Air Date: 04-07-14

Maitri (Caroline Davis):  I have a genuine fascination with the process of learning - this is one reason I went to graduate school! You can check out my most recent CV if you'd like here.

Research: In 2010, I completed my Ph.D at Northwestern in Music Cognition. After six years of taking courses in Music, Cognitive Science, and Anthropology, teaching courses at Northwestern, collecting data and writing my dissertation, I made it! As a jazz musician, I have been exposed to the concept of contextual learning - the best way to learn this artform is by doing. And many times, we do this with the help of others - peer learning. Musician communities have always been fascinating to me, and in graduate school, I developed a keen interest in how culture influences cognition. So, I took some Ethnomusicology and Psychology classes to improve my understanding of the literature. My dissertation had several focuses, and if you'd like to read it, it's available here. For the short story, my dissertation had two goals:

1) Model the content and structure of knowledge for famous jazz performers through interviews, focus groups, and listening experiments
2) Understand the relationship between culture (jazz community) and this knowledge through social network analysis
I found that associations for music are content-specific, hierarchically organized, and tailored to the listener's experience. I got some pretty cool graphs from the social network software, UCINET, developed by social network analysts at The University of California, Irvine. My most impressive figure is below, and it shows the network of names mentioned during my interviews with jazz musicians in Chicago - 461 names!

I have extended this research of music communities to other regions. In 2011, I traveled to New Orleans, where I played music and spoke with some of the best jazz musicians in one of the birthplaces of jazz! Some of those musicians I had the privilege of spending time with were: Ellis Marsalis, Shannon Powell, Germaine Bazzel, Tim Green, Loren Pickford, Wessell "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Ed Petersen, Simon Lott, Rex Gregory, Darrian Douglas, and Jason Marsalis. In the future, I would like to return to New Orleans to conduct research in a more systematic way, to compare the jazz community with that in Chicago. I'd like to follow up with a perceptual study as well.

Columbia College (2012-13): I have been teaching Music Theory (20th Century Music Analysis, and Form and Analysis) at Columbia, and it has been really enjoyable! The students are very engaging, and I sometimes make them read articles and watch videos on Music and the Mind.

DePaul University (2010-12): During the winter quarter, I teach Psychology of Music Teaching and Learning, which is a graduate course designed to encourage a closer bond between Music Education and Music Psychology. The relationship between these two disciplines has the potential for growth. It is important to know how the mind develops in order to successfully apply learning techniques inside and outside of the classroom. What cognitive mechanisms prepare children for learning aspects of music, like melody, rhythm, harmony, and timbre? Should music educators be aware of age markers in music development? How does assessment play a role in musical development and creativity? How do we explain music psychology to children in the classroom? What components (social, cultural, musical, developmental, etc) contribute to the learning of music? These questions lie at the heart of this course. I also teach a similar course for undergraduates. The syllabus for the class can be found here.

Litchfield Jazz Camp (2005-2013): During the summers, I connect with jazz enthusiasts (young and old) for several weeks in Kent, Connecticut. The camp is also affiliated with the Litchfield Jazz Festival, which showcases world-renowned musicians, such as Jimmy Heath, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Slide Hampton, Toots Thielemans, Ray Charles, Tommy Flanagan, John Clayton, James Moody, Sonny Rollins, and Lee Konitz.

Northwestern University (2010-2011): As an Aural Skills instructor, I was able to work as part of a team, teaching a curriculum developed my music theorists at Northwestern. This curriculum is based on learning Partimenti in the galant style of music. In essence, our approach matched that which Mozart was exposed to as a young musician and composer in his heyday. We also incorporated traditional tools for rhythm, such as the Zoltán Kodály syllables.

Private Lessons: I have a modest-sized studio who are studying saxophone, piano, and flute performance at all levels. In the lessons, we will create an atmosphere for learning that is both motivating (i.e. fun!) and systematic.

Download: Maitri