Ashley Danielle (Danni) Gilbert Appointed Assistant Professor of Music Education

Ashley Danielle (Danni) Gilbert

The School of Music is proud to announce the appointment of Ashley Danielle (Danni) Gilbert to the Music Education Faculty as Assistant Professor of Music Education (Instrumental). Gilbert comes to the University of Minnesota from University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where she was an Associate Professor of Practice in Music Education. Gilbert earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and received her Masters of Music in Saxophone Performance at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She went on to earn her PhD in Music Education from University of Nebraska - Lincoln. We were able to catch up with Gilbert to learn more about her background in Music Education. 

Why University of Minnesota? What brought you to apply here?
My dream job has been to serve as a music education professor at an inspiring university where I can work with both undergraduate and graduate students, collaborate with dedicated colleagues, and build connections in a supportive community. So earning a position at the University of Minnesota is a dream come true! I am very honored for the opportunity to be a part of such an exciting and welcoming community of musicians, educators, and scholars. I greatly look forward to promoting music education in the Twin Cities and beyond!

What are your areas of specialty? How did you become interested in what you study and teach?
I didn't truly fall in love with music education until I became a teacher and worked with students. My students have always been my greatest teachers and sources of inspiration! I taught beginning and middle school band in the public schools where I became interested in incorporating more relevant and accessible technology in my teaching, learning more about what motivates students, and trying new ideas to promote curiosity and creativity in the classroom. Those experiences led me to earn my doctorate in music education and teach at the collegiate level where I had an opportunity to explore these topics more deeply and exchange ideas more broadly. During my time as a university professor, I have worked on issues related to the mental health and wellness of music educators, addressing diversity and gender equity, facilitating student-centered environments, promoting inclusivity for all, and applying action research in classroom settings to support positive change.

Are you a member of any music groups/associations?
I am a frequent saxophonist with the Omaha Symphony and am a member of professional organizations such as the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), International Society for Music Education (ISME), and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

What are you most excited about right now?
I am very excited about the new ideas, growth, and progress my discipline is making towards facilitating accessible music education for all and working towards removing barriers that can be limiting. I am thrilled to join a community that highly values diversity and inclusion. I enthusiastically look forward to building positive connections with music education programs within the Twin Cities and across the state. 

What are you listening to right now?
I am joyfully listening to my daughter practice for her beginning band concert and for her first solo in her school's choir!

Any fun facts or personal interests that you'd like to share?
My husband and I enjoy participating in bowling leagues together – our team name is the "Really Silly Gillys." We share three amazing daughters: Ellie (10), Brynn (8), and Nola (3). Our family likes to travel and explore new places together. I love to be outside and am preparing for my fifth half-marathon in the fall.  

Recent Publications
Gilbert, D. (2023). Ready, set, action! Applying action research during pre-service music field experiences. Florida Music Director, 76(7).
Gilbert, D. (2021). From the ivory tower to the trenches: Lessons learned from the professor who substitute taught. Nebraska Music Educator, 80(1).
Gilbert, D. (2021). A comparison of self-reported anxiety and depression among undergraduate music majors and non-music majors. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 30(3). 
Gilbert, D. (2021). An exploration of the use of and the attitudes toward technology among fourth and fifth grade band and orchestra teachers, students, and their parents. Research & Issues in Music Education, 16(1).
Barrett, J., Schachter, R., Gilbert, D., & Fuerst, M. (2021). Best practices for preschool music education: Supporting music-making throughout the day. Early Childhood Education Journal.

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