CCM alumna Angela Ammerman, née Hamester (BM Music Education, 2006), is gaining a great deal of attention thanks to her engaging approach to music education. In a recent Washington Post profile, reporter Moriah Balingit suggested, “If there was ever a music teacher prodigy, Angela Ammerman might be it.”

A teacher at Annandale High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, Ammerman was recently named the Virginia Orchestra Director of the Year by the American String Teachers Association. The Washington Post describes the honor as follows:

“It’s an award she earned for her one-of-a-kind method of teaching music, engaging students who range from the experienced elite to recent immigrants who are picking up an instrument for the first time.”

CCM alumna Angela Ammerman.

CCM alumna Angela Ammerman.

In describing her approach to the classroom to the Washington Post, Ammerman explained, “The kids don’t realize they’re learning. I just try to make the class environment really fun.”

A native of Cincinnati, Ammerman earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from CCM and then pursued her masters degree at Boston University. She is currently working on her PhD in Music Education at George Mason University.

In the course of her studies, Ammerman has performed under the direction of distinguished conductors James Levine, Erich Kunzel, Xian Zhang, Steven Coker and Mark Gibson. She studied piano with Michael Chertock and Richard Morris. Additionally, Ammerman studied music education theory and practice with authorities Lizbeth Wing, and McGraw Hill’s Multi-Cultural Specialist Rene Boyer.

Upon graduation from CCM, Ammerman taught general music classes for Miamisburg City Schools in Miamisburg, Ohio. In 2007, she and her husband relocated to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where she was appointed Orchestra Director of Swansboro Middle and High School. While in North Carolina, Ammerman drastically increased orchestra membership, consistently received superior ratings at festival, and was selected Beginning Teacher of the Year.

In 2010, Ammerman was awarded the position of Orchestra Director at Robinson Middle School and Bonnie Brae Elementary School.  While living in Stafford, Ammerman also conducted the Rappahannock Youth Symphony’s Primo Orchestra from 2011-14

Ammerman currently maintains an orchestra program of nearly 150 students at Annandale High School in Fairfax County Public Schools.

Ammerman’s research has been featured in the American String Teacher Association’s 2014 Fall Issue and the National Association for Music Educators’ 2014 National Research Conference in St. Louis. Ammerman has presented research and practical sessions at International, National and State Music Education Conferences.

Ammerman’s studies and experiences have laid the groundwork for her philosophy of music education: that Critical Pedagogy provides students with a transformative and synergetic learning environment. Ammerman looks forward to helping students realize that music is a culturally valuable activity for everyone’s enjoyment; that music is historically relevant, provides a lab for students to apply the scientific method, and is a universal form of self and group expression.

Ammerman lives with her husband, Allen Ammerman, and three dogs in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, American String Teachers Association and has been a guest conductor in All County and All City Orchestras. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, watching The Office, shoe shopping and practicing!

You can read her profile in the Washington Post at www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/fairfax-music-teacher-lauded-for-her-electrifying-methods/2015/12/06/d587163c-9ace-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.

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