Congratulations to our first two Spark Grant Recipients, Lori Arner and Brett Hawkins!

Lori Arner

Lori Arner is an Elementary General Music Teacher in Council Rock School District, as well as a Doctoral student at Temple University. Lori will be using her grant to assist in her Doctoral Research Project, “Examining Factors that Impact Use of Movement in Elementary General Music Class: A Mixed-Methods Study,” where she will be exploring the factors of school socioeconomic status, teacher professional development, physical classroom space, and class size as they correlate to the implementation of movement in public and private elementary general music classes. Her intent is to uncover how these factors interplay in the music teacher’s choice to use different types of movement- specifically non-locomotor movement, prescriptive folk dance, and creative elemental approaches.

By illuminating the largest roadblocks to elemental music & movement education, this research may enable teachers, curriculum writers, administrators, and other stakeholders to better understand factors that influence the use of movement. The examination of this information will be important to the field because it may reveal uninvestigated disadvantages students of underserved populations face, especially in regard to the benefits of music & movement education. The research is being conducted under the supervision of Dr. Alison Reynolds (Temple University) as part of a doctoral research project during the course of the 2019-2020 school year. Lori’s Spark grant will be used to obtain access to the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) Mailing list as well as a SurveyMonkey account to obtain her data. We look forward to hearing all about Lori’s findings and are thrilled that we were able to assist in this important research.


Brett Hawkins


Brett Hawkins is an elementary music educator at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Perry Township Schools, South Indianapolis. Brett’s district is very diverse with students from various ethnicities including Chin/Burmese, Hispanic, African-American, Middle Eastern, West African, and Caucasian. Special programs within his school include the following: Holiday program (grades 1-3), elementary district music festival (bi-annually for grades 3-5), a brand new Veteran’s Day program in 2019 (grade 5), the POP ensemble (instrumental group for grades 3-5), folk dance group in the spring (grades 3-5), etc. Special collaborations include the following: Bongo Boys Drum Circle programs for 2nd-3rd grades, Naptown Jazz Five group for 4th-5th grade, a mariachi band for 4th-5th grade, a 3rd grade field trip to see the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, etc. Brett will be using his grant to obtain a set of pre-tuned Remo Fiberskyn frame drums in various sizes for his music classroom. His hope is that these instruments will bring out a new dimension in his classroom and help to serve the needs of all of his students including those who are gifted, those with special needs, those that deal with major trauma, those from different backgrounds and cultures, etc. Brett is looking to incorporate the frame drums with creative movement and programs, especially after gaining insight from both Jim Solomon’s drumming course and his in Orff Schulwerk levels training. We are thrilled to get to see what amazing activities and experiences come from Brett’s students using these instruments.

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