Thursday, June 28, 2012
Our music education program is recognized as one of the finest in the
country and its international reputation continues to grow. This month,
Music Education Program Coordinator Associate Professor Deborah Blair
will travel to Thessaloniki, Greece to the 2012 World Conference of the
International Society of Music Education (ISME). She will present a
research paper on supporting the development of teacher identity through
reflective practice at the Music in Schools and Teacher Education
Commission (MISTEC). Deb will also present a teacher workshop at the
main ISME conference on teaching jazz for elementary school children.
Also attending the conference and presenting will be OU music education doctoral students Shinko Kondo and Spiros Xydas.
Shinko will speak on “Musical Communication: Scaffolding in Beginning
Piano Learning." It is a qualitative study that considers the role of
the teacher and how the teacher may scaffold learners in a way that
fosters creative transformation that does not stifle student’s emerging
musical competences. The research is based on the social constructivist
perspective that believes learning is a profoundly social process.
Spiros will speak on “Composing and Sharing as an Integral Part of a
School Instrumental Performance Curriculum.” His middle school students
are offered many opportunities to create original compositions
throughout the year, which he believes fosters a deeper musical
understanding and develops new insights for them as performers, thus
enhancing their learning and allowing them to become successful young
musicians. You can read more about the conference here.
Professor Blair was one of three speakers representing our music program
at OU’s recent e-Cornucopia: Creativity Through Technology Conference,
presented by the university’s e-Learning and Instructional Support
Services Department. Deb spoke about using iPads in the music classroom
and the ways in which their use is changing the processes of performing,
creating and listening to music. Also speaking that day were Phyllis White and Jenine Brown.
Through their different topics, both addressed the ways open source
software and web-based applications now allow non-musical specialists to
express their creativity.
Continuing on the theme of recognition, the recent Paint Creek Regional Arts and
Culture Awards evening was yet more proof of the strength of our
reputation. Rochester Hills mayor Bryan Barnett spoke eloquently
of the pride the city feels in being the professional home of so
distinguished a scholar as our department chair Jackie Wiggins. Joining the mayor in making the presentation was local businessman and sponsor of the award Gerald Salerno.
In other news, our Technical Director Brent Wrobel recently
returned from a trip to Los Angeles, where he was working as lighting director on new
pilots for game shows aiming for the fall line-up. Brent has a
long-standing freelance arrangement with Team Imagination, a lighting
design company. After graduating from University of Michigan, Flint,
Brent moved to Los Angeles and worked full time for Team Imagination for
two years. “I didn’t like California!” Brent says. Nevertheless, he has
returned there most summers ever since. This year he worked on three
episodes of Pyramid which is being produced by Embassy Row, a subsidiary
of Sony Pictures, for the Game Show Network. He also lent his expertise
to the pilot for another game show for NBC, but is contractually unable
to supply any details. The show uses a technology never before used on
a game show and Brent has signed a confidentiality agreement. We are
intrigued! Read more about Team Imagination here.
Opera Program Coordinator Assistant Professor Drake Dantzler’s recently completed gig could not be more different. In June he sang Rudolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème
for Arbor Opera Theater at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in Ann Arbor.
About his experience Drake says, “As a teacher, I find it invaluable to
perform. It sharpens my artistic ideas, inspires me with new musical
and technical concepts, and creates valuable connections for my
students, both professionally and educationally.” Drake and his wife Alta Dantzler, who also teaches voice at OU, will spend the rest of the summer teaching at Interlochen Arts Academy.
Many of our faculty are in demand at summer events and camps. Associate Professor Ken Kroesche will teach at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp this month. He will direct a British Brass Band for adults from July 18 – 21. Find more details here or contact Ken via his email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, a reminder that you can see Assistant Professor Anthony Guest
on stage at the Flint Youth Theatre as Captain Hook in Peter Pan,
opening July 13. We are delighted to be able to pass along the news that
alumna Donna Buckley (B.A. Theatre Production ’03) is designing costumes for the production. For more information visit FYT’s website here.
Photo: Gerald Salerno, Jackie Wiggins and Mayor Bryan Barnett at the Regional Arts and Culture Awards. Photo by Eric Haney.