MODAL Seminar Series: Listing of the Fall 2013 Webinars, Lectures and Seminars

All Seminars will be held in EDB 8541 at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby.

For more information, contact:


Wednesday, Sept 11- 9:00-11:00am- Webinar Lecture

Dr. Jon Skidmore, Brigham Young University, Utah

The psychological skills of music performance: The missing link in the training of performing artists
As music educators we barely touch the surface in a formal training sense when it comes to the psychological aspects of performance. I saw a student approach her teacher just prior to a recital and announce to her teacher “I’m nervous.” She was pleading for some help. The teacher responded with a quick “You will do fine.” Her efforts to reassure her student didn’t seem to provide much relief. The teacher really didn’t know what to say and the student didn’t know what to do. This is a problem. I have heard countless stories of how the musical preparation was there, but something “mental” went wrong and the end result was lots of anxiety, a fear of performing and even the end of a musical career. This is a tragedy! I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of your webinar. I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

Dr Jon Skidmore

Dr. Jon Skidmore holds a B.S. in Psychology from Utah State University, a M.Ed. in Counselling and Guidance from Brigham Young University, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He is a licensed psychologist and performance coach since 1993. Dr.Skidmore is a faculty member at Brigham Young University, where he teaches the course “The Psychology of Music Performance”, focusing on the mental skills of peak performance.

Thursday, Sept 26- 4:00-6:00pm- MODAL Research Group meeting

Deanna Peluso, Doctoral Candidate (SFU)

Using an iPhone/iPod App to Capture Music and Multimodal Digital Media Engagement in the Daily Lives of Youth
Despite the ubiquitous nature of both music and digital media in youth daily lives, there are few studies that delve into how youth are actually engaging in multimodal ways with music using portable mobile digital media devices.

This talk will explore the development of an iOS App for the iPad, iPod and iPhone as a methodology for collecting qualitative and quantitative data in and through mobile and social media. The process and collaborative aspects of designing and developing an iOS App that complements the contemporary ways that youth are multimodally engaging and using their mobile devices and apps will be discussed. There will also be examples and elaboration on the constraints and enablements that this innovative form of research poses.

Drawing on Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM), the development of this unique format of multimodal, musical and digital media research brings ESM research into the realm of a social and digital age, where research methodologies can build upon the ways that youth are actually engaging, communicating and learning in their daily lives.

Deanna Peluso

Deanna C. C. Peluso is the Project Manager for Multimodal Opportunities and Diversity in Artistic Learning (MODAL) Research Group and Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME). She is also a Ph.D. Candidate in the Arts Education program at Simon Fraser University, where her research brings together her background and interests in music education, media literacy, positive psychology, and multimodal literacy. She has published and disseminated her research surrounding youth musical activities through digital media at conferences and in scholarly journals on the international and national scale. Deanna’s research background compliments her practical experience as a composer, artist, musician and mobile technology specialist.

Wednesday, Oct 2- 4:00-6:00pm- Webinar Lecture

Dr. Margaret Barrett, University of Queensland, Australia

Children’s invented song-making: the foundations of creative thought and practice
A common saying has it that creativity awaits the prepared mind. As music educators and music education researchers, how the mind is prepared for creativity is one of our central concerns. My research project has included the investigation of the ways in which musical thought and practice develop in early life, with a particular focus on children’s generative thought and activity, as composers, notators, and song-makers (Barrett, 2012, 2009, 2006, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c, 2003a, 2003b). In this presentation I shall explore the ways in which creativity has been understood and defined, the ways in which creativity has been taken up in education, and, through the interrogation of two young children’s musical output, examine the potential beginnings of creative thought and activity in music.

Dr. Margaret Barrett

Dr. Margaret Barrett is Professor and Head of the School of Music at The University of Queensland and has held positions as Professor of Music and Arts Education and Director of Research, in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania. Margaret’s record of service to music education includes: Discipline writer (Music), The Australian National Curriculum (2011); Chair of the Asia Pacific Symposium of Music Education Research (2009–2011); National President of the Australian Society for Music Education (1999–2001); National Vice-President for the Australian Society for Music Education (1997–1999); and, Chair of the Tasmanian Chapter of the Australian Society for Music Education (1997–1999). Margaret has convened major conferences and symposia in music education including the 2nd Asia- Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (February 1999), co-convened the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd international conferences in Narrative Inquiry in Music Education. She has served as editor of Research .Studies in Music Education, and Associate Editor of Psychology of Music, and published extensively in the field. Recent publications include: Narrative Inquiry in Music Education: Troubling Certainty (with Sandra Stauffer, Springer, 2009). She has held visiting professorships at a range of institutions, including the Institute of Education, University of London, and the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

Thursday, Oct 17- 4:00-6:00pm- MODAL Research Group meeting

Zara Pierre-Vaillancourt, Doctoral Candidate (Laval University)

Music appreciation in the secondary music classroom
Music appreciation is one of the three disciplinary competencies in the Quebec music program. Appreciating musical works involves exploring diverse meanings as the student examines the musical work from a critical and aesthetic perspective. In a 2011 survey conducted by the Quebec provincial music association (FAMEQ), music teachers expressed a need for teaching materials to help them develop this competency in the music classroom. The objective of this study is to identify the best teaching practices that will enable the music teacher to create his or her own teaching materials. A collaborative approach involving teachers and students will be employed in this study. Engaging in a reflective thinking process, the teacher will review his or her teaching practice and discover new ways to teach effectively, keeping in mind student motivation when planning instruction. Given that adolescence is a critical period for musical and emotional development, this study will be conducted in secondary music classrooms, with 14-17 year old students, in different regions of the province of Quebec.


Zara Pierre-Vaillancourt has taught music classes (band and piano) in junior high and high school for eight years after completing her master’s degree in music education. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the music education program at Université Laval in Quebec City. She works as a research and teaching assistant with Dr. Valerie Peters and her Ph.D. study focuses on youth music listening and appreciation. Active member of FAMEQ (Federation of the Music Educators Associations of Quebec), Zara is in charge of the logistics for their annual conference.

Wednesday, Oct 30- 9:00-11:00am- Live/Webinar Lecture

Dr. Susan O’Neill

Transformative music engagement: Making music learning matter
Engagement has been described as underpinning learning in the 21st century and when combined with transformative experience and positive youth development frameworks, it transforms music learning into meaningful, participatory actions from which young people drive a sense of connection, purpose, fulfillment, and wellbeing. I will present findings from recent research that demonstrates how we might involve youth in transformative music experiences, how to recognize affordances and constraints to music learning, and how to measure associated learning outcomes, such as increased valuing of music activities, personal and social commitment to music learning, and respect for others’ learning. There is growing momentum among music educators that recognizes the need to empower music learners and encourage active inquiry, dialogue and reflection to inspire expansive music learning opportunities and transformative music engagement.

Susan A. O’Neill

Dr. Susan O’Neill has an interdisciplinary background with graduate degrees in three disciplines: psychology, education and music performance. She is Associate Professor in Arts Education and Director of Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME) and Multimodal Opportunities, Diversity and Artistic Learning (MODAL Research Group) at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. She has been awarded a number of visiting fellowships including the University of Michigan, USA (2001-2003) and a Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow (2012) at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely in the fields of music psychology and arts education. She is editor of Personhood and Music Learning: Connecting Perspectives and Narratives and the forthcoming book Music and Media Infused Lives: Music Education in a Digital Age. Her collaborative research projects explore young people’s music and arts engagement related to expansive learning opportunities, positive youth development, values, self-identities, wellbeing, intergenerational learning, digital media and multimodal literacies, and cultural understandings.

Wednesday, Nov 6- 9:00-11:00am- Webinar Lecture

Dr. Aaron Williamon, Royal College of Music, London

Facing the music: An investigation of musicians’ physical and mental responses
Musicians typically rehearse far away from their audiences and in practice rooms that differ significantly from the concert venues in which they aspire to perform. Due to high costs and the inaccessibility of such venues, much current international music training lacks repeated exposure to realistic performance situations, with students learning all too late (or not at all) how to manage the stresses of performing and the demands of their audiences. This presentation will explore the physiological and psychological differences between practising and performing. It will also introduce the ‘Performance Simulator’, an innovative new facility which operates in two modes: (i) concert and (ii) audition simulation. Initial results demonstrate that the Simulator allows musicians to develop and refine valuable professional skills, including enhancement of communication on stage and effective management of performance anxiety.

Dr. Williamon

Dr. Aaron Williamon is Professor of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music. His research focuses on music cognition, skilled performance, and applied psychological and health-related initiatives that inform music learning and teaching. His book, Musical Excellence, is published by Oxford University Press and draws together the findings of initiatives from across the arts and sciences, with the aim of offering musicians new perspectives and practical guidance for enhancing their performance. Aaron is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and the UK’s Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and, in 2008, was elected an Honorary Member of the RCM (HonRCM). In addition, he has performed as a trumpeter in chamber and symphony orchestras, brass bands, and brass quintets in both Europe and North America.

Wednesday, Nov 13- 9:00-11:00am- Live/Webinar Lecture

Dr. Yaroslav Senyshyn

Changing attitudes and teaching strategies in music education classrooms to bring out the best in our students and teachers
There is much talk and theorizing these days about narrative techniques and prescriptive approaches to love, equity and respect in music education as though these were new and novel methodologies. This presentation as a voice(s) inside a secondary school seeks to address this issue indirectly through the experience of a teacher (myself) who has been given a classroom full of ‘problematic’ grade eleven students. These students, for all practical purposes, are no longer cared for by their respective school system and they, in turn, have also given up on that system as well. They are all segregated on the basis of their poor reading skills and lack of self- discipline into a classroom that no one wants to teach. The highly unwanted job is given to a neophyte teacher, the author of this paper too many years ago, who ultimately had little choice in the matter. This teacher is highly unsuccessful in the beginning because he develops an intense dislike for these students in order to cope with their outward and self-destructive tendencies. Through ancient history, the opera, ‘provocative’ literature and a special fieldtrip the teacher discovers that he has more to learn from his students than they could ever learn from him. The second narrative defends the teaching of popular music in the classroom through the issue of steel drum teaching and respect for the music it can generate. Without espousing an ‘anything goes’ philosophy the author believes nevertheless that there is a prevalent prejudice amongst music educators that discourages popular music as a mode of proper‚ music instruction either in performance or other modes of music education. This active form of elitism which discriminates against popular music can be traced back to at least 2500 years ago in western culture, is motivated by a belief in the superiority of one’s own musical tastes, an intolerance of other people’s predilection for popular music and an ignorance of its historical evolution. The suppression of popular music is a form of tyranny that victimizes its adherents and practitioners into a position of inferiority and helplessness. Patronizing it without an authentic understanding of its potential in music education can be just as damaging to its followers as the active suppression of it. Two personal narratives will demystify these notions of elitism and tyranny of popular music and reveal a strategy of teaching that allows for both popular music and the opera as an authentic inclusion in all curriculums of music education.

Dr. Yaroslav

Dr. Yaroslav Senyshyn is Professor of Aesthetic and Moral Philosophy at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. He publishes extensively in international journals such as the Philosophy of Music Education Review, Musica-Realta, Interchange, Journal of Educational Thought, Educational Leadership, Canadian Journal of Education, and other publications. His book The Artist in Crisis was written to inspire all musical performers and artists alike who are in danger of quitting their musical art. Senyshyn is a Steinway Artist and an exponent of the grand tradition of piano playing. Georgetown University Radio featured Senyshyn in a documentary program about Canadian pianists, including Glenn Gould, Louis Lortie and Anton Kuerti. Senyshyn is described as a pianist of “enormous power” and “sophistication” (Washington Post) and for his “originality” and “creativity” (New York Times).

Thursday, Dec 5- 4:00-6:00pm- MODAL Research Group meeting

Jim Sparks, Doctoral Candidate (SFU)

Singing Engagement: Cross-Cultural and Pedagogical Implications
Singing is a defining feature of humanity with immense socio-cultural significance and multifaceted communicative power (Welch, 2005). Through shared singing experiences, messages are perceived and transmitted through intrapersonal and interpersonal processes that are empathetic (as shared identity, emotions, representation, and meaning-making), referential (through text) and expressive. In my experience, the traditional practice of singing in western cultural institutions provides limited opportunities; singing is often perceived by many as constrained and restricted to those who are “talented.” Relatively little is known about the degree to which singing engagement fosters transformative experiences and very little empirical research has examined potential factors leading to engagement in transformative learning through singing. My research investigates the learning capacities that singing offers when singing cultures are brought together and how we might create learning opportunities to increase these singing capacities in ways that foster greater cultural awareness, interconnectedness, and communication. Rooted in theories of Vygotsky, Bakhtin, and Freire, Transformative Singing Engagement (TSE) and Transformative Singing Leadership (TSL) offer new approaches. In this talk, I examine the potential of TSE/TSL drawing on examples from my work with youth singers at a Fine Arts School and recognized singing leaders in Cuba, Kenya, Ukraine, Denmark, and Canada.

Jim Sparks

Jim Sparks is the director of vocal music at the Langley Fine Arts School in Fort Langley, BC, directing choirs and vocal ensembles. With a Bachelor of Music degree from UBC and Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona, Jim has worked in singing pedagogy with levels of choirs in BC as a teacher, guest conductor and clinician and has been a sessional faculty instructor at the University of British Columbia, and current faculty instructor of the BC Choral Federation’s Choral Directorship Course. Jim is the recipient of the Profession Music Educator Award from the BC Music Educators Association, the 2009 recipient of the Willan Award from the BC Choral Federation, and a Canada Council Grant for his work with international conductors (2011). In his capacity as singing researcher, Jim is the recipient of the CMEA scholar award (2011), the Lis Welch Graduate award, the Graduate Fellowship Award from SFU, and the President’s PhD Award, 2013.


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