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Jason Thompson hired as assistant professor of music education in the School of Music

Jason Thompson joins the ASU School of Music as assistant professor of music education, beginning in fall of 2015.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

June 16, 2015

The ASU School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Thompson as assistant professor of music education.

“We are delighted that Jason Thompson will join our faculty this fall,” said Heather Landes, director of the School of Music. “Thompson’s research portfolio parallels the Herberger Institute socially engaged practices initiative; he brings a number of courses and teaching interests that will enhance our offerings in music, music education and engagement with community; and he provides a unique voice to our faculty.”

Thompson graduated with a PhD from Northwestern University this spring, and his dissertation research focuses on the role that creating rap music may play in how detained youth experience their incarceration.

“While the contexts of prisons have been characterized as places filled with fear, violence, extreme sadness, boredom and even violence, findings in my study suggest that participating in the musical experience can be positive experiences for youth detained in these settings,” says Thompson. “My findings suggest that music making was a platform for participants’ artistic expression, an opportunity for culture relevance and a means for identity construction, to name a few.”

As Landes notes, Thompson’s research interests and professional experiences align closely with several initiatives in the Herberger Institute, including socially engaged practice in design and the arts, arts in urban contexts and sociocultural issues in arts education.

“The School of Music’s reputation as a top-ranked music institution was an initial attraction as a place to work, but the most important draw was the Herberger Institute’s focus on how socially engaged practices in the arts can transform societies for the better,” says Thompson. “ASU is a forerunner in regards to thinking about the role the arts will play in the future, and I’m really honored to be a part of seeing that mission come into fruition.”

In addition to his work in the music education and music therapy division, Thompson will contribute to non-major offerings such as Gospel Choir, general music studies courses, and potentially the Urban Music Ensemble. “In both teaching and research, I’m really looking forward to rolling my sleeves up and digging my hands deep into the transformative work of music that will potentially connect ASU students with surrounding communities,” says Thompson.

Prior to beginning his PhD work, Thompson taught at Appalachian State University. He also has general and choral music education experience in elementary, middle and high schools in North Carolina and Virginia.

Originally from Hillsborough, North Carolina, Thompson was raised in a family with a strong focus on music at home and in the church he attended. “These experiences were coupled with an amazing elementary music teacher and high school choral director whose teaching styles made music a favorite subject and a possible career goal for me,” says Thompson. “I used to think that I chose music; I’ve come to believe that music really chose me, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison