Keynote Speakers


Thom Borden teaches PreK-5 in Las Vegas and Introduction to the Kodaly Method at Vandercook College in Chicago.  Thom completed his B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction focused in Reading.  He completed Orff Levels at UNLV and an Orff Master Level at the University of Memphis under Jos Wuytack.  Advanced studies include music and movement in Paris as well as Kodaly training and certification through CSU with Sr. Lorna Zemke.  

Thom is the past-president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter, founding member of the Las Vegas Kodaly Chapter (LUCKE), and has presented at numerous AOSA and OAKE conferences.  He has presented in Australia, Canada, China, Europe and presents across the US each year.  Thom served as the AOSA Diversity Committee Chair and is a founding member of the International Sharing Sunday USA organization.  He has published Orff arrangements in the McGraw-Hill curriculum series SPOTLIGHT ON MUSIC and MUSIC STUDIO and has published materials on using manipulatives in the classroom.  Teaching Kodaly courses at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, his latest publications include a series of musical active and interactive singing games – FILE FOLDER FUN! for Music Classrooms – that assist in teaching concepts both live and virtually.

1. Engaging Students with Body Percussion
Participants will explore rhyme and rhythm using body percussion activities found in Rhythmische Übung and the many possibilities that can be created to engage students with rhythm and rhyme.

2. Music for Children: Volumes of Experiences that Engage Students
Participants will focus on the sequenced process for teaching pieces from Music for Children, Volume 1. Using these gems, language, rhythm, and body percussion will prepare students for a successful transition to playing and improving in modes.
3. Purposeful Progress: Rhythms and Rhymes for All Grades
Participants will focus on the sequenced process for teaching pieces from Music for Children, Volume 2. Using these gems along with classroom favorites, we will sing, say, move and play several activities for classroom fun!
4. Around the World in Comfy Shoes: Folk Dances from Here and There

Participate in a few familiar and new folk dances from around the United States. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a partner—friends are always welcome.



Joel M. Price has directed choral music for twenty-seven years, serving for the last twenty-two years as the head choral director and mentor teacher at Westwood Junior High School in the Richardson (Texas) Independent School District.  At Westwood, Mr. Price directs several choirs and serves as the head of the fine arts department.  His choirs consistently have earned Sweepstakes awards for superior ratings at the yearly University Interscholastic League Concert and Sightreading Assessment.  Choirs under his direction also have received the distinction of being named Grand Champion and Best in Class at the annual Hurricane Harbor Choral Festival.  The Westwood Varsity Treble Choir, under the direction of Joel Price, received the prestigious honor of being invited to perform for the Texas Music Educators Association convention in 2007 and were invited again to perform at the 2017 convention.  In 2011, Mr. Price had the honor of conducting the Mississippi Junior High All-State Mixed Choir and he returned to direct the Mississippi Junior High All-State Treble Choir in 2016. Mr. Price conducted the Arkansas ACDA Summer Honor Choir in 2012. 

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Price served the Texas Music Educators Association for five years as Region 3 Middle School/Junior High Vocal Chair and was the organizer of the Richardson ISD 9th Grade Honor Choir for four years.  From 2005-2007, he served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Choral Directors Association as the Middle School/Junior High Vice President.  Recently he served a three-year term as a member and committee chair of the UIL Prescribed Music List Vocal Committee and a two-year term as a member of the UIL Vocal Sightreading Committee.  Also recently he served a 2-year term as the Lead Junior High Choral Director for Richardson ISD.  Presently, Mr. Price serves the Texas Music Adjudicators Association as a member of the Committee on Standards of Adjudication and Performance Practices.  Mr. Price is in demand as a clinician/conductor for All-State, All-Region, and All-City choirs, as an adjudicator for UIL Concert and Sightreading assessments throughout Texas, and as a judge for Solo and Ensemble contests in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Choral Directors Association, the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

A product of Texas public schools, Mr. Price was a three-year member of the All-State Mixed Choir.  Upon graduation, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earning Bachelor of Music degrees in music education and vocal performance. 

Mr. Price had the great privilege of his first freshman student being selected for the Texas All-State Mixed Choir in 2004.  In 2004 and 2005, he was listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. During the 2004-2005 school year, Mr. Price was honored to represent Westwood Junior High as Teacher of the Year and was selected as the Richardson ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Richardson ISD Tomorrow Foundation.  In the spring of 2008, Mr. Price was selected as a statewide finalist for the H-E-B Excellence in Education award.  He was awarded the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers PTA Honorary Life Membership in 2009.


  1. Are we “warm” yet? Intentionally using voice building to develop vocal technique, teach choral concepts, and develop aural skills

How much planning goes into your warmups?  In our days of limited rehearsal time and the pressure to accomplish so much in a short amount of time, Price will demonstrate how to effectively use warmups intentionally and with purpose.

 2. Connecting, building, and maintaining positive relationships with students

Professional educator and master teacher Rita Pierson once remarked that “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Price will offer strategies for connecting with students and how to win over challenging students.

3. Successful sightreading – how to teach beginners from ground zero to being ready for state assessments by the end of the school year

It can be daunting trying to meet the needs of students who may be at different levels of musicianship and sightreading readiness – all in the same choral ensemble!  Price will take session participants through his steps of teaching and preparing students to successfully learn to sightread.

4. Why reinvent the wheel? You can teach an old dog new tricks

Many of the best teaching strategies have been “borrowed” from other teachers.  Find out some of Price’s best teaching practices and classroom management strategies that have been learned, borrowed, and adapted to meet his classroom needs.  Session participants will be encouraged to share one of the best strategies that they have “stolen” from someone else.

5. Tried and proven middle school “gems”

Come to this session to discover (or rediscover) middle school tried and proven “gems.”  Each of these treble and tenor-bass selections have been taught successfully to Price’s choirs throughout his teaching career.  Participants will receive a reading packet and will have an opportunity to sing through each piece as a reading choir.