Friday, October 29, 2010

SmartMusic in the Classroom-2010 Utah ASTA Fall Workshop Presentation

The purpose of this presentation was to introduce workshop attendees to SmartMusic, a practice and assessment program developed by Make Music.  I showed three videos that demonstrated: 1) how to get started on SmartMusic; 2) the main features of the program; and 3) how to use SmartMusic in a band and orchestra classroom.

I demonstrated to workshop attendees what students experience as they practice with, and submit their assignments on SmartMusic.  I also showed teachers in attendance the assessment features of the program by grading a real time playing test.

Attached below are the resources that I shared with workshop attendees that will provide more information about SmartMusic.  Click on each link to access information about SmartMusic.

1.  Smart Music Home Page

This link takes you to the SmartMusic home page.  Watch videos that explain what SmartMusic is to parents, administrators, and teachers.

2.  SmartMusic Blog

Read what teachers who use SmartMusic are saying about the program.  Teachers who contribute to this blog provide practical advice on how to use and implement SmartMusic in a band and orchestra program.  Blogs include:  How to work with school network administrators, introducing SmartMusic to parents, and using SmartMusic in university methods classes.

3.  My Letter to Parents

Attached is a link to the letter that I send to parents of new students informing them about SmartMusic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Successfully Defended!

On Monday, November 16, I successfully defended my dissertation, Senior Adult Music Learning, Motivation, and Meaning Construction in Two New Horizons Ensembles.  I feel a sense of relief knowing that the end is in sight.  I brought home from Arizona a stack of edits from each member of my dissertation committee, so I still have a lot of work ahead of me before I print the final document and send it to the publisher for binding and microfilming.  No football for me this Thanksgiving (well, maybe the BYU/Utah game)!

A few hours before leaving for Arizona, I printed my dissertation, punched holes in the side, and put it in a three ring binder.  I then place the document on my desk and stared in disbelief and said, "Did I write all of that!"  Even more sobering, realized that my life for the last two and a half years was distilled in an inch and a half to two inch pile of paper.  All the notes, interview recordings, transcripts, videos, and pictures squeezed into 230 or so pages.  They say writing a qualitative dissertation is like making syrup, "You harvest 10 gallons of sap to get a pint of syrup."

Everyone has been so kind with words of congratulations and support.  I have been pretty low key at school, only giving my students tidbits why I have been missing school lately.  When I returned to school, most of my older students congratulated me, wondering what to call me now:  Sam ? (I allow my high school students to address me by my first name),  Dr. Sam?, Dr. Tsugawa?, Doc?  I specified the protocol:  "You may continue to call me 'Sam' and Mr. Tsugawa.  You can call me Dr. Tsugawa or Dr. Sam.  Please don't call me just Tsugawa or Doc (reserved for a special colleague).  Finally, please don't call me Dr. Tsugawa aloud in a crowded room or an airplane.  If someone drops of a heart attack, they may point to me and say 'Hey, he's a doctor!.'"

To all my doctoral colleagues, thank you for your friendship, support, and example.  The most fulfilling aspect of my graduate school experience has been the people I have met and worked with over the last three and a half years.  Also, thank you to my professors, Drs. Marg Schmidt, Sandy Stauffer, Jill Sullivan, and Jeff Bush.  I will be eternally grateful to their commitment of time and treasure to help find my research voice.  Their dedication to the profession of research and the success of their students is an inspiration to me that I take into my professional and personal life.  To Dr. Schmidt for her constant concern for my personal welfare, paving my way to attend ASU, allowing a trombone player to teach her string methods class, and her tireless editing (even the table of contents!).  And to Dr. Stauffer for her kindhearted demeanor, scholastic integrity, providing the resources for me to write this dissertation, and giving me the confidence and opportunities to write, present, and publish, allowing me to develop my research voice.  Thank you all.

Lastly, I could not have completed this journey without my wife Trish.  She transcribed all 33 hours of interviews, saving me months of extra typing an analyzing.  She made the loneliness of dissertation writing bearable as we were able to talk about the people together as peers.  Also, the personal sacrifices made during my year in Arizona while she stayed in Utah will assure her a place in the Doctoral Spouses' Hall of Fame (she is already a member of the Orchestra Director Widows' Hall of Fame).  "If music be the food of on."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Senior Adult Music Learning and Participation: A Multiple Case Study of a New Horizons Band and Orchestra--2009 AERA Paper Presentation


As Nan checked in and unpacked her things, she reveled in the rustic atmosphere of her surroundings. The holly, and rhododendrons creates a feeling reminiscent of Nan’s former home in western Washington. She has come home. Arriving in the early afternoon, Nan noticed the fall foliage of the idyllic upstate New York village, incredulous that someone like her would ever do something like attend a weeklong music camp. For years Nancy devoted her life to her husband, raising children, and serving her community and church. Life’s path has changed for Nan since she began to play the cello. Chautauqua brought others like her to the same place for the same purpose, to make music.

The Purpose of the Study

With the expected aging of baby boomers in the next two decades, the United States will soon experience unprecedented growth in its population aged 65 and older. As these baby boomers turn 65, it will be important to study how older adults negotiate the transition from professional to retirement life (Wang, 2005). What activities will senior adults participate that will contribute to maintaining a productive quality life? Four factors significant to aging and music education research justify the need for this study: (1) The rapidly increasing section of the population aged 65 and over, (2) the changing perception of aging, (3) participation in arts education programs among senior adults, and (4) the need for further research in senior adult music learning and participation.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the motivations and meanings of music making and participation among members of two New Horizons ensembles. Adults ranging from age 50 and older participate in New Horizons bands, orchestras, choirs, and folk ensembles organized in over 120 towns and cities across the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. New Horizons ensembles provide access and entry points for musical involvement and participation for nearly 700 senior adults. Many New Horizons members played a band or orchestra instrument as schoolchildren and young adults, while others join a New Horizons group to learn a new instrument.

Methods, Settings, Participants, and Themes

This video summarizes the methods of the study, introduces the settings and participants, and shares preliminary findings and themes from interviews, observations, and artifacts.

Click on the following link to download and read this paper: Senior Adult Music Learning

Click on the following link to read the literature review for this study: Literature Review

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Never Too Late To Learn An Instrument : NPR Music

I stumbled upon this NPR story that reports on adults learning to play a musical instrument as an adult. The author, Bridgid McCarthy shares a few stories of adults who struggle through a few "adult issues" as they learn to play a new instrument. McCarthy also reports on a few advantages adults have over children as they encounter the challenges of learning a new instrument.

Never Too Late To Learn An Instrument : NPR Music

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Comprehensive Exam Notes

ASU music education doctoral students have collaborated and contributed their notes of the comprehensive exam. Click on the following link to access these notes.

Google Docs: Comprehensive Exam Notes

My Papers

I am continually amazed at the ability to publish creative work on the internet. So for the two people who read my blog, I have provided a link to my Google Knol page that has some of my papers. Click on the following link to read and comment on my papers. I welcome constructive criticism on any paper that I post on my Knol site.

Sam Tsugawa's papers

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"Merle J. Isaac (1898-1996): His Contributions and Influence on Music Published for the School Orchestra" 2008 MENC Research Poster Presentation

Merle J. Isaac remains to this day a strong influence on the philosophical, curricular, and musical development of the school orchestra. Isaac’s prolific output of arrangements, compositions, and method books span sixty years making his name familiar to most school orchestra directors. In addition, Isaac’s articles and books provide sage advice on teaching, string pedagogy, and program management, consequently providing a pedagogical and leadership model for current music educators.

The purpose of this study is to add to the scant body of knowledge about Isaac and his superlative accomplishments and contributions to music education. In spite of Isaac’s prolific output of compositions and arrangements and his singular influence upon music education, few have written about Isaac and his contributions to string teaching. Gaps remain in the present story of people, places, and ideas associated with Merle Isaac.

This study will analyze Isaac’s arrangements, compositions, and his contributions and influence on the development on music published for the school orchestra. The availability of music and materials had a profound impact on the growth of the school orchestra between 1930 and 1950. During this period, Isaac’s arrangements, compositions, and method books provided a foundation of material that set the stage for the development of today’s school orchestra. This presentation will also include personal vignettes of Isaac’s colleagues that reflect the admiration and affection that many had for Isaac during his long career.

Click on the following link for the latest copy of this paper: Merle J. Isaac

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"The Arizona State University African Drum Ensemble: A Case Study" (Co-authored by Michelle McConkey) 2007 AMEA Poster Presentation


The research literature in various fields of study such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, and ethnomusicology strive to answer compelling questions such as, “Why do human beings get together to make music?” “What is it in the music that motivates them to gather to create musical sounds?” “What are the non-musical motivations to gathering and making music?” The purpose of this study was to investigate the motivations and meanings of group music making. This study observes participants (members of the African drum class), their attitudes and experiences with music making. The evidence cited in this study comes from three primary sources: interviews of class members, observation of rehearsals, and artifacts collected. Contextual information that clarifies the musical practices, equipment, history, geography, and social context comes from the body of literature on African drumming.

Motivations: The Rhythm

The underlying theme that binds this tale revolves around the rhythm. When the musics from all cultures of the world are considered, rhythm stands out as most fundamental. Rhythm is the organizer and the energizer. Without rhythm, there would be no music. Although our Western ears do not associate African drum music with anything melodic, there seems to be a secondary melodic element that adds to energy and excitement felt by the students in the class. West African drumming ensembles are often large with many multilinear parts, distinguished rather easily by the varied timbres of the different idiophonic instruments and drums. The synergy between rhythm and a unique “melodic” element may explain why many students are drawn to this class to a point where more students participate than register for the class.

Meanings: Stories of the Master Drummer

Stories provide a special meaning to the music learned in this ensemble. It facilitates the learning of the rhythms and it provides an authenticity that otherwise would be lost. The instructor has visited Senegal and studied its culture and music in depth. He brings this knowledge and interest into the classroom by teaching authentically through stories and teaching by rote.

Implications for Music Learning and Teaching

Throughout this study, we were intrigued with the motivation of students to participate in music making unfamiliar to them. We found ourselves drawn to two determinants of student motivation to participate in this ensemble: rhythm and teacher effectiveness. This is not a new concept; however, as music educators attempt to provide broader non-Western and multicultural musical experience in their classrooms, this study may provide insight on the factors that will motivate students to participate and skillfully perform musical styles traditionally not offered in the course of their primarily Western musical experience.

Click on the following link for a latest copy of this paper: Sam's Papers