In this week’s episode I welcome John Hughes to discuss the things we wish we had known when we were starting out as teachers and conductors. We discuss the cynicism that develops over the years in many of us, as well as the loss of “awe” when hearing choral music and how to get it back! In one part of the conversation we discuss the importance of separating achievement from self-worth as well as the problem with expecting ourselves and our singers to be perfect. We even get into the practical side, regarding rehearsal planning, and other self management strategies.
“I would offer my younger self—full of ambition, hungry for success and respect, and willing to work hard— these gentle words and encourage him to take a breath or two. The “no excuses” approach may be effective, but it may end up making you miserable inside.” From the Preface of “Letters to a Young Conductor” by John C. Hughes
One of the “elephants in the room” within education discussions related to merit, opportunity and access is the wide range and disparity of challenges that teachers face in creating quality programs within their schools. Mark Bailey believes that music, but most importantly the PEOPLE IN music, changes the lives of those around them. And crucially, that music has the ability to change the soul and trajectory of someone’s life. Sadly, in many places where “other problems” seem so much more pressing, music and other Fine Arts programs fall by the wayside. Leading to quality educators not wanting to teach in the schools that need them the most. Mark has been teaching in Title 1 Schools in the US for much of is fifteen year career and brings a comprehensive plan for success and encourages quality educators to test their mettle in these types of schools. We also discuss the role of music competition as both a motivator and a barrier toward equity in education. Tune in for this challenging, but ultimately optimistic conversation.
Mr. Mark A. Bailey is proud to be the Director of Choirs at Palo Duro High School of Amarillo ISD in Amarillo, Texas and is a sought after clinician and published researcher. Mr. Bailey’s most recent scholarly work is published in TMEA’s 2018 edition of the Texas Music Educators Research Journal and focuses on poverty and music education. He has recently presented similar research at the annual ACDA International Symposium on Research in Choral Singing. His choirs have recorded and premiered original works for Carl Fischer Music. He is entering his 15th year as a professional music educator. Before coming to Palo Duro, Mr. Bailey was the Director of Choirs at Brazoswood High School. Prior to that, Mr. Bailey was Head of Fine Arts and Director of Choirs at The American School of Kuwait, and Director of Choirs at Atascocita Middle School, La Porte High School, and Houston Christian High School. Choir programs under Mr. Bailey’s direction receive consistent UIL Sweepstakes ratings and top festival honors.
Mr. Bailey is a graduate of Baylor University (B.M.Ed.) and Texas Tech University (M.M.Ed.) and has studied educational research with Dr. Janice Killian and choral conducting with Dr. Anton Armstrong, Mr. Donald Neuen, Dr. Jeffery Ames, Dr. Donald Bailey, and Dr. Carolyn Cruse. Mr. Bailey has also performed under the direction of world-renowned conductors Paul Salamunovich, Eph Elly, Andre Thomas, and Anton Armstrong. Professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Mr. Bailey is an avid fan of Major League Baseball, and all books Sci-Fi and Mystery. Mr. Bailey’s wife, Hannah, is the Head Librarian at Caprock High School in Amarillo ISD. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey have two young children, Henry and Charlotte. In his spare time, Mr. Bailey enjoys arranging and composing choral works, writing research in education, and playing his favorite game, American Mahjong.
In May of 2023, American Choral Directors dedicated an issue of their “Choral Journal” to Gender Inequity in Choral Music. The Research Report in this issue was penned by Dr. Melissa Baughman from the University of Oklahoma. In the article, she summarizes the current state of research on the topic of Women in Conducting careers. We learned that most of the existing research in this area exists in the instrumental world as well as learning that the choral world has a concentration of Women in the middle and high school levels with major disparities at the collegiate level. In this episode, Melissa and I dissect the issues that come up in the research related to gender stereotypes, gender bias, as well as the “messy problem” of trying to make improvements of access as well as in our understanding of why the disparities exist in the first place. (Hint: it’s never just ONE thing.) Tune in for this nuanced conversation where we go “beyond the memes” and dig in to the heart of an important issue.
Dr. Melissa Baughman is an Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Oklahoma where she supervises student teachers and instructs undergraduate and graduate courses in choral methods, conducting, and vocal pedagogy. She is dedicated to promoting student wellness and leads a wellness initiative for the OU School of Music called Breathe OUt. She also serves as a co-facilitator for the Music Teacher Health and Wellness Area for Strategic Planning and Action for the Society of Music Teacher Education (SMTE). Prior to joining the faculty at OU, Dr. Baughman taught at Middle Tennessee State University, Central Methodist University (MO), and was the director of middle and high school vocal music in Montpelier, Ohio.
As a researcher and advocate for wellness and equity in music, Melissa has presented at state, national, and international conferences sponsored by the International Society for Music Education (ISME), the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS), the National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE), the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), the Oklahoma Music Educator’s Association (OkMEA), and the Missouri Music Educator’s Association (MMEA). Her research has been published in the Journal of Music Teacher Education, International Journal of Music Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Journal of Singing, Choral Journal, and Missouri Journal of Research in Music Education. Her essay, “Nevertheless, She Sings: Empowering Women in Choral Music” is published in the book, Relevance in the Choral Art, edited by Tim Sharp.
Praised as an “illustrious soprano,” Melissa’s performance highlights include singing the soprano solos for Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G Major, Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore. She is currently a guest artist with the American chamber choir, Vox Nova, who received The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music–Community Ensemble Division in 2018. As a graduate student, she received first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) voice competitions and was named an Emerging Artist at MU. Dr. Baughman earned her PhD in music education with an emphasis on vocal pedagogy and choral conducting and a MM (voice performance) from the University of Missouri. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in music education (magna cum laude) and a master’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University.
In this special Oxford Series episode, I catch Dr. Zanaida Robles for a conversation about her philosophy as a composer, as well as the way all of her musical and personal identities mingle to create a context for her music making. We discuss the compositional process, including the philosophy she holds related to the “end product” for singers. Namely, the importance of the singers exploring their own communities and connections WHILE also exploring the music. We also bounce ideas back and forth related to composers having to be careful about “over refining” a composition, as well as the music world’s attempt to balance goals of equity with the human need for each composer to be valued based on their OWN music and individual expression. You won’t want to miss this conversation!
Dr. Zanaida Stewart Robles is an award-winning Black American female composer, vocalist, and teacher. She is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education and performance. Authentic interpersonal connection and relationship-building are core principles of her teaching and performance methods. Born, raised, and educated in Southern California on the unceeded lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, she is in demand as a composer, vocalist, clinician and adjudicator for competitions, festivals, and conferences related to choral and solo vocal music.