Research Interests

Music Technology and the Conservatory Curriculum

Music conservatories play an important role in the musical development of musicians (Clarfield, 2004). Many students often choose a particular conservatory for specific faculty members, prestige of the conservatory and the location of the conservatory (Landes, 2008). Nettl (1995) maintains that students and teachers in a conservatory setting build a family-like bond throughout their working relationship. It is for this reason that students often focus on teacher choice when selecting potential conservatories to attend. While the student-teacher relationship is important, other factors such as mature social skills, self-confidence, musicality and charisma contribute to student growth in conservatory settings (Jarvin & Subotnick, 2010). Clarfield (2004) argues that while music conservatories prepare students to become highly competent musicians, they do not necessarily adequately prepare students for life as a musician outside of the conservatory walls.

The use of technology in music education can positively impact the overall experience of students and create a deeper level of engagement that has the ability to augment and strengthen educational experiences (Rudolph, 2004). That being said, technology is not the only factor in student success. Student achievement and growth in music using technology is only possible with the presence of sound goals that are tightly integrated into curricula. Without imaginative integration into present pedagogical practices, the implementation of technology may not be relevant to student learning (Cuban, 2001).

Overarching Research Themes

  1. What role do music technology courses play in the music performance and music composition curricula of the conservatory?
  2. What are the student perceptions of the current state of music technology in the conservatory?
  3. What are the faculty perceptions of the current state of music technology in the conservatory?
  4. What relationship, if any, exists between traditional music performance and composition programs and programs that utilize music technology as a learning tool?

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. STEAM, an extension of STEM research, is beginning to gain traction in the academic community. STEAM includes the arts in STEM education to foster creativity.

Research has shown that students are more likely to choose STEM majors in post-secondary environments if they are exposed to STEM learning through technology-based activities in classrooms (Lee, 2011). Capturing students’ interest in STEM learning at an early age can increase the likelihood of continued STEM leaning, and ultimately, career pathways (DeJarnett, 2012). In recent years, increased attention has been focused on the low number of students who are pursuing STEM disciplines in colleges and universities throughout the United States (National Science Board, 2010). Students in the United States are quickly falling behind other countries such as China and India in entering STEM career fields (Lewis, 2006). STEM education has become a national priority in recent years. This trend reflects the need for more people to become increasingly literate in careers that involve technology and engineering (Avery, 2010).


Scratch is an easy-to-learn programming language that allows users to quickly begin building applications in a fun and engaging way. Myriad projects have been created in this visual programming environment. These projects include online games, animated stories, and music projects. More information about Scratch can be found on the project web site.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a nearly-pocket-sized computer system that can be purchased for less than $100. It functions in the same manner as a traditional computer, but it is designed to be affordable and accessible to everyone. The primary goal of the Raspberry Pi creators is to make programming accessible to a great number of people through their system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution. More information about Rasperberry Pi can be found on the project web site.