Music & Art Professors Receive 2022 Innovative Faculty Award

Maureen Kochanek, assistant professor of art, and Jessica Vaughan-Marra, Ph.D., assistant professor of music and coordinator of music education, joined forces in the spring of 2022 to create a new way to teach their music and art history courses. This project, called "INTERSECTIONS: Visual Art and Music in History" earned them Seton Hill’s 2022 Faculty Innovation Award for Best Practices in Mobile Technology.  

Professors Kochanek and Vaughan-Marra developed a video series to introduce key concepts of the Baroque Period and Romanticism. The videos featured the professors presenting music and visual art examples for each historical period - overlapping the listening and “slow look” art experiences. The professors used PowerPoint and Zoom to create the videos. These files were then imported as raw footage into iMovie and edited into a two-part series including transitions and embedded audio examples. Students in Survey of Music Literature and History of Western Art accessed the videos through an unlisted YouTube library. 

"We invited students to see the intersectionality of the arts in these videos."

“We used the facet model, which is a way to organize reflection and discussion about art forms developed by scholars in music education, visual art and dance,” said Dr. Vaughan-Marra.  “With this organization in mind, we each recorded from our discipline, then came together for a slow look and guided listening discussion.” 

After presenting the videos, the professors asked their students to create similar presentations on assigned works from each respective course - while identifying a piece of music or visual art to cross reference and discuss. Students worked in pairs or small groups. For peer review, students shared their video submissions through discussion board posts within Canvas.  

Art and music students responded so positively to the classes that the professors plan to create another video for teaching the art and music of the Modern Era. 

“Prior to working on my Ph.D. I taught middle school band and orchestra in Cupertino California,” said Dr. Vaughan-Marra. “During my time in the Cupertino School District, I learned about the fantastic opportunities for reflection and synthesis of ideas that can be designed through the use of mobile technology in the music classroom. The project Professor Kochanek and I developed this past spring at Seton Hill expands these opportunities into higher education. This project is a fantastic example of students ‘demonstrating knowledge’ through discussion and reflection as well as designing presentations to share with others.”   

“Mobile technology has so many possibilities!” agrees Professor Kochanek. “While courses are designated Art or Music and can appear to be siloed, we invited students to see the intersectionality of the arts in these videos. I observed the visual art students in studios all wearing earbuds creating with their music - they grasped the concept that the past is not remote but something lived in the present!”