Music Scholars

Research in the Arts Enriches Students’ Academic Experiences  


KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 2020) — Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts not only prepare undergraduates for careers in their respective disciplines, but also set them up for success in a complex global society through transformational scholarly engagement. The School of Music is one example of how the faculty use their expertise to enrich their students’ academic experiences.

“The arts are a vital and integral part of our community,” said Leslie Blackwell, interim director of the School of Music. “During COVID-19 this is most notable as the arts give us connections with each other, connections with our heart, mind, intellect, and soul.”

Every semester the College of the Arts hosts the undergraduate research forum to showcase the wide variety of research projects from music and dance to theatre and design.

“Research is at the core of all we do in order to understand the reasons behind the music, its style, history, form, and context,” said Blackwell, also director of choral activities and professor of music and music education. “The ‘why’ is one of the most important elements to understanding the ‘how to’ so that we at Kennesaw State University can become the next generations of creators and innovators in music.”

Meghan O'HarraIn fall 2020 from the School of Music, Meghan O’Harra presented a project on the Schenkerian analysis, a method of analyzing tonal music.

“We were developing an entirely unique analysis method, so it was a lot of "guess and check," which can be frustrating,” said O’Harra. “The little breakthroughs made it worth it, though, because it felt like the idea was really important and new.”

The research presentation was a result of a term paper on the theory of Heinrich Schenker. The class professor thought the research idea was interesting and asked if O’Harra would be willing to do research over the summer and eventually co-author a paper together.

“I really liked how I was constantly learning and understanding new things about the pieces I was working with,” O’Harra added. “Doing this kind of formal research was a lot of fun.” 

O’Harra, who is from Lawrenceville, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Theory this month with plans to attend a graduate program for music theory and teach at the collegiate level while playing in a community orchestra.

Bryson Brozovsky became involved with research through a music history Honors project on medieval monophonic chants.

During another undergraduate research forum Brozovsky presented a project on these chants which were translated and interpreted. These chants, typically written in Latin and using an old style of musical notation, were commonly sung in religious settings. The chants can be found in KSU’s Bentley Rare Book Museum that includes a collection of about 10,000 pieces.

“The ability to discover through research can expand understanding, uncover lost history, and provide context for a myriad of topics,” said Brozovsky, who is from Canton. “It can act as direct input into enriching how we view the world around us.”

Brozovsky’s research journey also included the opportunity to work with music notation software, using voice in creative ways, and learning about some of the earliest recorded music. 

Bryson Brozovsky“I have many artistic inspirations that manifest in different mediums like music, acting, and film,” Brozovsky said. “but my biggest connection is with music.” 

With that love of music, Brozovsky will also be conducting research on the music business while completing a minor in the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program, a joint venture of the Coles College of Business and the College of the Arts.

After graduating with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Applied Voice, Brozovsky’s future plans consist of continuing a career in the arts— recording music, acting, and performing.

“Performing has been a channel for what I feel is my truest form of self-expression,” Brozovsky said. “As part of my path forward, I will be researching modern performing artists looking for common elements that allow them to successfully navigate the ever-changing cultural and technological landscapes.”