Dr. Melissa Brunkan, Assistant Professor of Music Education at Louisiana State University, led the Professional Development workshop for the Kids’ Orchestra teaching artists on Saturday, January 16th. The focus of the workshop was child development and the relationships to music, developmental theories, differentiated instruction, and classroom management strategies. Teaching artists participated in group discussions, musically driven activities, and team building exercises. The workshop was held at St. James Place in the DuPlantier Commons.
Melissa C. Brunkan, Assistant Professor of Music Education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (B.M., music education, choral conducting), Northwestern University (M.Mus., vocal performance/pedagogy), and The University of Kansas (Ph.D., music education). Prior to her work at Louisiana State University, she taught in public and private schools in the Minneapolis/St, Paul, Milwaukee, and Chicago areas for twelve years, teaching students from pre-K through adult with an emphasis on secondary choral/vocal music. Other experience has included private voice teaching as well as conducting, musical theater directing, post-surgical vocal pedagogy consultation, and workshop facilitation.
Dr. Brunkan has sung and conducted professionally with choirs, opera and theater companies and churches throughout the United States, including the Minnesota Chorale, the Florentine Opera, Stages Theater Company, and the Twin Cities Womens’ Chorus. Vocal performance has taken her to places such as Denver, CO, New York, NY and Chicago, IL. Recently, she founded a community choir for adults with intellectual disabilities. Her choirs have sung with artists and conductors from places such as China, Venezuela, and Indonesia, performing in various venues from the Minnesota State Capitol to the Kennedy Center.
Her primary research interests include the use of gesture in choral/vocal pedagogy, lifespan voice pedagogy, singers with medical conditions affecting the voice, conductor gesture and behaviors, and the adolescent voice. Her research has been presented at regional, national, and international venues in such places as Philadelphia, Tucson, Newfoundland, and Greece. Brunkan has published articles in various journals including Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, andThe International Journal of Music Education: Research. She has held leadership roles in professional organizations such as the American Choral Directors’ Association, serves on the Board of Directors for the VoiceCare Network, and has served as editorial assistant for IJME: Research.