Music Education Impact Archive 2016-15

Our Music Education Community here at Western is committed to scholarly work of various forms, from research to practice, to pedagogical work, to artistic production, to creative endeavours. In all, both faculty and students strive for work that is meaningful and has an impact both on the educational and musical community as well as in academic circles. Our diverse faculty and students are presenting and workshopping across Canada and all over the world. Our faculty is widely published and constantly leading the way in music education thought and practice. 

Below you will find a selection of the ways in which we contribute to the development of music education practice.

View current stories on our main Music Education Impact webpage.

conferenceFour of the Music Education PhD students have been selected to present at prestigious international conferences in 2017. Alison Butler (PhD Year 2) will be presenting at the Musical Cultures Conference in Hull, UK. Her paper is entitled: "'It's been an incredible journey': The presentation of social class in TV music talent shows, and its impact on music education". Butler's paper looks at how television music talent shows, such as X Factor, are a major subgenre within Reality TV Programmes (RTV), and have become a significant part of 21st century contemporary culture. She investigates the ways in which RTV's classifications (Morley, 2009) and journeys influence young people's musical journeys in their own realities. Kelly Bylica (PhD Year 1) and Elizabeth Kinghorn (PhD Year 2) have both been accepted to present at the Desert Skies Conference in Arizona, USA. Bylica's paper is entitled "Approaches to Composition in a Middle School Choral Classroom". Based on ideas around musicking (Small), community building (Jorgenson), and deep connections (Greene), this paper explores the challenges and successes of a composition-based choral curriculum. Kinghorn's paper is entitled: "Room Acoustics and the Singing Voice: The effects of environmental reverberation an vocal intensity and the perception of vocal effort in trained singers". Kristine Musgrove (PhD Year 1) has been accepted to present at the Florida Music Educators Association Conference (FMEA) in Tampa, Florida. Musgrove's presentation is entitled: "Utilizing Music Technology in Today's Classroom".

music festivalOn November 8, 2016, Masters of Music in Education student Patrick Feely adjudicated all levels of competitors in both the classical and popular guitar categories at the Burlington Rotary Music Festival. The festival provides an opportunity for amateur musicians to achieve excellence in their art, and assists the participants in developing character, discipline, logical thinking and perception through musical performance and competition. 

new directions and vision conferenceOn November 2 to 5, 2016, members of the Music Education Department at Western University presented their research in China at the New Directions and Visions Conference in the City of Xiamen, in Southern China. The highly selective conference brought together scholars from around the globe. Western University was the only Canadian University represented at the event. Dean Betty Anne Younker presented on "Systematic Changes to Degree Programs in Music", Director of Research Cathy Benedict presented on "Works at What? The Purpose of Music Education" and Music Education Chair Patrick Schmidt presented on "Creating Policy Framing Capacity: Models for Change in Music Teacher Education". 

jazz ensembleOn November 11, 2016, Dr. Kevin Watson led the Don Wright Faculty of Music's Jazz Ensemble through a very successful concert to a full house at The Wolf Theatre. Dr. Watson's expertise on Jazz Pedagogy and Improvisation is evident in the way in which students engage with the repertoire and how they perform as an ensemble. The quality of the learning experiences are evident in the sound of the group but also, and particularly, in the manner in which they engage in music making and how they interact with each other. Dr. Watson provides us with a wonderful example of how scholarship intersects practice."

amta conferenceOn November 11, 2016, Elizabeth Mitchell presented at the American Music Therapy Association conference in Sandusky, Ohio. The presentation was entitled "The Coffee House: Building Self-Identities through Participatory Performance in Adolescent Mental Health." Through the narratives of youths and staff members, this case study examined the "Coffee House", a community music therapy event at an adolescent mental health facility. This research validates the role of performance in music therapy from a resource-oriented and music-centered perspective.

music careOn October 12, 2016, Music Education PhD Candidate Elizabeth Mitchell presented the web seminar entitled "Community Music Therapy & Performance in Adolescent Mental Health". The webinar is part of an initiative by the group Room 217 Care through Music, an organization that provides various education opportunities pertaining to intersections between music and healthcare.

cmceOn October 4, 2016, Dr. Patrick Schmidt presents alongside panelists at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education addressing issues of Social Justice in the Arts and Music. The international panel will discuss the current challenges and opportunities of the current political moment as they relate to social justice work within the arts.

ismeThe Don Wright Faculty of Music's chair of Music Education & Dance, Patrick Schmidt, was recently elected to the board of directors of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). Schmidt was elected at the ISME 2016 General Assembly and will serve on the board for the 2016-2018 biennium. The new board was announced July 28, 2016.  

rimeconferenceAssociate Professor Dr. Ruth Wright has been invited to deliver a keynote speech for the next Research in Music Education (RIME) conference to take place in Bath Spa, England in April 2017.  Click here to find out more information.


On August 1 2016, a new issue of the Philosophy of Music Education Review (PMER) Journal was published with a contribution by Dr. Patrick Schmidt, Chair of Music education entitled: “Authority and Pedagogy as Framing”. 


During the month of July 2016, 10 Don Wright Faculty of Music music education professors have been accepted to present at the prestigious biennial International Society for Music Education (ISME) Conference held this year in Glasgow. Prior to the main conference many of these professors will also be presenting at two different commissions: Policy (Birmingham, England) and Community Music (Edinburgh, Scotland).

ISME was founded in Brussels in 1953 during the UNESCO sponsored conference on "The Role and Place of Music in the Education of Youth and Adults." ISME's mission is to build a worldwide network of music educators, to advocate music education globally and across the lifespan, and to foster intercultural understanding and cooperation. The following were contributions from Western’s Music Education Faculty and Graduate Students:

Patrick Schmidt, as Chair of the Commission on Policy: Culture, Education and Media will be attending meetings throughout the conference as well as chairing and presenting at several events.

Patrick Schmidt and Ruth Wright: "The labour market for music workers in the new millennium:  Policies, Realities, Practices".

Betty-Anne Younker, Patrick Schmidt, Stephanie Horsley: "Music Teacher Education and Policy Reform:  Quality, Employability or Labor Crunch?"

Kevin Watson and Peter Miksa: "The Effects of Physical Practice, Mental Practice, and Mental Imagery on Performance of an Improvised Jazz Solo".

Ruth Wright and Jennifer Lang: "Transforming habitus through informal music learning: A case study in a Canadian First Nations School".

Cathy Benedict and Alison Butler (doctoral student): "The Rhetoric of Inequality: Leaving No Child Behind because Everyone Child Matters".

Paul WoodfordPatrick Schmidt and Cathy Benedict: "Understanding Social Justice in Music Education: International Voices".

Kari Veblen: Panel Presentation: Policies and Practices in Community Music: International Perspectives

Kari Veblen and Nathan Kruse: 
"Children’s Clapping Games on the Virtual Playground".

Kari Veblen and Janice Waldron: 
"'Will Ye Nae Come Back Again?': Scots Pipe Bands as community music in Ontario, Canada".

Stephanie Horsley and Kari Veblen: “'Stranger in the Crowd': Performer Learning, Mentoring, and Fellowship at Tribute Artist Festivals


Leslie Linton: "Engaged and interactive listening: Where do our ears go during a performance? Learners as Teachers in the Grade One Classroom".

Leslie Linton and Danielle Sirek: "Music for a purpose, or a purpose for music? Exploring empathy, social justice, and critical pedagogy from research to practice in the elementary music classroom".

Lorna Wanzel, Leslie Linton, Patricia Frehlich, Vanessa Cornett and Amy Rose Immerman: "Portraits of Innovative Independent Music Teachers in North America".

Alison Butler: "Informal to Formal: Learner and teacher reflections on the transition to formal instrumental tuition within the English education system".

Jennifer Gowan: "Aboriginal Voices: Realigning Inclusivity and Informal Music Learning".

Elizabeth Mitchell: "Performance, Identity, and the Coffee House: Community Music Therapy at an Adolescent Mental Health Facility".

Elizabeth Kinghorn: "The effects of different acoustic environments on vocal intensity and perceived vocal effort in classically trained singers".

college music society

From June 3 to 5, 2016, the College Music Society hosted Summit 2016. The theme of the Summit was 21st Century Music School Design, a current and important issue on the minds of faculty, administrators and students across North America. Under the leadership of CMS president—and Dean of the Don Wright Faculty of Music—Betty Anne Younker and in partnership with the University of South Carolina’s School of Music, the Summit brought together over 200 deans, directors, and faculty from universities in the US, Canada (9), Europe and Australia. In attendance representing Western University were Patrick Schmidt and John Cuciurean who were integral participants in the discussions. The event was propelled by an innovative format, collaborative sessions, and the collective development of re-designed undergraduate degrees for Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education. This dialogue reflects one aspect of the Society's mission, which is to provide spaces for concentrated dialogue and reflection on a topic, this one being an extension of the CMS Undergraduate Task Force report, which was completed under the previous president's direction. The Summit’s success was a clear demonstration of CMS's vision, the vision of the Program Chair, David Cutler, and Dean Younker’s leadership and highlighted how closely and seriously music schools across North America and elsewhere are looking at curricular and programmatic change.


April 2016 was a big month for Elizabeth Mitchell, a PhD candidate in the Music Education Department at Western University. Not only she has just received nomination for a Juno Award, alongside her choral group, but she also published an article on Mayday Group’s new Journal TOPICS. The article is entitled: "Arts Express: Performance, Community, and Creativity for Children with Exceptionalities". You can find it here:


In March 2016, Professor Kari Veblen published one of the inaugural articles of the Mayday Group’s new journal TOPICS. You can find and read her article here:

ontario music educators assoc

In February 2016, Assistant Professor Kevin Watson was nominated and appointed as the Higher Education Representative to the Ontario Music Educator Association’s (OMEA) Board of Directors. He replaces long-serving, Western alumnus, Roger Beatty.

social justice in music education

On December 2015, Oxford University Press released the Oxford Handbook on Music Education and Social Justice was released. The first publication of its kind and a reference for this field of research in music education, the Handbook was coedited by three Music Education Faculty at Western: Dr. Cathy Benedict, Dr. Patrick Schmidt, and Dr. Paul Woodford.

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