Dr. Esther Morgan-Ellis is changing the way her students think about "New Music" with a research-based study focused on pedagogy in music history. Morgan-Ellis presented her success at The Teaching Music History Conference in June. Her research assignment was credited as an exemplary work of putting learning theory into practice, and one that resonates with students to deepen their understanding of how art is created.
Morgan-Ellis has received the UNG Presidential Initiatives award — an award that is based on strategic research programs in multiple disciplined — for this study as well as others. Although the learning project changes every year, she challenges her students to begin with the end in mind as they will present their research at a public symposium held at the end of the semester.
The inspiration for the current student research stems from Morgan-Ellis' own study on promoting student interest in New Music. She has students work with young, living composers for the duration of their research projects so that they can be fully immersed in the environment of modern composition.
"The results have been very promising, and indicate that my students leave the class with significantly increased awareness of and interest in New Music," she said. "I hope to publish this as a case study in an upcoming volume on High-Impact Practices in music."