Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music
If you have ever experienced a stubborn musical earworm lingering in your mind for a period of time, think back to how vivid the music was and how incessantly it occupied your thoughts as if on repeat. The focus of my teaching and research is understanding what happens in music and uncovering its structure while it is unfolding in our minds. Music is a temporal art that exists as long as we can hear the sound. After the sound stops, it only lives for a brief moment in our short-term memory and imagination. To develop a "mind's ear"—an ability to hear the music in silence while looking at the score, or imagine musical structures while listening to the music—is at the core of the aural skills classes I teach at OSU. Throughout their careers, musicians develop skills in listening, analyzing, and interpreting music as it is playing. An important component of those skills is the ability to sight-read music, whether by singing or playing an instrument. I teach a four-semester sequence of aural skills, which trains our students to actively engage with sound and develop the competence to transcribe musical elements such as melodies, harmonies, or rhythm. These skills lead to a deeper understanding of a composer’s intent, more informed and stylistically appropriate performance, and development of general musicianship.
Just as strong as my interest is in aural skills, so is my love for choral music. I am currently the director of two choral ensembles: OSU University Singers and the community-based Stillwater Chamber Singers. University Singers is a large mixed ensemble that equally attracts students majoring in music and students from other departments across campus. Choral singing, as both an artistic and social activity, has the power to connect and unite singers of different backgrounds and interests into a single expressive "voice." My focus with this ensemble is to introduce students to music from various historical periods and geographical regions; to bring authentic performance to life and help create meaningful connections between the singers and audience.
With the same idea in mind, I have led the Stillwater Chamber Singers for over ten years. This is a vibrant ensemble of extremely dedicated choral enthusiasts whose love for singing has made this choir an important thread in the artistic fabric of Oklahoma. During the past thirty five years of our existence, we have participated in community events, sang at the Oklahoma Music Educators conferences, and collaborated with various artists and choirs. Our mission is to create programming that will excite the audience, introduce them to music and choral sounds they might have never heard before, and connect with our community through the joy of music making. As I research the choral repertoire for each concert, my goal is to include music by established composers of the choral canon and emerging composers, as well as diverse and underrepresented composers whose works offer a wealth of cultural and artistic significance.
My love for music spans decades. When I started playing piano as a child in Bosnia, I never dreamed that my future path would lead to so many avenues of music exploration. Teaching, performance, research, and community outreach are most important aspects of my current professional and artistic life. In addition to these endeavors, I have lately enjoyed playing accordion and discovering the magic of theremin.