Title/Position: Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Music EducationProfile:
Why did you choose music education as your career?
I first and foremost consider myself to be an educator, one that uses music as the medium to facilitate learning. One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a music educator is watching young students stop thinking of themselves as a person who plays music to one thinks of themselves as a musician. This step towards self-identification is perhaps one of the most important processes an adolescent passes through on the way to maturity; that is, when they no longer consider themselves to be defined by what they do (or don’t do), but rather by who they are. Like sports, poetry, or computers, music is a powerful catalyst for this process, especially for disenfranchised students who might not otherwise find school engaging. I chose to become an educator in order to foster this change in the students I work with. I chose to become a music educator because of music’s ability to do so by uplifting and challenging the mind, while remaining a vital force throughout a person’s lifetime. Just like being an ensemble musician, being an effective educator demands an understanding of the dynamics of the group in which you operate. You must know when to lead, and when to serve as part of the background so that others may step forward; when to lay down a foundation, and when to improvise around it; when to push things along, and when to relax to allow events to unfold organically. The true joy of working in such a group results when each member has the capability and awareness to provide a dynamic contribution to the final product.
What would you say are the most outstanding highlights of your professional life?
- Presenting research at the NAfME (formerly MENC) Keokuk II Centennial Celebration. The presentation took place within sight of the historic Iowa site that hosted the first meetings of the Music Supervisor’s National Conference (MSNC) in 1907.
- Conducting selections from Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli for mass services at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City with a high school ensemble. The performance was a part of a tour was the first of its kind in the school’s history; several students had not even been on an airplane before.
- Serving as conductor for middle school All-State choirs in Oregon and Delaware.
- Being invited to present research in Lithuania on musical video games and their potential uses in developing bimanual coordination. While there, I introduced members of a local children’s choir to several prominent examples of these games, and watched as they gleefully strummed, tapped, or danced their way through various scenarios. I was subsequently challenged to an impromptu guitar duel by an 8-year old, which—to my great embarrassment and her delight—I promptly lost.
What do you hope to pass on to your students?
Students of music are inevitably going to be passionate about their art form. What I hope to elicit from my students is the desire to ignite the same level of passion in others.
What music have you been listening to lately?
I try to keep an eclectic mix on rotation at all times, something that makes for interesting “shuffle” playlists. A quick glimpse through my music library would show anything from Coleman Hawkins to Two Door Cinema Club; Enrico Caruso to Cake; Oum Kalthoum to Fela Kuti. It is important that creative musicians also be historians and anthropologists of sorts; that is, to not only be fluent in the musical lingua franca, but to also have conversational knowledge about how the rest of the world interacts with their own music.
Corin Overland is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Music Education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in choral conducting, choral literature and secondary choral methods. Overland received a Ph.D. in Music Education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he held teaching and research assistantship positions. Overland holds an M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and a B.A. in Music Education from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Dr. Overland has taught choral music at the secondary level for 14 years in Minnesota, Maryland, and Missouri, and holds multiple teaching certifications in choral, instrumental and general music. Prior to beginning his doctoral work, he was the Director of Choral Music at Punahou Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii: the nation’s largest private school. He frequently appears as guest conductor and clinician for local and national events, serving most recently as the conductor of All-State Jr. Honor Choirs in Oregon and Delaware. His research interests include the history of music education organizations; integrated-arts school reform models; and the effects of musical training on physical coordination and timing. He has presented research nationally and internationally, and is published in the Journal of Research in Historical Music Education and the Music Educator’s Journal.