From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis

Commencement 2018

Webster University Commencement by Eric Woolsey

Webster University Commencement by Eric Woolsey

Commencement was five weeks ago.

I enjoyed the Commencement Dinner this year, as an honoree for the Messing Award.

And of course our Department of Music alumna Jennifer Johnson Cano was the 2018 Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts Outstanding Alumna.



Chamber Singers reunion

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Dr. Trent Patterson hosted a Chamber Singers reunion this weekend, with nearly 40 singers in attendance, spanning his eight years at Webster University.

The concert was Sunday afternoon, but apparently the fun lasted the weekend.

Alums flew in from Texas and North Carolina and drove in from other states.  People who had never sung together in this choir joined their voices in repertoire representing eight years of choral programming.

And the concert was tremendously moving.

This was a good day to be at Webster University faculty member, and I’m betting a good day to be an alum.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

From Wikipedia:

Bloom’s taxonomy is a set of three hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The three lists cover the learning objectives in cognitive, affective and sensory domains. The cognitive domain list has been the primary focus of most traditional education and is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities.

In the cognitive domain, verbs are intended to be feasible and measurable.  This is a key for us in student assessment.

Resources and references


The end

And empty board means the end of the semester. This always feels strange…

Signing Day

Lindbergh High School hosted a fine arts scholarship signing day last week.  We are enrolling three new students from Lindbergh in a few months:

  • Zach Tesch, composition
  • Dragomir Page, compostion
  • Cullen Curth, music direction for musical theatre

Dr. David Werfelman represented Webster at the signing day.  Here he is with the two composition majors:


Honors Convocation

We celebrated graduating students today at our annual Music Honors Convocation.

Several honorees are in Vienna right now, but we named students with Departmental Honors in Music:

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After more recognitions — of departing faculty, of students with Latin honors — we heard from some of the performance majors:

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Dominique Price and Sarah Nelson.

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Mary Robinson sings one of her own works, accompanied by Sarah Nelson.

Our concert was on the Community Music School stage, and I’m sorry that my photo of Matt Conrad at the marimba didn’t turn out well. I was hurrying and the focus was off!

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Institutions of higher earning

This is a powerful episode. I encourage a close listen!


Our faculty search is proceeding. We meet two more candidates this week!

Four faculty candidates

This week, we begin a series of public events that we expect to culminate in the hiring of a new colleague.

As we continue to position the Department of Music with purposeful longitudinal strategies looking toward the next quarter-decade or more, we posted this job opening earlier this semester:

Webster University in St. Louis announces a full-time, tenure-track position in music at the assistant professor level to begin in August 2018.  We are seeking a highly innovative, versatile instrumentalist (brass, string, or woodwind) who is an active performer and has a strong background in music education, outreach, and creative musicianship.

The ideal applicant also will have interest and expertise in the essential components of 21st-century musicianship, including experience with jazz or other musics outside the traditional Western canon, the ability to teach improvisation, and knowledge of the contemporary “gig” economy.

The appointee will teach applied music within the candidate’s instrumental specialty, as well as courses in instrumental music education and improvisation. The appointee may also teach in other areas, including general education and interdisciplinary courses, depending on the candidate’s expertise and the needs of the Department

After reviewing dozens of applications, the search committee is inviting four candidates to campus.

Public events for each candidate follow a common schedule, and include
9 a.m. Presentation #1
Noon Presentation #2
2.30 p.m. Q&A with students (open to all)
3.30 p.m. Brief performance recital.

These events are 25-30 minutes in length.

Candidate visits are scheduled on
Thursday, April 19
Thursday, April 26
Tuesday, May 1
Thursday, May 3.

Specific location information will be posted in Thompson House on the events board, and in WebsterToday (the day prior to the visit).


All public sessions are partial ThompsonTalks for students as well.  With sixteen events spread over four days, students will need to attend any three events to equal one ThompsonTalk.  Any six events equals two ThompsonTalks.  Sign in and stay for the entire 25 minutes!

As a bonus, we will bank one completed ThompsonTalk for next semester.  Students who have completed requirements for this semester may attend any three of the sixteen events, and that will count as one ThompsonTalk in Fall 2018.  Bottom line: any combination of three/six/nine faculty search public events will equal one/two/three ThompsonTalks, with up to one ThompsonTalk being banked for Fall 2018 once the Spring 2018 requirement is completed.

And we will have doughnuts at the 9 a.m. session!


Leveling the field