Making a Difference in Music Education: Honoring the Career of Professor Emerita Laura Sindberg
The School of Music honors Professor Laura Sindberg as she earns the title of Professor Emerita from the College of Liberal Arts. Her years of unwavering dedication to the field of music education have impacted the School of Music and the wider Midwest music education community. In this article, we take a look back at her illustrious career path.
Sindberg’s career began in Wisconsin with a music education degree from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she received her BFA and MM degrees. She experienced a successful 17-year public school career in Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Waukesha) before pursuing her PhD in music education at Northwestern University.
During her time as a public school music teacher, Sindberg championed the Central Bands Commissioning Project, a program aimed at commissioning new music for students to experience the entire process of premiering a new composition, including fostering relationships between composers and young band students. The project generated new works for young concert bands, and lasted for six years.
Sindberg served on the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Project since 1990 and is a Past Chair of the project. She has presented numerous sessions on topics related to comprehensive musicianship regionally and nationally, and published Just Good Teaching: Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance in Theory and Practice (Rowman & Littlefield/NAfME, 2012) a book centered on the Wisconsin CMP Model and its application in band, choir, and orchestra. Sindberg’s book has been widely adopted in music teacher preparation programs as well as among practicing teachers around the country.
Her path then brought her to Lawrence University, where she served as Visiting Associate Professor and conducted the Wind Ensemble at Lawrence Academy of Music. Sindberg’s vision for what was to become the Band Project at University of Minnesota was introduced while she was at Lawrence University. She also taught at DePaul University in Chicago for four years, where she was head of their Music Education program.
Sindberg joined the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in 2010. While teaching at the School of Music, Sindberg launched the University of Minnesota Band Project, a teaching apprenticeship in which pre-service music educators provide instruction to beginning band students in high-poverty schools in Minneapolis. Over its eight-year history, Band Project has touched the musical lives of over 100 young band students and over thirty music education students.
When asked about the inspiration behind the project, Sindberg cited her own school music experience. “When I was growing up in Milwaukee, I was the beneficiary in Milwaukee Public Schools of opportunities to pursue music. Even though I couldn’t afford an instrument, and my parents couldn’t afford lessons.” A reason she began teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools was “to help provide experiences to students who didn’t have those opportunities...that has been a value of mine throughout my life.”
For many years, Sindberg influenced the next generation of music educators in Minnesota with her teaching philosophy of kindness and inclusion. She published several research projects that aim to bridge the gap between research and practice in music through collaboration, civic engagement, and expanded opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Former School of Music Director Michael Kim said “Professor Sindberg has been a compassionate and dynamic advocate for our students and music program since her arrival here at the University of Minnesota. I was always impressed and moved by her thoughtfulness and insights with regard to our curriculum and approach to music education, and she was a superbly collaborative and kind colleague. We are very proud of all her accomplishments and deeply appreciative of her countless contributions to our music program and the Twin Cities community. On behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of the School of Music, we warmly thank her and wish her the happiest and richest road ahead as she transitions to the next phase of her life's work and journey.“
Please join us in honoring the long and successful career of Professor Emerita Laura K Sindberg. We wish her a happy and restful retirement. Sindberg is currently pursuing new endeavors as a Master Gardener Volunteer Intern through the U of M extension program. If you would like to share your good wishes for Professor Sindberg, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.