Last Monday, many NJ schools had the day off. However, numerous NJ elementary music educators took the day to learn from one of the greatest elementary music educators/authors/musicians/clinicians around: Dr. Jill Trinka.


    Figure 1

There were several highlights from the workshop:

  • Jill is a skilled performer on the guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, and banjo. She started the workshop with the folk song, “When I First Came to this Land” played on her guitar, and ended with a fast-paced, folk dance played on her dulcimer.
  • Jill has numerous publications available at Some of her most famous ones include My Little Rooster (vol.1), Bought Me A Cat (vol. 2), John, The Rabbit (vol. 3), and The Little Black Bull (vol. 4)(see figure 1).
  • Dr. Trinka is a renowned Kodály educator and trainer with well-deserved accolades such as the American Kodály Outstanding Educator Award in 2003.
  • I loved the concept of the dots representing the beat (see figure 2).
  • I adored that she reminded us that when students are creating with the felt notation manipulatives, that the beat needs to be at the beginning (see figure 3). It is easy to forget to remind elementary students to do this.
  • The folk dancing kept everyone on their toes. It also represented numerous skills being taught from the definition of play parties to working together as an ensemble to produce a successful dance.

        Figure 2

  • The Skylands Dulcimer String Band performed at the luncheon and they were wonderful! One of the best quotes from the ensemble was,
    • “None of us are music majors. We are all retired. We come from various backgrounds. We have all really loved music, but it was not until we got retire that we got to do something that we always wanted to do.”
    • This is what we do as music educators! We inspire!

Amazing Day!

It was an amazing day of learning and “doing” music. A big thank you goes to the 30+ committee members at the North Jersey School Music Association! To see the handouts from Jill’s workshop, please visit their site at


        Figure 3

I have a created a free 60-minute webinar featuring highlights from this workshop. This will be available shortly for all to view. Those with current NJMEA/NAfME memberships can view the webinar, write a summary, and answer a question that is sent to me to earn an hour of PD. Stay tuned!







Photo Credit: NJSMA

Photo Credit: NJSMA

Photo Credit: NJSMA

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