AMEA 2019 Clinicians

Originally from Kinston, Ala., Travis Perry has been a music teacher for more than 36 years. From experience, he learned that keeping his students excited and interested in playing was key to their success. Perry noticed that 7 out of 10 of new guitar students, including Bradi, his own daughter, quit taking lessons within 60 days. While teaching, Travis continued working on his idea of a simple “magical” device that students could easily mount on the guitar, press down a button and work on the right hand rhythm patterns until they learned how to play guitar chords on their own. In October, 2010, Perry introduced ChordBuddy to the market. Two years later, he appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” to reach out for more funding to grow his business. Today, guided by the motto “you make the music, ChordBuddy makes it easy,” Travis is spreading the love of music to guitar players around the world.

Bob Phillips (b. 1953), pedagogue, composer, teacher trainer, and conductor, is renowned as an innovator in string education. Bob brings a wealth of knowledge and a sense of humor to his clinics, drawn from his 27 years as a public school string teacher. He is an expert in large group pedagogy and in the development of alternative styles for strings. He is one of today’s leading educational authors and composers, and his books and pieces are performed by thousands of string students each year. Bob is currently the Director of String Publications for Alfred Music and is Past-President of the American String Teachers Association. Bob and his wife, Pam are also part of the creative team for Barrage 8. Bob has authored over 19 book series that include 130 books for use in the classroom, including the ground breaking series Fiddlers Philharmonic, Fiddlers Philharmonic Encore!, Jazz Philharmonic, Jazz Philharmonic: Second Set and Latin Philharmonic, the String Explorer method, and the revolutionary Sound Innovations method, all published by Alfred Music. He has been elected “Teacher of the Year” nine times by national, state, and regional associations and has been invited to present clinics in more than forty states and eight foreign countries. Recognized as “Citizens of the Year” by the City of Saline for their work in arts education, Bob and Pam were also honored in special ceremonies by both the House and the Senate of the State of Michigan for their work with the Saline Fiddlers. In 2013, Bob was inducted into the University of Michigan School of Music’s Hall of Fame.

Stephanie Porter has been an elementary music teacher for sixteen years. In that time, she has taught in several systems at three levels. Since landing in Hartselle three years ago she has composed a school song and started two elementary choirs that tour the area. She completed her masters in elementary reading specialty in May of 2018. She remains an advocate for music education in her area and routinely advises regular education teachers on how music enhances their standards. Stephanie cur- rently teaches general music and reading intervention at one elementary school in Hartselle and conducts an after-school choir at the intermediate school in order to ensure those students receive some music enrichment since it is not offered during the school day. She also recently composed a SATB choir piece for her high school choir director’s retirement.

Dr. C. David Ragsdale is Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Ragsdale teaches courses in music education and conducting. Additionally, Dr. Ragsdale conducts the University’s Wind Ensemble, the Huntsville Chamber Winds, and the Tennessee Valley Music Festival Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. In 2015, Dr. Ragsdale was named the UAH College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Professor of the Year. Dr. Ragsdale has conducted All-State Bands in Alabama and North Carolina and is slated to conduct the Florida All-State Band in 2020. Other recent conducting engagements include numerous regional and district honor bands as well as the honor bands at Florida Atlantic University, Winthrop University, Wake Forest University, University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Georgia. He is a frequent contributor to the “Teaching Music Through Performance” textbook series and his research on Stravinsky’s neoclassic era was twice selected for presentation at the College Band Directors National Association Southern Division Conference in 2016 and 2018. Prior to UAH, Dr. Ragsdale served as Associate Director of Bands and Director of the internationally acclaimed “Band of the Hour” marching band for the Miami Hurricanes at the University of Miami where he was also inducted into the Iron Arrow Society, this highest honor attainable at the University of Miami for students, faculty, or alumni. Dr. Ragsdale holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Appalachian State University (NC), a Master of Music degree from Winthrop University (SC), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami (FL). A disaster responder for the American Red Cross, he and his wife Jennifer, Middle School Dean at Randolph School, currently reside in Huntsville, Alabama along with their daughters, Ella and Anna.

Dr. Megan Wicks-Rudolph began her teaching career in 1994 in Decatur, AL. She is currently the Director of Choral Activities at Vestavia Hills High School. At Vestavia Hills High School she oversees eight performing ensembles with over 300 students taught daily, an assistant choral director, part-time voice coach, and a part-time accompanist. Choirs under her direction consistently receive superior ratings at local, regional, and national adjudicated events. Dr. Rudolph is Nationally Board Certified (2003, 2013) and Orff Level I Certified. Her choral music experience includes directing children’s choir, middle school choir, high school choir, church choir, and teaching collegiate methods classes. She currently serves as the ACDA Southern Division R&R for Vocal Jazz and Past President for Alabama ACDA. Additionally, she is an active lecturer and adjudicator throughout the United States. Megan is married to her husband Brian, and they are the proud parents of Alexis (10), Austin (8), Zach (6), and Max (4).

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