Next Steps: Strategies for Supporting Social, Emotional, and Mental Wellness in the Music Classroom
The mental health crisis has arrived in our classrooms, as well as in our own lives. This session will provide teachers a chance to engage in hands-on practices that can bolster their resilience, address student social, emotional, and mental health, as well as advocate for more sustainable school policies. Learn strategies designed by a mental health counselor and educators with a range of mental health certifications who integrate their training into their teaching practice.
Dr. Rachel Dirks, Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Kansas State University, is an active conductor, clinician, and educator. She has conducted all-state and regional orchestras throughout the U.S., and has presented sessions for ASTA, Midwest, NAfME, and numerous state conferences. Dr. Dirks currently serves as chairperson of the ASTA Wellness Committee, an organization which endeavors to further the discussion surrounding health and wellbeing in the music classroom.
Dr. Tawnya D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Boston University where she teaches graduate courses in research, curriculum, arts integration, creating healthy classrooms, and the arts and ecojustice. She has served in leadership capacities at the state, national, and international level, and has published in the areas of music education, expressive arts in education, and social justice in music education. She is co-chair of the NAfME ASPA for Music Teacher Health and Wellness.
Dr. Laura Talbott-Clark is associate professor of violin at Oklahoma State University. A Mindfulness-Based Wellness and Pedagogy clinician, she is pursuing a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. Research interests include musician wellness, the application of contemplative practices to DEI issues in tertiary education, and the music of women composers of the Federal Music Project. She has presented sessions at CMS, ASTA, and state MEA conferences and can be heard on Navona Records.
Museum Specialist at Kansas State's Beach Museum of Art, Nate McClendon's focus is community building through intentional events and dialogue opportunities. He also serves as a SEL and DEIB educational consultant. He has taught strings in USD 383 (Manhattan, KS) and band in Clark County School District (Las Vegas, NV). Additionally, Nate worked as the Education Programs Manager for the International Association for Jazz Education and as a pastor at Westview Community Church (Manhattan, KS).
As embedded psychotherapist to the College of Music at the University of Colorado Boulder, Matthew Tomatz has served hundreds of musicians. He draws on experiences as a psychotherapist, educator, musician, yoga/meditation instructor, and group facilitator to address challenges that musicians experience. Matthew has developed a unique and potent technique to assist musicians in becoming dynamic performers and pioneered a group therapy model that he calls Developing the Whole Musician.