Brain Research, Learning and the Arts: Emotion, Movement, and Persistence (3–6)

Discussion and demonstration of principles and specific strategies to integrate the arts and STEM content to deeply engage students in learning using the neurologically powerful tools of emotion, movement, and persistence. 

Loretta WalkerLoretta Walker

Loretta Walker began her career in Arizona, where she taught elementary band and general music after graduating from Brigham Young University. She then earned a master's degree in music education, specializing in woodwinds, at the University of North Texas and an interdisciplinary PhD in Education (Curriculum & Instruction) and Music at Arizona State University.

Since moving to Utah in 1997, Dr. Walker has taught in a variety of universities and school districts. At the University of Utah, she was responsible for all students certifying to teach kindergarten through third grade. In Davis County, she taught music to every child in her school, K-6, each week. She was then on the Education faculty at Weber State University, where she taught core classes in the elementary education and master's of education programs. She then returned to the elementary classroom, teaching general music, orchestra, dance, and drama to a very diverse population of students in grades K-6 in over a dozen schools. She was also a teacher leader of others in similar positions. Additionally she taught courses at Brigham Young University and Salt Lake Community College, and did extensive consulting work for the Utah State Office of Education.

Loretta now thoroughly enjoys being part of the GAINS team in Nebo District, where she works with teachers and students to explore connections between music and other elementary subjects.

She has published numerous academic articles and a book. She plays clarinet with the Orchestra at Temple Square, part of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square family of performing groups. She loves spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. They enjoy working together on projects around the house and watching their chickens act like chickens.

Holly Markgraf-MayneHolly Markgraf-Mayne

Holly has been a performer since early childhood. She has always loved the arts, which have played a vital role in her life. Currently she is a private vocal coach and continues to sing professionally when she is not dancing.  “Dance was always a way to express and communicate what I couldn’t  write down in words. Music was always a way I could express what I felt in my heart and share with others.” When she is not teaching dance, she can be found singing, teaching private voice, performing, creating things, and playing with her kiddos (ages 3-4) and her dear, patient husband, finding all kinds of adventures. She loves getting her hands dirty gardening and making things beautiful. She also loves making friends and being with family.  She is great at making sandwiches and has helped manage her parents’ Hogi Yogi in Springville for many years.

Holly danced with Brigham Young Dance Makers for 14 years and sang throughout the state doing programs for Utah State Legislature and other groups. At age 8 she toured the Western States with Saturday’s Warrior and played Annie in a BYU Homecoming Spectacular. She won the State Fair Talent Competition and recorded Janice Kapp Perry’s “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” including songs like “Love is Spoken Here,” “I Love to See the Temple,” and others.

Holly graduated from Springville High School and then attended Utah State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Science, along with minors in Spanish and Music. She was awarded Utah State University's Sunburst Singer/Dancer scholarship for four years and was able to tour Japan, Thailand, California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. She danced with the Utah State University Dance Company “Dance Works” for two years. Holly served a mission in Argentina and San Fernando California and taught seminary in Spanish Fork. She has been a performer in Sundance Summer Theatre. She sang backup for Barry Manilow and was a guest performer on the ABC Touched By an Angel TV Thanksgiving Special as a singer and actor.

 For the past 14 years she has performed as a Sun Valley Caroler and New Year’s Eve performer. Holly sang at the Los Angeles California Cameo Awards Night and has appeared as guest vocal artist with the Murray Symphony. Her volunteer work has included appearing as a guest motivational speaker for youth groups throughout Utah and acting a guest choreographer for Repertory Dance Theatre's Charlette fundraiser. She was a Springville Art Queen and volunteer, and for several years she has helped with the Springville Folkfest as a host, translator, volunteer, and guest performer.   

Teaching has also been an important part of Holly's life. When she attended BYU Hawaii, she was a guest teacher/choreographer. She has taught at BYU Summer Dance Camps and has also taught as a BYU Children’s Dance Teacher for five years, all levels and ages. She received her teaching certificate from Utah Valley University, where she was on the dean’s list. She has been a guest presenter at UVU Arts Conferences, and has taught at the National daCi (Dance and the Child International) Dance Conference in Seattle.  She is a member of the Utah Dance Education Organization as well as the National Dance Organization. Holly taught as a Beverley Taylor Sorenson (BTS) specialist for three years, teaching at Redwood Elementary in Granite School District and Hobble Creek Elementary in Nebo School District to help kindergarten to sixth grade classroom teachers integrate their core. Her students from Redwood Elementary and Hobble Creek Elementary were asked to perform at Utah daCi.  She has also taught at summer workshops for Bantu Refugees.

Robert MarsdenRobert Marsden

Robert Marsden began his musical career very early, as his parents played music to him before he was born. His childhood musical studies began with the violin and the piano, but he later chose to devote his musical interests to playing the cello. Rob studied music performance at Brigham Young University with cellist Roger Drinkall and conductor Clynn Barrus. While attending BYU, Rob worked as radio host for KBYU-FM, Classical 89. Following his education at BYU, Rob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of Utah, while performing as cellist in the University of Utah Honors String Quartet and as principal cellist of the Utah Philharmonia.

 Rob began his career as an educator by teaching elementary music in the Provo School District, later relocating to Kaysville where he taught orchestra for Davis School District. Rob’s students thrived in an environment that carefully balanced fun-loving humor with hard work to accomplish musical goals. In 1999 Rob left the classroom to serve as a music education consultant for Riverton Music and Summerhays Music. This career change offered him invaluable experiences working with music teachers all over the western United States. In 2010, Rob returned to the elementary music classroom in Granite School District, where he worked with many diverse groups of students and spent time training and instructing other teachers.

Rob is a devoted father of four children, all of whom are pursuing their own musical gifts. An avid woodworker, he can also be found in a pile of wood shavings or a cloud of dust when time permits. Rob is frequently recruited as an adjudicator and guest clinician. He also works as a recording studio artist, having recorded numerous movie and television shows including Pocahontas, 101 Dalmatians, Operation Dumbo Drop, Starship Troopers, Hercules, Xena Warrior Princess, and others. He has served as public relations liaison on the Utah Music Educators Association Board and is a regular presenter at music conferences and events.