Christina Reardon, 2023 ACEMM Beacon Scholar

“Imagine if we obsessed about the things we love about ourselves”  

This is the quote that greeted me when I stepped into the room at SMU this summer to participate in my first Masterclass, “Re-imagining the Familiar: Deepening Your Personal Artistry.” I did not know what to expect, I didn’t know anyone, but I knew that Beth Nelson and Kris Olson had an incredible week of self-discovery and musical collaboration planned, and I was so excited to be a part of the magic. 

My Orff Schulwerk journey began in college when I had the opportunity to attend workshops from my local chapter and I embraced it from the time I started teaching. I took my first levels course the year after I began teaching, but a variety of circumstances kept me from taking levels II and III right after, and I didn’t complete level III until 2017. Throughout that journey, I grew as a human, as a musician, as a dancer, and as an educator, but I never realized how much I still had to grow in the areas of self-acceptance and love until this week. 

When I applied for the ACEMM scholarship I stated that I wanted to “learn from and with other music educators who also feel passionately about the connection of music and movement and bring those ideas back to my students.” I had no idea how much that would be the case until I met the incredible fourteen people I got to spend the week with. Each of us brought unique perspectives, strengths, and personal challenges with us to the Masterclass. Together we worked to embrace what we loved about ourselves, to accept the parts of us we cannot change, and to build each other up to be the best music and movement educators we could be. Through self-reflection we wrote a variety of “I Am” statements that we later turned into poems to share. 

Through my lens as an educator, I am bringing back many wonderful ideas to my students. I have new ideas for student-created choreography, for adding movement to poems and words to movement, for ways to change and elaborate Orff Schulwerk Volumes pieces to fit our class and the students in it, and how to play with meter, tempo, melody, and form to help my students create. I am excited to walk back into my classroom this fall with new ideas and a renewed sense of purpose as a music and movement educator. 

It was through my training in the Schulwerk that I truly came to understand and love the relationship that music and movement have.  This masterclass reminded me of that beautiful relationship and how special it is to both me and my students.

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Thank you ACEMM for this incredible opportunity!

Christina Reardon

Christina Reardon is a 1st-8th grade movement and music specialist in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has her Bachelors of Music in Music Education and Masters of Music degrees from Miami University and received her Orff Schulwerk certification at the University of Cincinnati in 2017. She is currently serving as president for the Greater Cincinnati AOSA chapter (GCCAOSA). Christina has presented various workshops locally, at the state level, and at the AOSA national conference. In her spare time, Christina enjoys running, ringing handbells, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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