Westminster Center for Community Engagement and Critical Pedagogy

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Mission: The Westminster Center for Community Engagement and Critical Pedagogy collaborates with partners in the greater Princeton community to promote inclusion, cultural relevance, and social justice through artistic experiences that empower, transform, and enrich the lives of our students, faculty, and the communities we serve.

The Critical Pedagogy part of the Center focuses on research framed in the principles of Critical Pedagogy and Critical Pedagogy for Music Education. Recently, the Center received a 2016 Best of Princeton Award for Educational Research. The award, presented by the Princeton Award Program identifies programs that have a positive image through service to the Princeton community. Recognition is given to those programs that have shown the ability to use their best practices, and implemented have programs that generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

Research Projects

Collaborative Solfeggio
Four Westminster music education alumni are collaborating with Center Director and Professor of Music Education Frank Abrahams and Ryan John, a Westminster alumnus teaching at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School to investigate new ways to teach high school choral students to read musical notation.

Participating teachers
Brian Williams, Robbinsville High School
David Westawski, West Windsor Plainsboro South High School
Thomas Bateman, New Hope Solebury High School
Grant Mech, Rancocas Valley Regional High School

The project uses critical pedagogy and popular music pedagogy as the theoretical framework. Westminster music education majors Rebecca Carroll, Evan Kelly, Michael McCormick, and Emily Sebastian, are assisting as research interns. Abrahams and John are the co-authors of Planning Instruction in Music and the forthcoming Becoming Musical both published by GIA.

Connecting Music to STEM
Associate Professor of Music Education Janet Cape is developing research that studies the application and uses of micro-controllers to facilitate children’s abilities to compose music and produce music creatively. In addition, she joins Frank Abrahams and other colleagues to develop a music curriculum that connects music to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects for the Trenton Public Schools.  

Community Projects

Opera Then and Now
Three music education majors - Gillian Erlenborn, Larry Miller and J. Eric Roper - developed educational materials, including an interactive website and lesson plans, to prepare middle school students to attend a performance presented by singers in the Westminster CoOPERAtive program at Thomas Edison State Park as part of the Opera Then and Now project.

Junior Vitamin D
During J-term, six music education majors - Grace Amadeo, Rebecca Carroll, Alex Delbar, Lauren Goldman, Julia Henry, Kelly Ruggieri - joined Westminster alumnus Joel Michalchuk to provide instruction in drumming to elementary school children with autism in the Trenton Public Schools. Westminster alumnus Christopher Tatro, a music teacher at one of the elementary schools, helped with the organization of the program. The project titled Junior Vitamin D, after the college drum circle Vitamin D, was funded by VSA International Young Soloists: Music for Every Student Program, that is sponsored by the Office of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  LEARN MORE.

HomeFront Family Preservation Center
Women from the Westminster chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota professional music sorority are working with the administration at HomeFront Family Preservation Center, to provide tutoring for children who are residents there. Members of the Chapel Choir will present a spring concert for board members and invited guests.  In December, members of Westminster Players presented an excerpt of their fall production to the parents and children in residence there.

Transforming Space/Anthracite Fields
The Center is creating an educational package that will prepare high school students to attend a performance by Westminster Choir of Anthracite Fields by New York composer Julia Wolfe at Roebling Wire Factory in Trenton in April. Music education majors, Jesse Borower, Michael McCormick, Ashley DuPont, Gabriel Harley, Julia Hemmingway, Cecilia Snow, and Noël Zucchero, designed lesson plans, and Westminster music education alumnus Anwar Robinson will facilitate teacher training developed by Frank Abrahams, Professor of Music Education and Director of the Westminster Center for Community Engagement and Critical Pedagogy, and students in music education.  Creative Arts Director and Music Enrichment Educator at Idea School of Brooklyn. Westminster senior music education major J. Eric Roper is designing a website to host the educational materials. Anthracite Fields is the centerpiece of a project titled Transforming Space funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation, and the Presser Foundation.

Westminster Online
Become a better music teacher through online studies with some of the most influential forces in music education.

In conjunction with Westminster's Office of Continuing Education, Westminster's Center for Community Engagement and Critical Pedagogy offers an unprecedented opportunity to study with an expert faculty with all the convenience and flexibility of online classes. 
Learn more about our ongoing classes. 

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