Jim Sparks

Research Affiliate

  • Arts Matter Learning Projects
  • Artistic Learning Dialogues Coordinator
  • PhD – Arts Education – Simon Fraser University
Jim Sparks

Biography

Jim Sparks serves as adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia School of Music (UBC Choirs) and director of music at the Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) in Fort Langley, British Columbia. With a PhD in Philosophy (Simon Fraser University) and Masters of Music Degree in Choral Conducting (University of Arizona), and undergraduate degree in Piano and Voice (University of British Columbia), Jim has taught all levels of choirs in BC as choral director and vocal coach. Jim is currently a research affiliate with the MODAL Research Group at Simon Fraser University and also heads the Learning Engagement Division of Music Mentors International (mmiachieve.com).

The roles of researcher, musician/conductor, and singing teacher have converged and influenced Jim’s research in music education toward bridging the gaps that exist between research and music pedagogy, research and music performance, and professional musicians and music education.  With support from the Canada Council, the Canadian Music Educators Association, the AIRS collaborative initiative and Simon Fraser University, Jim has pursued collaborative singing research with several choral leaders in the world: Alina Orraca, Havana, Cuba (Schola Cantorum Coralina); Joseph Muyale Inzai, (National Boys Choir of Kenya); renowned Ukrainian choral conductor, Anatoliy Avdievski in Kiev, Ukraine (Veriovka Choir); Wes Janzen, (Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus); and Helle Hoyer in Aarhus, Denmark (Aarhus Pigakor Choir). In demand as an adjudicator and guest conductor, Jim’s work continues in Europe, Kenya, Cuba and Brazil, where in July 2015, Jim is keynote speaker at CIEMS, the international conference of music education, and guest conductor of Eurochestries in Sobral, Brazil, one of the several international youth choir and orchestra festivals held in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil in 2015.

Education

Date Degree Program University
2014 PhD Arts Education Simon Fraser University
**** M.Mus Choral Conducting University of Arizona
**** B.Mus Music University of British Columbia

Awards and Fellowships

Date Award Faculty University
2014 President’s PhD Award Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University
2013-2014 Graduate fellowship Award Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University
2011-2012 Entrance Graduate Fellowship Award Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University
2011 Lis Welsh Scholarship in Education Research Award. AIRS group, Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing - -
2011 Research Award, Canadian Music Educators Association - -

Scholarly Contributions

Transformative Singing Engagement (with Dr. Susan O’Neill):
  • O’Neill, S., Senyshyn, Y. & Sparks, J. (2012). Arts matter: Action research in meaning making. Music Learning: Benefits for the 21st-century Learner Conference, Centre des Congrès de Québec, University of Laval, Quebec, CA, November 2012 (Upcoming).
  • Sparks, J. (2012). Transformative Singing Engagement (Poster) CSSE (The Canadian Society for the Study of Education) Victoria, B.C. Canada, June, 2013
  • Sparks, J. (2011) Skilled Singing Expression (Paper) AIRS (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing) Phenomenon of Singing Conference, St. Johns, Nfld., July 2011
Cross Cultural Singing Expression:
  • Sparks, J. (2012). Singing Expression: A Thematic Cross-Cultural Application (Paper) Music Learning: Benefits for the 21st-century Learner Conference, Centre des Congrès de Québec, University of Laval, Quebec, CA, November 2012
  • Sparks, J. (2011) Norbusang Choral Festival, Horsens, Denmark Regional Hubs of Canadian Choral Music (Presentation) June 2011
  • Sparks, J. (2009). On Learning from the Cradle …of Civilization BC Music Educator, (Journal Article), Spring 2009