Dr. Joyce McCall honored with National Minority Role Model Award

Dr. Joyce McCall

Dr. Joyce McCall

Joyce McCall, Postdoctoral Resident Scholar/Visiting Assistant Professor in the Music Education Department, will be honored as a Minority Access National Role Model at the Seventeenth Minority Access National Role Models Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 1, 2016. Past recipients include the first African American Attorney General, Eric Holder, and Vice Admiral Adam M. Robinson, Jr., the first African American Surgeon General of the United States Navy. The Minority Access’ National Role Models Conference assembles high achieving innovators, recruiters, researchers, faculty, administrators, students, mentors and alumni, as well as institutions that have been exemplary in producing minority researchers. Dr. McCall believes that one of the greatest accomplishments any person can achieve is to pass on their knowledge and experience to those who have been otherwise defined by boundaries of marginalization and privilege.

Dr. McCall earned a Ph. D. in Music Education from Arizona State University and a Master of Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to her appointment at IU, she served as an assistant band director at MacArthur High School in Houston, Texas. She has also served as a woodwind and marching band specialist in Mississippi and Alabama.

In efforts to create more inclusive structures in music and education, McCall’s research focuses on the intersections of race, class, and culture in educational settings, as well as intersecting formal and informal strategies through the use of popular music and digital culture. She has proudly served as a clarinetist in the United States Army Bands from 1999 to present. Previous assignments include the 151st Army Band in Montgomery, Ala.; 41st Army Band in Jackson, Miss.; and 36th Infantry Division Band in Austin, Texas. Currently, she is a member of the 36th Infantry Division Band. She is also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women.



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Brent Gault Releases Two New Books


gault books

Brent Gault  had two new books released this past spring. “Teaching General Music” (co-edited with Carlos Abril of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music) and “Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening” were both released by Oxford University Press.

Brent Gault is professor of music education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

He has taught elementary and early childhood music courses in Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. He specializes in elementary general music education, early childhood music education, and Kodály-inspired methodology. He also has training in both the Orff and Dalcroze approaches to music education.

Gault has presented sessions and research at conferences of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Dalcroze Society of America, International Kodály Society, International Society for Music Education, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and National Association for Music Education. In addition, he has served as a presenter and guest lecturer for colleges and music education organizations in the United States, Canada, China, and Ireland.

Articles by Gault have been published in various music education periodicals, including the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, General Music Today, Kodály Envoy, Orff Echo, and American Dalcroze Journal.

In addition to his duties with the Music Education Department, Gault serves as the program director for the Indiana University Children’s Choir, where he conducts the Allegro Choir. He is a past president of the Organization of American Kodály Educators.

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Music in Education: Making music helps strengthen other skills

Part 2 of a three-part series


Sixth Grader Isaac Webster, center, started showing signs of improvement in music and other studies when he was in the second grade. Isaac gives a lot of credit for helping him learn. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Isaac Webster, a sixth-grader at Grandview Elementary School, is a quiet kid. But hand him a drum or some spoons, and suddenly his volume goes up.

He says he likes music class because it makes him feel good about himself.

“I worked really hard on practicing (songs), and it makes me feel good when I get in front of people and perform,” he said.

Isaac “investigates” sounds using bongos, a drum set or beat boxing and says it’s hard to explain how he feels about music, but that he likes to have fun with it and play with sound.

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Lisa Voss uses her grade book to determine who hasn’t had a classroom award recently as students from Abby Seifers’ class line up for dismissal. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

That’s what he loves about Lisa Voss’ class at Grandview.

“Mrs. Voss lets kids do what they want in music. She’s really generous and nice. She’s the best music teacher I’ve ever had,” he said.

It isn’t just in Voss’ class that Isaac finds his own rhythm, though. His music lessons resonate throughout his other subjects.

“I like music because it gives me an inspiration and helps me in counting and finding patterns,” Isaac said.

It’s also a motivator when he’s working on a test.

“If I get off track, I think of me playing my drum set for a second, and then I can get back on task and work,” he said.

Isaac’s not the only Monroe County Community School Corp. student who has found out there’s a relationship between music and math.

Luke Kopp, a second-grader at University Elementary in Maggie Olivo’s music class, said he comes up with songs to help him with math. By putting numbers to songs, he’s able to do better. Music is also a relief and makes him feel good.

“It’s something to look forward to after math,” Luke said. “Music gets into my brain.”

Luke’s dad, David Kopp, says there’s no doubt he’s seen a difference in Luke due to music class.

“He is a very emotionally transparent kid. Period. And this is never more evident than when he is dancing and listening to music or playing and singing music of his own. His passion for music radiates,” Kopp said in an email.

Kopp’s noticed that music helps Luke let loose and be himself. It’s helped him overcome social anxiety, too.

“He not only enjoys that creative freedom and release, but he needs it to balance out his day. The biggest compliment I can give him about his approach and response to music class is that when I see him in the hall afterwards, with rosy cheeks, a sweaty forehead and his sweatshirt tied around his waist, it looks as if he has just come from P.E. instead,” Kopp said.

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Second-grader Bailey Morgan conducts during the singing of a memory song. Bailey volunteered for the task and his classmates followed along as he pointed at the notes. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Katy Strand, associate professor of music at Indiana University and chairwoman of IU’s music education department, is not surprised to hear that kids are finding music helpful in other subjects. What students at MCCSC experience in music class is born out in research, which shows links between musical training and stronger reading skills, memory and math skills.

“We’ve known for a long time music is one of the greatest mnemonic aids we’ve ever had,” Strand said referring to the alphabet song and “Fifty Nifty United States.”

The advantage of engaging in music goes beyond memorizing letters, states and numbers, however. Studies in neuroscience have shown music stimulates the entire brain in a way that no other learning experience does, she said.

At the same time, Strand asserts studying music has merits of its own, whether it has an influence across disciplines or not.

“Music is valid for study by itself. It’s ubiquitous. It’s been known to exist in every culture that’s ever been examined,” she said.

Its functions are varied, including communication, expression, art, ritual and play. In addition, music affects the way children understand themselves and the universe.

“If we as a culture turn back to educating the whole child, arts are tremendously important,” she said. A good teacher doesn’t hurt, either.

Music education hasn’t been exempt from the statewide teacher shortage the Indiana Department of Education has been studying lately, but Strand doesn’t seem too worried.

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Fourth-grader Brayden LaGarde asks questions about the music the students will be rehearsing for the Veterans Day program at Grandview Elementary last fall. Voss has directed a Veterans Day show since she started teaching in 2001. Chris Howell|Herald-Times

“Teaching is a hard profession. There is a shortage, but there are still people wanting to enter the field,” she said. “Students coming into the music education program say they were inspired and motivated by their music teachers. They have great energy, and eight out of 10 are inspired by a teacher who showed them the joy and passion of music, and they want to pass it on.”

The significance of what she’s doing in the classroom isn’t lost on Voss.

“It’s mind-blowing to think how much influence you have as a teacher, but I have a lot of influence to impact their future even if they don’t go into music education, but just simply learning how to enjoy it, how to appreciate it,” she said.

  • By Mary Keck Former H-T Staff Writer © Herald Times Online
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IU Jacobs School of Music professor appointed President of American String Teachers Association Board of Directors

Dr. Brenda Brenner, Associate Professor of Music Education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, has been appointed president of the American String Teachers Association‘s Board of Directors. She will serve a two year term as president and will act as a member of the executive committee for the next six years.

Founded nearly 70 years ago, ASTA is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers. ASTA provides professional development, career building & support, and a community of peers for all teachers of stringed instruments. Its vision is to enrich lives through universal access to fine string teaching and playing.

Dr. Brenner specializes in string music education, teaching applied violin, as well as courses in violin and string pedagogy. In addition to her role in the Music Education Department, she serves as co-director of the IU String Academy and assistant director of the IU Retreat for Professional Violinists and Violists. Her String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues the United States, France, Japan, Sweden, Spain, and she will soon be traveling to South America with the Jacobs School’s Violin Virtuosi.

An active teacher and performer of chamber music, Dr. Brenner earned both her Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees at the Eastman School of Music.

Congratulations, Dr. Brenner!

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Lucas Debard wins Great American Songbook Competition

Incoming freshman Lucas Debard, majoring in Music Education with a minor in Jazz Studies, is the 2015 winner of the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award. The 18-year-old is from Lebanon, Ind. During the final concert, on July 25, he sang American standards “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and a mash-up of “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “I Have Dreamed.”

As the first place winner, Debard gets the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy- and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer and founder of The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein. The winner will serve as the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year.

DeBard is a 2015 graduate of Lebanon High School. He was very active in the Lebanon High School Music Department as a member of Madrigals, Charisma Show Choir, musical casts, musical pit orchestras, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and marching band. He plays weekly at Lebanon Christian Church at the youth service “4:12.” He has been a featured performer at Lebanon’s Back to the Fifties, fourth of July events, and Thorntown Festival of the Turning Leaves. This year, he received three Grand Champion awards at show choir solo competitions and received numerous music scholarships and awards. He teaches private lessons at the Little Black Box Theatre in Lebanon.

The Great American Songbook Foundation selected 40 students from across the country to participate in the 2015 Great American Songbook Academy from July 19-25 on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Ind. High school vocalists representing 16 states have worked with mentors that included Michael Feinstein, Tony-nominee and Broadway star Laura Osnes, and Grammy- winner Sylvia McNair. The mentors selected the Youth Ambassador at the end of the final performance.

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Neil Hicks, IU JSOM Music Education student recognized with national award

Neil Hicks has been recognized by the National Association for Music Education
for his commitment and dedication to music education and has been awarded a
Professional Achievement Award. He has distinguished himself through his service
as an officer for the IU chapter of NAfME over the past several years and has
been instrumental in the success of the organization.

Neil Hicks is a senior from Chesterton, Indiana majoring in music education at the Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music. Interested in all aspects of teaching
instrumental music, Neil is pursuing a dual degree in both band and orchestra
education, as well as minors in conducting and jazz studies. His principal
saxophone teachers at IU have been Otis Murphy and Thomas Walsh, and he has
played with the IU Concert and Symphonic Bands, the Jeremy Allen Big Band, the
Steve Allee Big Band, and the Marching Hundred. Neil has also served as the
president of IU’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music
Education and is an active member of the National Band Association. He is
currently student teaching at North Central High School near Indianapolis, where
he works with each of the four concert bands and two jazz bands in the program.
In his free time, Neil enjoys cooking and reading.

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Jacobs Alums’ Recording Project Released

Lost in a kissJacobs alums Sean Baker (BM Jazz ’93) and John Porter (BME ’05, MME ’14) collaborated on crooner Peter Oprisko’s latest release entitled “Lost in a Kiss” this summer. The album, which was released on November 22, is available for purchase on Oprisko’s website.
Get Album Here:  http://www.peteroprisko.com/recordings-samples/product/8-lost-in-a-kiss

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Jacobs School of Music ranked #2 on the list of Top 10 Colleges for Music Education Majors in the US

Here Are the Top 10 Colleges for Music Education Majors In the US

By Bill Zuckerman


Music education is, without even a close second, the most popular college major musicians pursue in the United States.

The reasoning behind this is very simple – music education students have the highest rate of employment out all music majors just coming out of an undergraduate degree.

Music education graduates are needed at just about every public and private K-12 institution in the US that has a music program. The job market is, unlike with many other college majors and degrees, exceptionally favorable for music education graduates.

When making this list of the top music education colleges in the US, I looked at the employment rate of students who graduate with music education degrees at different schools, the depth and variety of research the specific program conducts, the strength, reputation, and publishing history of the faculty, what kinds of connections the school has to K-12 institutions in its area, the curriculum, and other factors, such as the overall strength of the school.

But before we talk about the top 10 colleges for music education majors, keep in mind a couple things when choosing the music education school best for you.

A music education program prepares you for statewide certification in the specific state you go to school in. So, while a school like Indiana University has a widely heralded and known music education program, if you don’t foresee yourself making a living in Indiana in your future, then perhaps it is not in your best interest to go to that particular school.

That said, you can still get certified in any state if you meet the requirements, it’s just the requirements do vary from state to state and it could take some extra work outside of just your degree to meet the minimum requirements.

There are other tips you should know about when choosing a career in music education – this article published in late October can give you some ideas.

Ok, so let’s get into it – here are the top 10 colleges for music education majors in the US…


2. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN


Long considered one of the foremost colleges for music education in the entire US, Indiana University’s music education graduates frequently enjoy a near 100% employment rate at various Indiana K-12 schools. The program not only provides an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum to its music education majors, but also allows students to choose a music education focus in one of four major areas: choral, general, band, and orchestra. No matter what your goals as a student are at this major music education hub, you will find a program that fits your interests well.

An exceptionally well-rounded institution we recently qualified as the best overall music school in the US, music education majors at IU never run out of opportunities to perform in music ensembles at the school. There is never an orchestra spot, choir seat, or other specialty ensemble that can’t be filled with an aspiring music teacher. IU is an excellent choice for those who wish to double major in both an elite performance and education program.

Additionally, the schools provides students with the opportunity to work with major music education associations as well as with public music teachers who already have years of experience under their belt. Student apprentice teaching, of course, is a requirement of all music education majors as well.

At the graduate level, the level and depth of research that students explore at IU are fascinating, rich, and exceptionally varied. Some topics that the college’s published Philosophy of Music Education Review include examinations of musical instruction using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) based composition, the evolution of systems utilized in music education, the implications of free improvisation in the classroom, and the relationships between music and spirituality.

The faculty at the program is second to none, and includes notable music education researchers and professors such as Brent Gault, past president of the Organization of Kodaly Educators, and Patrice Ward-Steinman, a widely published author in the field of music education.


Read the full article here:


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Madura’s 7th book is out!

MaduraVocal Improvisation Games For Singers and Choral Groups

by Jeffrey Agrell / Patrice Madura Ward-Steinman

“This book is a must-have resource for all choral music educators. The extensive collection of vocal games is phenomenal. They are presented clearly and simply, providing teachers and students an excellent entry point to learning improvisation while also giving more experienced improvisers effective tools for teaching and sharing their creative art. The authors also clearly demonstrate the importance of teaching improvisation as a part of a comprehensive musicianship pedagogy that includes both literate and aural traditions.”


Brad Rees

Director of the award-winning a cappella group Up in the Air

Music Department Director

Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio


“This book should be required reading for every person studying music education, vocal pedagogy, musical performance, elementary education, and/or life-long musicianship. The games provide a natural conduit for individual self-expression rooted in one’s authentic self. With regular incorporation of these games into our classrooms, choirs, and lives, we can delve easily and playfully into our own individual self-expressive beauty, and our instructional repertoire and tools will increase exponentially. Instrumentalists, dancers, and actors could also experience significant artistic growth using this excellent resource. It is a must-have for all vocal pedagogues and lovers of music making.”


Mary L. Cohen

Associate Professor of Music Education

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa


“Agrell and Madura have written an extraordinary book that has application for teaching and artistry in a wide range of settings. Improvisation is central to music making. Agrell and Madura assist both the uninitiated and the experienced singer and teacher to develop vocal improvisation in an atmosphere of challenge and inspiration. I highly recommend this book to all who value the voice and appreciate its potential as a creative instrument.”


Andre de Quadros

Professor of Music, Boston University


“Although the National Standards for the Arts have been an established foundation of music education for many years now, the use of #3 (improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments) still escapes me. Usually, I just ignore it and hope no one notices. How on earth would I include jazz  in my traditional concert choir of 100 students? But in my heart as a music educator, I understand the value of training young musicians. The problem is figuring out how to make it happen.

Vocal Improvisation Games may just be the answer. It is a hands-on, how-to guide with exercises that show jazz is not the only kind of improvisation, and that improvisation can be incorporated in any kind of music making. The games are typically short and inclusive and can be built into the warm-up routine of any ensemble. I am looking forward to including many of these ideas in my daily rehearsals this school year and not hiding from standard #3 any longer!”


Dr. Randi Carp

Choral director, Phoenixville High School, Phoenixville, PA

ACDA Eastern Regional Show Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair


Why don’t classical musicians improvise? Why do jazz players get to have all the fun? And how do improvisers develop such fabulous technique and aural skills?

With this book, Jeffrey Agrell and Patrice Madura Ward-Steinman open the door to improvisation for all non-jazz musicians who thought it was beyond their ability to play extemporaneously. Gently, step by step, Agrell and Madura lead us through a series of games rather than exercises. The game format takes the pressure off of classically trained musicians, steering them away from their fixation on mistake-free performance and introducing the basic concepts of playing with music itself instead of obsessing over a perfect rendition of a written score.

States authors: “Playing duets from the ink is fun and full of musical vitamins, but it needs a complimentary aural approach to develop all-around musicianship.” Vocal Improvisation Games for Singers and Choral Groups provide that complementary approach.

Price : $18.95

GIA Publications, Inc. | 7404 South Mason Avenue | Chicago, IL 60638


Copyright © 2014 GIA Publications, Inc.

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Professor Patrice Madura summer national activities and publications

MaduraPatrice Madura, professor of music education, presented a paper titled “Shifting Paradigms in Music Education Research” with Jacobs Professor Emerita Estelle Jorgensen at the NAfME Historical Research in Music Education conference in St. Augustine, Fla., in May 2014.

Madura also presented her new study, “Descriptive Characteristics of High-Achieving Secondary School Choral Music Teachers,” at the Indiana Choral Directors Association conference on July 2.

In addition, she spent five days in June in Salt Lake City, Utah, serving as national vocal jazz chair, in planning the national ACDA conference to be held there in February 2015

Her other accomplishments over the summer include:

Madura Ward-Steinman, P. (in press).  Choral Pedagogy Responds to the Media: Glee, The Voice, The Sing-Off, American Idol…  In Frank Abrahams & Paul D. Head  (Editors) Handbook of Choral Pedagogy.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Agrell, J. & Madura Ward-Steinman, P. (in press). Vocal Improvisation Games for Singers and Choral Groups. Chicago: GIA. Mark, M. L. & Madura, P. (2014). Contemporary Music Education, 4th Ed. Boston: adsworth/Cengage Learning.

Jorgensen, E. R. & Madura Ward-Steinman, P. (in press). Shifting Paradigms in Music Education Research (1953-1978): A Theoretical and Quantitative Re-Assessment.  Journal of Research in Music Education.

Madura Ward-Steinman, P. (2014).  The Vocal Improviser-Educator: An Analysis of selected American and Australian Educators’ Influences and Pedagogical Views.  International Journal of Music Education, 32(3), 346-359. doi:10.1177/0255761413515801

Madura, P. (2014, August).  Developing Improvisation Skill and the Confidence to Teach It.  Choral Journal, 55(1), 59-61.








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