Monday, Aug 9, 2021
Curriculum revision, new department leadership and faculty appointments
The 2021-22 academic year will begin with several changes in the Music Education program and departments, including a revision of the Master of Music Education curriculum, the appointment of two new faculty members and the appointment of Dr. Jason Vodicka ’03, ’09 as the new department chair.
Master of Music Education (MME)
The revised MME program continues to offer options to study in person as a full-time student, through online and summer study, or a mix of the two. The required 32-33 credits, reduced from 38, can be taken at Westminster Choir College, through the Office of Continuing Education or any of Rider's other colleges offering graduate level study. All students take three core music education courses: Social Justice in Music Education, Improving Musical Practice, and Social, Emotional & Musical Learning. They are also able to choose from one of four electives: Curriculum Development and Evaluation, Critical Pedagogy, Seminar in Music Education and Pedagogy and Practice, a new course in which Westminster faculty observe the MME student teaching in their own setting and give feedback.
Students are also able to design a 12-credit focus area, tailored to the needs of the student.
Each student is required to complete a capstone project and a choral experience, which could be singing in an on-campus choir during the school year or participating in the summer Choral Institute at Oxford or Conducting Institute.
Music Education Faculty
Dr. Sarah Perry and G. Preston Wilson have joined the faculty as Assistant Professors of Music Education. Along with Dr. Vodicka, the full-time faculty includes Dr. Sangmi Kang.
Dr. Sarah Perry most recently was adjunct assistant professor of Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music and Purdue University - Fort Wayne, where she taught courses focused on music in special education settings, inclusiveness in the arts, and integrated arts learning, as well as psychology of music. Dr. Perry’s specializations include music in special education and integrated arts learning and focusing on addressing the needs of special learners in music, visual arts, and dance settings. She also consults with Every Voice Choirs, where she is the director of VoiceAbility, a choir for children with special needs. She is a frequent clinician leading teacher-training workshops for visual arts, dance/movement and music educators on responding to individual differences in public schools in New York and Maryland and various arts education programs, including The Harmony Program, The Juilliard School’s Global K-12 Teaching Artists program, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Art-Reach, The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, The New York Philharmonic’s School Partnership Program, and Midori and Friends. Dr. Perry is a cellist at heart and she also plays classical and folk guitar. She enjoys keeping her performance skills in shape singing with the Cantigas Women’s Choir where she is also a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Perry is a board-certified Music Therapist.
G. Preston Wilson, Jr.’s love of music was cultivated in his youth in the public school and also at his church, where he played the organ and keyboards in Durham, N.C. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Fisk University, where he was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. With that renowned Grammy Award-winning ensemble, he toured to Ghana and Spain and was featured on the recording Sacred Journey. After earning a master’s degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University, he taught at various schools in the Toledo Public School systems in Toledo, Ohio. Settling at Start High School, he oversaw five ensembles, the school dance team, and served as an advisor for the African American Culture Club. He also served as vocal coach and co-director for the Toledo Youth Choir, a community youth ensemble. Additionally, he served on the Music Ministry at Friendship Baptist Church as the principal accompanist, directed the Youth and Young choir, and was a worship leader for district, state and regional Full Gospel Baptist events. He completed his PhD in Music Education at the University of Missouri – Columbia in June. His dissertation focuses on the lived experiences of urban music educators. His other research interests include exploring music curriculum and pedagogy through a critical race lens and practical applications of diversity, equity and inclusion in the contemporary classroom. He was recently awarded the prestigious Mizzou 18 Award, given to selected graduate students for their world-class research, collaboration with faculty and staff, and demonstrated leadership with undergraduate students.
Dr. Sangmi Kang joined the Westminster Choir College Music Education faculty in 2018. In addition to teaching classes and supervising student placements at Westminster, she is extremely active as a presenter at New Jersey Music Educators (NJMEA) and National Association for Music Education (NAfME) events. Her recent presentations for NJMEA have included “Let's critically create: Nurturing the 21st Century skills for social change” and “Remote music responding activities based on Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Elementary,” in which she was joined by Westminster Choir College students. Her recent presentations for NAfME have included “Music teachers’ flow experiences in teaching and performing” and “Transformation of Confucianism and Daoism in music education.” In May she presented “Understanding students by assessing their motivation: Relationships between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators” at the 8th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education, Theory, Practice, and Policy. She will also be heard playing the gayageum on a new recording by the Grammy Award nominated Westminster Williamson Voices, which will be released later this year.
Music Education Department Leadership
Associate Professor Dr. Jason Vodicka has succeeded Dr. Janet Cape as chair of the Music Education department. Dr. Vodicka joined the department in 2018 after five years as coordinator of Music Education at Susquehanna University. At Westminster, he has guided recruiting efforts, served on multiple working groups involved in the campus transition, and spearheaded efforts to revise the MME curriculum. Last year he coordinated the High School Choral Invitational and led the workshop "From Reflection to Action: Combating Systemic Racism in the Music Classroom." He also conducted Westminster Chapel Choir during the 2020-2021 academic year. In 2020 he conducted the Virginia Music Educators District XVI Chorus. In July he led the Westminster High School Vocal Institute. Dr. Vodicka has recently presented workshops for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), Pennsylvania Music Education Association (PMEA) District 8, GIA Publishing, the Westminster Wednesday series, The Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale and numerous area high schools. His collaborative research project "Culturally Relevant and Responsive Teaching in Music Education: Grounding for a Practical Framework" was presented at the NAfME Eastern Division Conference in April. Dr. Vodicka was inducted into the Westminster Choir College Music Education Department Hall of Fame in 2017.
Dr. Janet Cape joined the Music Education faculty in 2010, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015. Prior to coming to Westminster, she taught middle and high school music in Winnipeg, Canada before earning a doctoral degree at Arizona State University. At Westminster, she guided the department through very important and successful curricular revisions, led faculty searches, enhanced partnerships with public schools, and prepared brass ensembles for departmental Madrigal Dinners. She developed the technology aspect of the undergraduate curriculum, leading students through a wide variety of activities designed for use in K-12 classrooms. In so doing, she helped developed a second piano-computer lab for music students. Dr. Cape has returned to Canada with her family, where she is considering future opportunities.