Hi students, parents, and friends! My name is Katie Traxler, and I teach elementary music at PS51 Elias Howe, a public school in Manhattan, NY. In addition to daily music classes, I lead an after school chorus, recorder ensembles, Orff ensemble, and guitar and ukulele classes. Committed to collaboration among the arts, I work closely with our visual arts teacher, Shani Perez, to maintain an arts rich curriculum integrating music, movement, drama, and visual art across all grade levels.
I also work as a consultant and clinician for various education organizations in New York City including the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, Abundant Waters, Manhattan Girls Chorus and the Harmony Program. I conduct workshops and seminars for various Orff chapters and universities across the United States.
Originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana, I received my BME and MM degrees in Music Education from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. GEAUX TIGERS! I earned my Orff Schulwerk Level 1 and 2 certificates from Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and my Level 3 certificate in NYC at the Trevor Institute. Most recently I completed the official AOSA Apprenticeship at the San Francisco International Orff Course in CA. I have studied Dalcroze Eurhythmics at both the Diller-Quaile and Lucy Moses schools. I completed my Kodaly Level 1 training at NYU. I am currently a member of the NYCCAOSA (Orff) Chapter, the Tri-State DSA (Dalcroze) Chapter, and the KONY (Kodaly) Chapter.
I have always enjoyed playing music from a very young age. I started taking piano classes when I was 6 and continued through college. I studied percussion in high school which ultimately led to a music scholarship to LSU. I began teaching music when I was in high school at summer camps and churches. When I moved to college, I worked as a music director and accompanist at several different churches, taught private lessons, and freelanced as a percussionist before finally becoming a full-time public school music teacher. Having taught K-12 at one time or another, I discovered my FAVORITE thing to teach is elementary music. I have always enjoyed singing and dancing and playing music with young people. It just doesn’t feel like work to me!
I am currently in my sixth year of teaching PreK-5 music at PS 51 Elias Howe Elementary in Manhattan, NY, in Hell’s Kitchen. It is the most amazing school with incredible teachers, students, parents, and a very supportive administration. My students are passionate about learning everything they can about making music together. They inspire me every single day, and I hope that they feel the same about me.
I am excited to be serving my fourth and final year as the President of the New York City Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association chapter. This organization stands for something I am very passionate about- spreading the Orff Schulwerk philosophy to children and educators everywhere. I have just accepted a position on the AOSA Advocacy Committee in order to continue the important work in the music education field that teachers are doing every day. In addition to this volunteer work, I will be teaching the Basic Pedagogy Class for the NYC Orff Certification Program for the first time this fall. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of such a fantastic team!
While I love being part of the educational community and living in NYC, one of the most precious parts of my life remains far away in Louisiana- my family. The two most beautiful children in the world, my niece and nephew, Isabelle and Drew, are the light of my life. My favorite part of the year is to jet away back home to be with them and with my sister (who also happens to be a teacher)! This past summer Izzy and I started playing recorder together! I love bringing the joy of music into their lives and sharing my passion with them.