Presenters are listed in alphabetical order by last name with their session descriptions and bios included.

Donna Fleetwood

The Elemental Approach and the Artist-Teacher

Join us as we initiate our time together by exploring elemental qualities which surround us and are part of everyday human behavior. While speaking and moving are activities that we readily access, they lead quite naturally to singing, as well as producing patterns and sounds in many ways.  We are fortunate to have in our hands many tools to begin musical and movement adventures by accessing the artist in ourselves and in those we teach.

An awareness of the elemental with regard to music and movement and the many possibilities that it embodies, requires the leader (teacher) to develop and access the inner artist – as collector, as creator and as performer. We will explore the connections of these qualities in an intentional and active way: the artist-collector who maintains a level of awareness, of being ‘tuned in’ to quality inspirations; the artist-creator who accesses those inspirations to find a voice and develop creative strategies that fulfill both the learner and teacher; the artist-performer who challenges oneself both in and out of the comfort zone, stretching personal abilities and discovering how students are called upon to adapt and rearrange their own comfort zones.

Using readily accessible materials and the inspiration that comes from working as a creative ensemble, we will focus on how an elemental approach can lead to the fulfillment of artistry.

Donna is the current Vice-President of the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement (ACEMM). She has taught music and movement in both public and private schools in the U.S. as well as in France, and continues to teach in Orff Schulwerk Certification Courses and workshops both in the U.S and internationally. She is the former Director of the Orff Schulwerk Certification Program at George Mason University, where she received her training, and has taught movement and pedagogy in Orff Schulwerk courses. Internationally, Donna has taught in in Hong Kong, the U.K. France, Thailand and South Korea. Donna has served the American Orff Schulwerk Association as a member of the Board of Trustees and chaired both the International Outreach Committee and the Curriculum Oversight and Review Subcommittee (CORS).

Donna divides her time in Virginia between Charlottesville and Buckingham and enjoys connecting to her family and former life in Paris from time to time.


Kris Olson

Elemental Movement

Music has a kinetic power.  It moves us. Literally! This relationship between music and movement is so fundamental that in many languages the words for music and dance are often interchangeable, if not the same.  I invite you to join me as we explore the connection between musicality and movement. My hope is to not only give you great ideas for your classroom but to help you find your distinct voice as a mover and to open your eyes to movement inspiration all around you

Early Childhood Elemental Explorations

The brain of a young child is in the process of strengthening and pruning synapses and we play an essential role in insuring musical and kinesthetic pathways are not pruned.  The best thing is that it’s fun! My focus will be on immersing our youngest students in active experiences that build a strong base for an artistic future, while celebrating the aesthetic capabilities of our youngest students in the here and now.

Kris Olson has taught music and movement for 30 years in public, private, rural and urban settings.  She teaches workshops across the country and has offered classes in movement at various universities.  Kris has her master’s degree in Orff Schulwerk from the University of St. Thomas. She studied dance at Zenon Dance Company while living in Minneapolis and has taught dance at Texas Tech University.  Kris currently lives in Lubbock, TX where she teaches early childhood music and movement and is a member Flatlands Dance Theatre. Kris’s current project is the monthly show “Ms. Kris and Friends” performed at Lubbock’s First Friday Art Trail.  Her goal is to be the female Mr. Rogers. Other hobbies include border morris dancing, bucket drumming with children, storytelling, and learning body percussion from Youtube while cooking. This explains why many nights dinner is inedible.

Kris lives with her husband, a silly white dog, and two musical teenage boys.


Michelle Fella Przbylowski

Elemental Music Exploration and Beyond

Exploring Elemental Music Beyond the traditional instrumentarium offers a broader view to every musician, music maker, and music educator.  What elements make this process easily transferable? What process offers successful music making? Who are the music makers? What tools do you use to explore?  Making a difference in the music making process is key to building successful musical experience. Explore the various means of making music beyond.

*Michelle will also be presenting a combined session with Nick Wild

Michelle Fella Przybylowski, B.S, MMEd., NBCT, Orff Schulwerk Certification, AOSA Teacher Educator certification, Choral Music Experience Teacher Education, and Kodaly Certification.

Michelle teaches music at Cheltenham Elementary School, AOSA Vice President, served the American Orff Schulwek Editorial Board for The Orff Echo, Trustee for The American Center For Elemental Music. University of the Arts Senior Professor in Music Education, presently the Course Director for the UARTS @ Villanova Orff Teacher Education Program and Level I, II & III, Teacher Educator for AOSA Teacher Education Program, Level II & III instructor at Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio, Adjunct Senior Professor for the University of the Arts. Michelle’s major instrument is harp.

Michelle and her Husband Ted live in Huntingdon Valley, PA and enjoy time with their 3 Children and spouses and 4 grandchildren. They enjoy summers in Acadia National Park and coastal Maine exploring tandem kayaking.


Lissa Ray

Lissa Ray

Synergy Sessions

Join me for collaborative, small-group discussions. Synergy Sessions allow you to discuss challenges and develop solutions to the issues you are facing in your teaching. Participants will select the topics on site. Bring your questions and problems and find common ground with other participants. Each discussion lasts about 25 minutes—then it’s time to move on to a new topic. Enlarge your network and connect with others through discussion on issues that matter.

Lissa is in her 10th year of “retirement” after a teaching full time for thirty years. Her teaching experience spans from preschool to adults.  She is now teaching music to children three to six years old at Mercy Montessori Center in Cincinnati. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Michigan University and a Master’s Degree from Indiana University.  She has completed her Orff Schulwerk Certification as well as Master Classes and Orff Curriculum. She attended the summer course at the Orff Institut in Salzburg, Austria. Lissa is a Movement and Recorder Instructor for Orff Schulwerk Teacher Training.

Lissa has presented at several American Orff Schulwerk Association national conferences and AOSA chapter workshops across the country. With the help of MMB Music she developed a series of Orff instrument repair videos that are available on  She has repaired instruments for several local school districts,

Lissa has been active honorary member of the Greater Cincinnati American Orff-Schulwerk Chapter since 1987.  She recently served as one of the Local Conference Chairs for the 2018 AOSA Professional Development Conference in Cincinnati. She has served on the AOSA National Board of Trustees as a Region Representative and member of Technology, Advocacy, and 50th Anniversary Conference Committees.


Lisa Sempsey

Elemental Aspects of Kodaly and Orff-Schulwerk

At the core of every teacher, they hold certain ideals close to their heart.  Early in my career, that was helping a child embrace their voice as an instrument.  Singing was at the core of learning as your voice is the musical instrument you take with you everywhere.  Using the voice as a means to create beauty, express emotions, and have some fun was of utmost importance all while leading children to embrace that they could become creative and literate musicians.  

Elemental style and elements can be found across many quality teaching philosophies.  This session will sew together how the two philosophies compliment each other, highlighting the beauty in elemental music and movement while leveraging the best aspects of each teaching style.   Explore how singing games, using various types of ostinati, barred instruments as accompaniment, recorders, student led creation, and movement come together to create a rich and beautiful landscape for deep curricular work.  

Lisa Sempsey graduated with honors from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Music Education in May 2001. She completed her Kodály Levels through West Chester University of Pennsylvania and New England Conservatory.  She has also completed her Orff-Schulwerk Levels through the University of the Arts in collaboration with Villanova University’s graduate summer music education programs and George Mason University. Lisa also holds a master’s degree in Leadership for Teaching and Learning from Millersville University.

Lisa is a clinician and workshop presenter who loves to share and collaborate with her colleagues.  She has presented workshops and sessions covering topics including classroom management, choral reading sessions, technology in the music classroom, movement and music curricular connections, Kodaly Pedagogy in the modern elementary music class, curriculum development and lesson planning, and Orff-Schulwerk elements in K-6 music classes.

Lisa has taught kindergarten through sixth grade general music, elementary choruses, as well as elementary and middle school strings in Lower Dauphin and Conestoga Valley School Districts, as well as been the Artistic Director and Prelude Choir Director for the Children’s Choir of Lancaster from 2005-2012.  Currently, Lisa teaches kindergarten through sixth grade general music, chorus, and Orff, Drum & Strum Ensemble in Columbia Borough School District. She also serves as the K-12 Art & Music Curriculum Coordinator for the district.

Mrs. Sempsey lives in Lititz with her husband and son, enjoys cooking and baking, spending time with her family, and generally taxiing around her teenage son.


Nick Wild

Making Sense of the Many-Colored Modes

A few days before entering graduate school for music education I bumped into my former band director, so I asked for words of wisdom.  He suggested I visit the classroom of a new elementary music teacher in town – he couldn’t define the teacher’s approach but knew it was special.  Little did I know this encounter would change the course of my musical life! Mere minutes into my visit, my entire classically-trained concept of music-making and music education was flipped on its head.  I saw, heard, and understood for the first time the innate capacity of all people to create and perform aesthetically-satisfying and expressive music, both individually and in community.  These children were making real music – childlike but not childish – and it was their music.  They weren’t just learning about music, they were learning to think, act, and move musically.  Most importantly, the lesson was focused on the creative process itself. The children’s joy was palpable.  I had just witnessed the power and potential of elemental music and movement.

Since that day, I have been a devoted student, practitioner, and advocate of the Orff Schulwerk approach to music and movement education, guiding students in their exploration of music “from the inside out,” creating music using the universal building blocks of elemental music, and sharing in students’ joy as they take ownership of their musical experiences.  Elemental music has even influenced my approach to classical music.

One of the most powerful tools in our elemental toolbox is the broad palate of melodic modes available to us.  From a traditional Western theory perspective, the modes can be confusing: they are often approached from a complex analytical perspective, and only in relation to more familiar scale patterns.  However, when approached individually from an expressive and elemental perspective based on their unique qualities, and when explored in meaningful contexts and in logical relationships to each other, the modes become an accessible and invaluable tool for inspiring and enabling a rich variety of musical expression.  I look forward to exploring and creating with you!

*Nick will also be presenting a combined session with Michelle Fella Przybylowski

Nick Wild taught PreK-5 general music and chorus in Massachusetts public schools for 18 years.  He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English horn performance from The Juilliard School in New York and his K-12 music educator certification from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Nick serves on the National Board of Trustees of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, where his responsibilities include curriculum development, advocacy, member relations, outreach, and professional development.  He is past-President of the New England Chapter of AOSA, served eight years on the Editorial Board of AOSA’s national journal, The Orff Echo, presents workshops and conference sessions focused on elemental music and the Orff approach at the local and national level, and contributed to AOSA’s teacher education curriculum standards.  Nick teaches recorder pedagogy and elemental theory for all three Levels of Orff Schulwerk teacher education courses.