Buss ‘22 Conducts Music Research for Conducting Ensembles

Posted on October 12th, 2020 by

Lauren Buss ‘22 researched music conducting for Dr. James Patrick Miller’s upcoming book, Teaching Basic Conducting. Buss and Dr. Miller collaborated to write a new method of teaching conducting to undergraduate and graduate students. “She went far beyond what the expectations were for her summer research… She also was really creative in taking different approaches, she came up with different ideas and potential things that she followed on her own,” Dr. Miller reflected.


The goal of their project is to create conducting methods that will ultimately reach numerous professors and students. The research began with the topic of synchronization, and how people respond to different physical movements used in conducting. Buss’s extensive research and upper-level writing skills inspired Miller to continue adding to different sections of his book and even re-visiting past areas of research. 


Dr. Miller was a constant contact for Buss throughout her research, and the two had frequent meetings over Zoom to bounce ideas off of each other. Buss said “We both learned a lot from each other. I had a lot of the background research without the context, and he had the context to come back and look at the research.” 


In her research experience, Buss was able to attend two online conferences on conducting, the University of Minnesota conducting symposium and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) conducting symposium. These conferences would typically be in-person, but the conferences were moved online to accommodate COVID 19. Both conferences offered a great opportunity for Buss to network and gain future contacts in the music and conducting world.


Throughout the next year, Buss and Dr. Miller plan to continue working on the book while Dr. Miller is on sabbatical. After his sabbatical, Dr. Miller will incorporate their research results into the classroom to test and refine his methodology. Dr. Miller and Buss plan to jointly present their research findings at state conferences. “Typically when people first think of research they don’t think of the arts, but there’s so much meaningful work to do in the arts,” said Dr. Miller. Buss’s summer research experience offers a different perspective of what is possible in student research across different disciplines.


Buss’s research on this project was funded by the Johnson and Peterson Summer Research Fellowship. 


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