Episode 173: Culturally Relevant Excellence with Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock

This week I am excited to bring you a compelling discussion with the esteemed, and often outspoken Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock. In this episode we mainly center on three distinct, but not unrelated topics. First, Dr. Murdock shares his passion for Culturally Relevant pedagogy in the choral context as we discuss what it this concept requires, as well as it’s common misunderstandings. We also get to hear the case for the creation of the FIRST Graduate program in Black Sacred Music. Jeff makes the performance practice argument for this area of academic study that I found incredibly convincing. The University of Arkansas’ “Center For Black Music” is now a reality that is the first of its kind.

Beware of folks who claim to be experts in music education who have never taught in a K-12 classroom, or who have only done so for three days…..

Jeffrey Murdock
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Finally, we discuss advice for Choir Directors when navigating the landscape of online “Music Educator Personae.” How do separate the pedagogue from the marketing? How do we know if the person we are hiring to present a session, can justify their claim of expertise? Jeff and Chris discuss this new phenomenon in our field over the last few years. Of course, I felt personally connected to this topic as a person who makes a living from choral pedagogy marketing!

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Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock is internationally known as a conductor and clinician. He currently serves as Director of Choral Activities, Founding Director of the Arkansas Center for Black Music, and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas. He is the 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science, and 2019 Most Outstanding Faculty at the University of Arkansas. He is the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year.

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Dr. Murdock has conducted regional and state honor choirs, and headlined conferences in 26 states and 5 countries. With research interests inclusive of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in the Choral Classroom, Music in Urban Schools, and Social Justice in Music Education, he has presented at state, regional and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the International Society for Music Education (ISME), and the American Choral Director’s Association, where he serves as president-elect of the Southwestern Division, past-president of Arkansas ACDA, and serves on the national diversity subcommittee. Choirs under Dr. Murdock’s direction have performed at the Arkansas All-State Conference and the Southwestern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. In addition to being an accomplished conductor of western choral music, Dr. Murdock is also a skilled gospel musician and conductor. He has served on the conducting staff of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., has collaborated with numerous world-renown Gospel recording artists.

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Dr. Murdock holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting, both from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Music Education from the University of Memphis.

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