Interview with Dr. Joseph Abramo

| February 16, 2011

We recently reported on Dr. Abramo’s research award here. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions too! Read on…

Thanks so much for being willing to answer some questions for our blog. Let’s start by talking briefly about your education and teaching background prior to your arrival at Teachers College. What attracted you to the field of music education?

What attracted me and what keeps me are two different things.  When I started, I wanted to share my love of music with people, which is a common sentiment for those who are starting in the field of education.  But as I gained experiences working with students, I found that teaching is space where exploration and curiosity are assets and rewarded. In addition, the ability to do that in conjunction with people and build relationships with them is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Where did you study prior to receiving your Ed.D.? What kind of teaching experience did you have?

Prior to TC, I received a bachelor of Music Education from The Crane School of Music, and Masters degrees in Saxophone performance and music theory from Michigan State University.

Do you have any specific, fond memories of your time at Teachers College?

I have many fond memories.  Perhaps one of the most memorable was when the TC held the International Conference on Music Education and Social Justice. It was the first of its kind ever and it was an honor to be part of this important event in music education.

What are some of your biggest research interests in music education?

My biggest areas of research include popular music pedagogy, and specifically how it is influenced by gender and sexual identity.  I also do research on race and multiculturalism.

Can you tell us about your dissertation, “Popular Music and Gender in the Classroom”?

My dissertation was a qualitative multiple case study that looked at how popular music is influenced by gender.  Researchers in popular music pedagogy define it as a process where students communicate through musical gestures, but my study found that this might be a specifically male way of participating in popular music.  Also, I looked at how students’ notions of gender and sexuality had an impact on what kinds of music they wanted to write and participate in.

6) Do you have any advice for new students in the music & music education program interested in pursuing research in music education?

My advice for those new to music education research would be to read broadly.  Although it might seem intimidating, read research outside music education, as well as philosophy and contemporary social theory.  TC is a great place to do this, because the department is housed in the school of education, instead of the school of music, like it is in most universities.  This allows you to apply new and exciting perspectives to music education.