Creating Musical Childhoods
June 28-30, 2021
Online Convention sponsored by

For full Convention schedule and details visit

The 2021 convention theme addresses the needs and experiences of young children and the individuals who make music with them. Through lenses of human diversity–such as culture, (dis)ability, language, age, gender, and socioeconomic status–the convention will explore how children, adults, and communities interact with music and movement. Sessions, in a variety of formats, will primarily address music and/or movement pertaining to one or more of the following areas:

  • Constructing self-knowledge and identities (e.g., as musicians, movers, teachers, researchers, observers, facilitators, learners, listeners, co-creators)
  • Developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes in music, movement, and other areas (e.g., math, literacy, mentoring, teaching, self-care)
  • Promoting emotional wellness and wholeness
  • Strengthening families and communities (e.g., school, neighborhood, world)

Convention Sponsors


Convention Highlights

  • Dynamic Speakers

    Dynamic and internationally-recognized keynote speakers who will also present special sessions

  • Interactive Workshops

    Take part in immersive workshops focused on bridging theory and practice

  • Networking Events

    Networking events for practitioners to meet and learn from fellow convention attendees

Keynote Presenters

Elaine Bernstorf, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Bernstorf serves as Professor of Music Education at Wichita State University, and co-author of The Music and Literacy Connection published by Rowman and Littlefield. She holds a BME and MME in Special Music Education, PhD in Communicative Disorders and Sciences, and certificate of clinical competence as a speech-language pathologist. Her specializations include elementary vocal music, special music education, early childhood arts education, speech pathology (voice, fluency, and child language), literacy development, and curriculum development.

Dr. Bernstorf will address the roles of caregivers, teachers, and children in developing literacy learning through creativity. Appropriate music and movement activities often become personal anchors with special meaning for individual children or groups of children. We will explore developmentally appropriate activities that lead toward language and literacy anchor standards.

Elizabeth Andang'o, PhD - Kenyatta University

Elizabeth Andang’o is a lecturer in the Department of Music and Dance, Kenyatta University, in Nairobi, Kenya. Her main research interests are on culture and curriculum development in Early Childhood Music Education. She has published articles in several peer reviewed journals and co-authored chapters in several books. Dr. Andang’o is the Associate Editor (Africa) of the International Journal of Music in Early Childhood and a current board member of the International Society for Music Education.

Dr. Andang’o will discuss young children’s musical engagement and how it contributes to the construction of their self-knowledge (their feelings, motivation and character, etc.) and identities in and through music. The discussion will be framed within the Kenyan/African cultural context. Examples will be drawn from school, home and community settings.

Donna Brink Fox, PhD - Eastman School of Music

Dr. Fox, an authority in early childhood (EC) music education, is a founding member of the EC Special Research Interest Group of the National Association for Music Education and has served on ECMMA’s Advisory Board. She co- authored Classroom Music for Little Mozarts, a curriculum for teaching music in EC classrooms.

Dr. Fox will share her experience creating Eastman’s early childhood music program and developing the early childhood music methods course to prepare teachers. She will focus on the importance of understanding the culture and development of children and will consider what has changed and what is needed for the future.

Cynthia Crump Taggart, PhD - Michigan State University (Emeritus)

Cynthia Crump Taggart is Professor Emeritus of Music Education at Michigan State University, where she directed and taught in the Early Childhood Music Program.  She is co-author of Jump Right In:  The Music Curriculum, Music Play: The Early Childhood Curriculum, Music Play 2, and numerous book chapters and journal articles.

From an early age, children can express themselves musically. Yet, often adults are so focused on getting children to sing, chant, and move correctly that they forget to encourage musical play. This session will focus on how to empower children to express themselves musically using their bodies and voices.

Convention Registration Information