing my current term, I would like to develop ways in which to continue to grow the social media aspect of ECMMA. I would specifically like to see ways in which social media can provide cohesive communication among other areas of the organization (newsletter, website, etc.), as well as work to engage community members more actively on the platforms I have developed (Instagram and Facebook).

Dr. Gina Yi

Christa Kuebel
VP Social Media

Jason D. Jones, a native of the Appalachia region, is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at UTRGV on the Brownsville campus. From conducting the Eastman Women’s Chorus to singing shape note songs at a goth bar, Jones’ performance experience is as varied as his teaching and research interests. He earned a Ph.D. in Music Education at the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Shetler Prize. Jones holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Master of Education from Emory & Henry College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and French from Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA. Jones is an OAKE-certified Kodàly teacher and has extensive Dalcroze training from the American Eurhythmics Society. Previously, Jones was an assistant professor of music education and music education coordinator at Reinhardt University in Waleska, GA. He has experience teaching elementary general music, choir, and strings to children in urban and suburban areas. He is a recipient of the SAISD Foundation Inspire award for his work with urban elementary school children and was recognized for his significant contributions to the SAISD elementary strings project. He has presented workshops, research, and clinics on several topics for school districts, state, national, and international conferences, non-profits, and universities. His research interests include motivation in music classrooms, cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships between teachers and students, Sacred Harp traditions and transmission, differentiated music classrooms, and differently abled students in elementary music. His work has been published in the Journal of General Music Education, the book Kaleidoscope: A Collection of Standards-Based Lessons for the K-7 General Music Classroom, and by the American Eurhythmics Society.

Amy Rucker

Jason Jones
VP of Convention Site, 2023

Dr. Michael Ruybalid is the Music Education Specialist at the University of Montana. He teaches courses in undergraduate and graduate music education and supervises student teachers in their general music placements. Dr. Ruybalid currently holds Kodály certification (Levels 1-3), OrffSchulwerk certification (Levels 1-3, Master Class with Chris Judah-Lauder) and Elementary Level 1 certification in Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. He previously taught music education coursework at the University of Maryland and Southeastern Louisiana University. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Ruybalid taught PreK-12th grade music for eight years in both private and public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Ruybalid has presented pedagogical and research sessions for local, national, and international audiences, including several conference sessions on early childhood music. His research interests include the examination of student intentions regarding school music participation.

Focus & Vision: I have a particular interest in how ECMMA focuses on advocating for early childhood music by "providing advocacy information, and a public platform, to aid in the success of early childhood music and movement initiatives.” I have seen first hand the benefits of early childhood music instruction with young children, and I have a great interest in helping to advocate for music educators to learn about best practices in early childhood music through the ECMMA Convention.

Mike Rubalid

Mike Ruybalid
VP of Convention Programming, 2023

Robert Olinger, MS

Robert G. Olinger
Managing Director

Robert Olinger specializes in teaching business and management courses at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He teaches and studies human resource management. Robert has a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa and he is pursuing his PhD at Drake University. Prior to his adventure in higher education, Robert served 21 years in the Iowa National Guard in various managerial roles.

Focus & Vision: I've seen the benefits of early childhood music and movement development with my own daughter. ECMMA is a worthy organization and I'm happy to support the leaders, members, and make ECMMA a top performing nonprofit association.

We want to thank our institutional and business partners for supporting our efforts to develop children through music and movement.