School of Music News
FEATURED STORY: Following Your Bliss as a Researcher
Harry E. Price is the recipient of the 2018 NAfME Senior Researcher award.
FOR HARRY E. PRICE, the idea of pursuing a career in music wasn’t exactly in his family’s plans. “My family has always been in business,” says Price, who began playing trombone in seventh grade, and decided around 10th grade that his path lay in music. “I sat my parents down and said, ‘I know it’s not for you, but I’m interested in music and teaching.’ And my father said, ‘You choose what you love, because money isn’t the answer. You’ve got to pick something you care about.’”
The shift from perform-ing to music education happened thanks to a job Price took while putting himself through school. “I got a job assisting Michael Wagner, who was in charge of technology at the time. I also helped a couple of doctoral students who were doing dissertations, one of whom was Cornelia Yarbrough. Interestingly. I ended up studying with her in Syracuse.” Price, who is the former Academic Editor of NAfME’s Journal of Research in Music Education (JRME), and current professor of music and music education at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in music education, both from Florida State University in Tallahassee, and a doctorate in teacher preparation from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
Price has been doing research for more than 35 years. He describes his passion this way: “It’s just stuff I’m interested in, stuff I wonder about. I go, ‘I wonder if...’ It’s just curiosity.” He has been working with colleague Steve Morrison on the effect of conducting regarding the perception of sound. “We did a study where we had different conductors conducting music, but we had the same performance. And we found that the effect of the conductor on people’s perception of the music was quite high. They rate the experience of the music on how expressive the conductor is.” Price also says that if people see a fancy conductor as opposed to a more placid one, the viewer’s perception is affected. “Plenty of conductors will say it doesn’t matter. I tend to believe research, and if I find research that is different from what I think, I change my thought because I believe in data.”
Price remarks that, “Joseph Campbell used to say, ‘Follow your bliss.’ And that’s what people should do. Find something you are excited about. Your dissertation is who you are going to be for at least five years, so people need to find something that excites them.”
As a tip for researchers, Price recom-mends, “Don’t start with the answer, like, ‘I’m going to do research and prove that I’m right. You’ve got to be open to any possibility. There is a difference between a belief and a fact. Be open to all ideas and all information, not just the information that supports what you think the answer should be, because that’s death in research.”
By Lisa Ferber
KSU’s Trey Wright Releases Third Album - “Songs from Oak Avenue”
Kennesaw, GA (March 1, 2016)–– School of Music jazz instructor Trey Wright recently released his third album titled Songs from Oak Avenue. Wright spent nine months co-producing the album with Marlon Patton, who also plays drums on the album.
“This album came together fairly quickly. It actually happened out of a recital I did here at KSU. I had written several tunes that were acoustic in nature and my trio did a recital of that material. The drummer, Marlon Patton, pulled me aside afterwards and said ‘It would be really cool for you to record these.’ So we did.”
Recorded at Blue Canoe Records, Marlon’s studio in Tucker, Songs from Oak Avenue draws from an array of inspirations. Each track showcases a different style of jazz, all of which reflect Wright’s diversity as an artist.
“Everything I’ve done draws from a wide range of things. I’ve always loved all styles of jazz, from traditional to modern to everything in between. I don’t have a desire to put out an album of just your typical jazz standards. I feel like I found a voice as a writer with this project.”
Although he spent a considerable amount of time perfecting each song, selecting the musicians to feature was simple. Marc Miller and Marlon Patton, who play upright bass and drums on the album, have jammed with Wright since the 1990’s. Sam Skelton, director of Jazz Studies at KSU, and Mace Hibbard, who collaborated with Wright on their jazz group The Hibbard/Wright Project, are both close friends to Wright.
It is his connection to Kennesaw State University’s School of Music that Wright credits with giving him creative freedom to pursue projects like Songs from Oak Avenue. In addition to teaching and composing on a regular basis, Wright also assisted with KSU’s Jazz Festival on April 30th.
“The faculty throughout the College of the Arts is all so talented and we all get along. Even as we’ve grown, that sense of community has continued. The enthusiasm that I feel for the music I’ve written carries over into my teaching. I encourage my students to write their own music and to develop their own voice. I think one of the best ways we can instruct our students is through modeling.”