Janet Revell Barrett

Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Endowed Scholar in Music Education

Ph.D., The University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990 M.A., The University of Iowa, 1982 B.M.E., The University of Iowa, 1977

Janet Revell Barrett is the Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Endowed Scholar in Music Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include the reconceptualization of the music curriculum, secondary general music, interdisciplinary approaches in music, and music teacher education.  Barrett has published widely in music education and is an author or editor of five books: Sound Ways of Knowing: Music in the Interdisciplinary Curriculum; Looking In On Music Teaching; Constructing a Personal Orientation to Music Teaching; Music Education at a Crossroads; and The Musical Experience: Rethinking Music Teaching and Learning. She has also served on the faculty of Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Prior to her work in higher education, Barrett taught general and choral music in Iowa and Wisconsin. She is immediate past chair of the Society for Music Teacher Education and editor of the Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education.

Key Professional Appointments

Associate Professor, Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University, 2003-2013

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1990-2003

Chair, Music Department, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2000-2003

Activities & Honors

Editor, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 2013-

Co-Editor, The Mountain Lake Reader: Conversations on the Study and Practice of Music Teaching

The Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, Northwestern University, 2003-2013

Consultant, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), 2012-

Chair, Society for Music Teacher Education, 2010-2012

Consultant and Strand Leader, Ravinia Festival Reach/Teach/Play, Music Discovery Project, 2004-2013

Coordinator, MENC Centennial Congress, 2007

Searle Teaching Fellow, 2005-2006

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater College of Arts and Communication Excellence in Research Award, Excellence in Service Award

North Central Division President, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, 2004-2006

President, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, 2004-2006

Editor, General Music Today, 2003-2004

Curriculum editor, BandQuest Project of the American Composers Forum, 2000-2004

Council for Research in Music Education, Outstanding Dissertation Award, 1990

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Future Directions Task Force, 1988-1990

Research Statement

Prominent themes in my scholarly work include music teacher education that emphasizes inquiry, reflection, and growth; reconceptualized views of the music curriculum that forward comprehensive visions of teaching and learning; the relationship of music study to other fields and art forms through interdisciplinary approaches; and qualitative methodologies in music education, especially related to the pedagogy of research education.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is a dynamic and reflective process that draws from a well-articulated knowledge of the field. As a music teacher educator, it is crucial that I strive for integrity, acting in accordance with my beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning in order to model thoughtful principles. Putting these beliefs into practice is an ethical dimension especially critical for teachers of teachers. I base my instructional foundation on principles derived from a social constructivist orientation in which meaning making, social contexts, cognitive change, emotional dimensions, and informed action undergird learning and teaching. I strive for a pedagogy that involves student dialogue, questioning, and projects that call for the integration and synthesis of emerging understandings. I also believe that meaningful change in students’ thinking often stems from puzzlement, surprise, or genuine curiosity, so I aim to establish a classroom environment in which students feel safe to challenge ideas, acknowledge ambiguity, and wrestle with multiple points of view. I facilitate group inquiry projects that draw upon students’ diverse areas of expertise and experience in collaborative efforts. I also believe that teaching can be an artistic expression in the way that learning experiences are sequenced, in the way the parts of the course relate to the whole, and through fluid responses to the ebb and flow of planned and serendipitous events. Finally, since the nature of learning to teach is situated, complex, and evolving, I assist students in developing their powers of perception, analysis, and reflection in order to direct their own professional growth and development.



Barrett, J. R., & Webster, P. R. (Eds.) (in press). The musical experience: Rethinking music teaching and learning. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Campbell, M. R., Thompson, L. K., & Barrett, J. R. (2010). Constructing a personal orientation to music teaching. New York, NY: Routledge.

Barrett, J. R. (Ed.) (2009). Music education at a crossroads: Realizing the goal of music education for all. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Olson, G. B., Barrett, J. R., Rasmussen, N. S., Barresi, A., & Jensen, J. (2000). Looking in on music teaching. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Primis.

Barrett, J. R., McCoy, C. W., & Veblen, K. K. (1997). Sound ways of knowing: Music in the interdisciplinary curriculum. New York, NY: Schirmer Books.

Book chapters, selected

Barrett, J. R. (in press). Future possibilities for qualitative research in music education. In C. Conway (Ed.), Oxford handbook of qualitative research in American music education. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Barrett, J. R. (in press). Case study research in music education. In C. Conway (Ed.), Oxford handbook of qualitative research in American music education. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Barrett, J. R. (2012). Working within, against, and across the system. In A. J. Palmer & A. De Quadros (Eds.), Tanglewood II: Summoning the future (pp. 283-291). Chicago, IL: GIA.

Barrett, J. R., & Veblen, K. K. (2012). Meaningful connections in a comprehensive approach to the music curriculum. In G. McPherson & G. Welch (Eds.), Oxford handbook of music education (pp. 361-380). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Barrett, J. R. (2007). Currents of change in the music curriculum. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International handbook of research in arts education (pp. 153-168). New York, NY: Springer.

Journal articles, selected

Barrett, J. R. (2012). Wicked problems and good work in music teacher education. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 21(2), 3-9.

Campbell, M. R., Thompson, L. K., & Barrett, J. R. (2012). Supporting and sustaining a personal orientation to music teaching: Implications for music teacher education. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 22(1),75-90.

Barrett, J. R. (2011). Judging quality and fostering excellence in music teaching. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 21(1), 1-6.

Barrett, J. R. (2011). Intersections of practice, research, and policy in music teacher education. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 20(2), 1-5.

Barrett, J. R. (2010). Momentum in music teacher education. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 20(1), 1-3.

Presentations, selected

Examining conceptions of music teaching (keynote). Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium on Music Teacher Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, September 2013.

Cultivating artistic sensibilities in children and teachers (keynote). Educating the Creative Mind Conference, Kean University, Union, NJ, May 2013.

Prompting the search for connections: The foundations of an interdisciplinary pedagogy in music education. The Seventh International Conference for Research in Music Education, University of Exeter, April 2013.

Toward a new generation of music teacher education. Crane Symposium for Music Teacher Education, SUNY-Potsdam, September 2012.

Cultivating the interdisciplinary imagination (keynote). Schulze Fund for Interdisciplinary Studies and Life of the Mind Program. University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, April 2012.

Guest Teaching

House of style: An interdisciplinary journey. Personalizing music listening. International Schools Choral Music Society: MASSive. Busan, South Korea, February 2013.

Connections, creativity, and expressiveness through music. Tennessee Arts Academy,Nashville, TN, July 2012.

Bonding with masterworks. Bridges of inspiration: Art, music, and creative writing. Catch the wave: Current trends in music education. International School Choral Music Festival, Dulwich College, Beijing, China, February 2012.

Sound connections: Music in the comprehensive curriculum. Central Connecticut State University Summer Institute, New Britain, CT, July 2011.