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December, 21, 2023
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM




Chris Kaatz

Chris Kaatz
Abbigail Ramsey-Jones

Abbigail Ramsey-Jones
Coleman Spears

Coleman Spears

The Musical Decision Tree: A Tool for Effective Rehearsing

Clinic Synopsis:

Rehearsals provide students opportunities for artistic growth and discovery. The decision-tree style of rehearsing presented in this clinic helps educators of all levels prioritize student refinement opportunities in real-time. Attendees will explore pedagogical aspects of this method by actively engaging in guided self-reflections, discussions with other audience members, and mock applications of the approach. This method is visually represented through an accompanying handout and mobile app.

Chris Kaatz - Biographical Information

Dr. Chris Kaatz is the Assistant Director of Bands at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX where he serves as the Associate Director of the Lumberjack Marching and Director of the “Roarin’ Buzzsaws” Pep Band. In addition to his work with the fine athletic bands at SFA, he conducts the Symphonic Band, teaches courses in undergraduate conducting, instrumental methods, and marching band techniques, and mentors music education majors as a student teaching supervisor. From 2011–2014, he served three years as the Director of Bands at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese, IL. In this role, he served as the sole administrator of the music program, conducted the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Knights, Basketball Pep Band, Jazz Combo, and Noon Chorus, and taught courses in both beginning chorus and music appreciation. In addition to his full-time teaching appointments, he has taught at the SFA Summer Band Camps since 2019 and has served as an instructor at both the Music for All Summer Symposium and Smith Walbridge Drum Major Clinics. He holds a BM in Music Education and Minor in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University, an MM in Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a DMA from Northwestern University, and his primary teachers are Steve Davis and Mallory Thompson. Outside of his professional ventures, he enjoys quality time with his wife Lydia, son Lincoln, and a wonderful community of friends in Nacogdoches, loves playing in his church’s praise band, and treasures his regular travels to visit family in Michigan and Baltimore.

Abbigail Ramsey-Jones - Biographical Information

Mrs. Abbigail Ramsey-Jones currently serves as an Assistant Band Director in Needville ISD in Needville, TX, where she conducts the Junior High Concert Band, teaches beginner high brass, and assists with teaching the Blue Jay Marching Band. She is on brass staff at The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps and is an active drill writer and choreographer in Texas. Prior to her appointment at Needville ISD, she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Stephen F. Austin State University where she served as Assistant Director of the “Roarin’ Buzzsaws” Basketball Pep Band and University Band, assisted with The Lumberjack Marching Band and undergraduate conducting courses, and played horn in the Wind Ensemble and Horn Choir. As an undergraduate student at SFA, she served two seasons as drum major of The Lumberjack Marching Band, performed with all the concert and athletic bands, and graduated summa cum laude. She was a mellophone soloist with the Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps in 2018. She holds an MM in Conducting and BM in Music Education from SFA, her primary teachers are Dr. Tamey Anglley, Dr. David Campo, Dr. Chris Kaatz, Dr. Andrea Denis, and Dr. Charles Gavin. She is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Young Band Directors of Texas, Graduate Wind Conductors Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, and is an Honorary Member of Tau Beta Sigma. Outside of her professional commitments, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, James, and their two cocker spaniels, Bonnie and Rover.

Coleman Spears - Biographical Information

Coleman Spears is the Assistant Band Director at Pecos High School in Pecos, TX. He is excited to be in his second year of teaching at Pecos High School where he leads the Symphonic Band, the "Swingin' Eagles" Jazz Band, assists with the Pecos Eagle Marching Band, and teaches beginning horn and trumpet at Crockett Middle School. Mr. Spears is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned his BM in Music Education. He was a member of the horn studio under Dr. Andrea Denis and a member of the SFA Wind Ensemble under Dr. Tamey Anglley. While at SFA, Coleman served on staff with The Lumberjack Marching Band, was an Assistant Director of the “Roarin’ Buzzsaws” Basketball Pep Band, and worked as a band manager for the SFA Band Department. Additionally, he earned his BS in Computer Science at Abilene Christian University, where he played horn in the Wind Ensemble under Dr. Steven Ward, marched in the Big Purple Marching Band, and continues to arrange for the annual ACU student production, Sing Song. In his free time, Mr. Spears loves to arrange a wide variety of music, develop desktop and mobile applications, and play tabletop board games. He is passionate about music, technology, and empowering the next generation of students to utilize both studies in becoming better global citizens. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Association of Texas Small School Bands, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Sorority.