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Brenda Brenner Appointed to lead String Music Education Initiative

Addressing a widely acknowledged need for qualified string music educators in public schools, the IU Jacobs School of Music announces the appointment of violinist Brenda Brenner. The new full-time tenure-track position takes advantage of the Jacobs School's excellent string performance program, a nationally recognized pre-college string program, and one of the country's leading music education departments.

Music Education Department Chair Patrice Madura enthusiastically welcomed Brenner, "We are truly thrilled to have hired Brenda Brenner as our new associate professor in string music education. We have been searching for several years for the right person for this position—someone whose own exceptional artistry in both performance and teaching could inspire the best young string players to become skilled and passionate teachers, and to inspire music teachers and their students in the state of Indiana (and nationally) to reach for the highest levels of artistry in their playing. We believe that Brenda can help us reach our goal of making the state of Indiana the model for the nation in terms of string music education. Our Music Education Department faculty roster is now complete, with specialists in every essential performance, teaching, and research area."

Dean Gwyn Richards praised the decision to hire Brenner, "The appointment of Brenda Brenner is a significant moment in the development of string education in the IU Jacobs School. It attests to our commitment to string education at all age levels, it connects to the path-breaking work of Mimi Zweig and her pre-college string program, and it promises to refocus the national dialogue about the future of string education, its values, standards, and expectations. Brenda Brenner is uniquely qualified to provide leadership on and to bring a fresh perspective to these important issues."

With 14 years of experience teaching in the IU pre-college string program, Brenner considers herself well-prepared for the project ahead. Much of her pedagogical foundation will be derived from StringPedagogy.com, an ongoing multimedia project developed by Jacobs Professor of Music and director of the IU String Academy Mimi Zweig. Zweig has used StringPedagogy.com as a sounding board for the experience and lessons learned in the private studio. Applying the teaching principles to the public schools seems a natural extension of the very successful project.

Brenner hopes to establish a tradition of excellence in the minds of undergraduate and graduate students who have an aptitude for music education. She laments that the vast majority of string majors want to be performers, which in turn contributes to the shortage of string teachers. "Like performers, string education students need to have a role model at a very high level to help them feel fulfilled and validated," said Brenner. "The Jacobs School of Music has the distinct advantage of having students and faculty who are able to collaborate on the highest level in both music education and performance. I hope to send many future string pedagogues out into the national field with a strong knowledge of music education, a solid foundation in music performance, and a passion for working with generations of future performers and music lovers."

Brenner was assistant professor of music in violin at IU from 1993 to 2006, when she accepted the position. She specializes in string music education, teaching applied violin, as well as courses in violin and string pedagogy. In addition to her appointment to the Music Education Department, she continues to serve as assistant director of the IU String Academy, a position she has held since 1993. Brenner, an active teacher and performer of chamber music throughout the United States, also teaches and conducts at the IU Summer String Academy and is assistant director of the IU Retreat for Professional Violinists and Violists. She was previously a member of the faculty at Carleton College and an instructor at Eastman School of Music, where she was a member of the award-winning Augustine Quartet.

The IU Jacobs School Music Education Department is one of the most renowned such programs in the country, with particular strength in the diversity and depth of its prominent faculty members' interests and specialties.