2021 Keynote Speakers

Scott Edgar

Associate Professor of Music, Music Education Chair, and Director of Bands
Lake Forest College

The Heart of Teaching Music

Thursday, March 4
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm EST


Our students encounter a great deal of social and emotional challenges affecting their lives personally, academically, and for musicians, musically. These students, seeking support for these challenges, approach music educators regularly. Music educators and their music programs are in a primed position to provide students this support through a socially rich and emotionally sound environment. However, music educators are rarely prepared to offer this support. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a framework intended to help students become socially and emotionally competent.

Dr. Scott N. Edgar is associate professor of music, music education chair, and director of bands at Lake Forest College in Illinois. He received his doctorate of philosophy in music education from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree in education from the University of Dayton, and his bachelor’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University. His previous teaching experience in higher education includes work at Adrian College and Concordia College Ann Arbor. Prior to his work in higher education, he taught K–12 instrumental music in Ohio and Michigan.

Dr. Edgar is the author of Music Education and Social Emotional Learning: The Heart of Teaching Music and is an internationally sought-after clinician on the topic. In addition to clinics, he also teaches graduate courses on musical social emotional learning at VanderCook College of Music. He is an active clinician and adjudicator for both concert band and marching band, and regularly presents at professional development and research conferences. Dr. Edgar is a Music for All educational consultant, a Conn-Selmer educational clinician, and a VH1 Save the Music Foundation educational consultant. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Educational Research Association, the College Music Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music fraternity, and Kappa Kappa Psi Band fraternity. He lives in Lake Villa, Illinois, with his wife Steph, their son Nathan, and their cats Elsa and Wolfie.

Aaron Dworkin

Professor of Arts Leadership & Entrepreneurship, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
University of Michigan

Talent is No Accident of Birth: A DE&I Journey through the World of Strings

Friday, March 5
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm EST


In this inspiring talk, violinist Aaron Dworkin shares his personal story which informed his life of social entrepreneurship. His engaging presentation includes his founding of the Sphinx Organization, whose mission is to transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts, his service as dean of the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and his current roles as an author, filmmaker, and host of Arts Engines and Artful Science as well as serving as a professor of entrepreneurship and leadership at Michigan.

He will delve into the important role that arts and creativity play in society, as well as their associated value and impact in communities. Aaron also will share strategies surrounding recruitment, teaching, repertoire, and collaboration that can empower string teachers to achieve impact in a diverse and actively evolving landscape of the arts.

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, and member of President Biden’s Arts Policy Committee, Aaron P. Dworkin served as dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), which is ranked among the top performing arts schools in the nation. He is currently a tenured full professor of arts leadership and entrepreneurship at SMTD as well as serving as a professor of entrepreneurial studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. In addition, he is a successful social entrepreneur having founded The Sphinx Organization, the leading arts organization with the mission of transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Aaron serves as host of the nationally-broadcast Arts Engines show which reaches a weekly audience of over 100,000 in collaboration with Detroit Public Television, Ovation TV, The Violin Channel, and American Public Media including Performance Today and YourClassical. As a best-selling writer, Aaron has authored The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives published by Rowman & Littlefield, a science-fiction novel Ethos: Rise of Malcolm published by Morgan James, as well as his memoir titled Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee's Journey to Leadership released through Aquarius Press, a poetry collection They Said I Wasn’t Really Black, and a children’s book The 1st Adventure of Chilli Pepperz.

A lifelong musician, Aaron is a prominent spoken-word performing artist represented by Cadenza Artists with a current national tour of his American Rhapsody with a national consortium of orchestras and premiered with the Minnesota Orchestra and Maestro Osmo Vänskä. He has collaborated with a breadth of artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Damien Sneed, Anna Deveare Smith, Damian Woetzel, Lil Buck, and others. His visual digital art project Fractured History has been exhibited at multiple galleries and museums to rave reviews. Aaron is also an award-winning filmmaker, having produced and directed two films including An American Prophecy and Deliberation, in addition to recording and producing two CDs entitled Ebony Rhythm and Bar-Talk.