Tawnya D. Smith is currently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois in Curriculum Instruction and Music and also pursuing a Certificate of advanced Graduate Study in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University. She received a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree in Horn Performance from Illinois State University. Tawnya has five years of public school teaching experience, five years of college teaching experience, and eighteen years of private teaching experience.
Tawnya has served as a band, choir, and general music teacher in the Illinois public schools and has served as an adjudicator for the Illinois Music Educators Association. Her students have successfully participated at All-District and All-State festivals, performed in local honor bands, orchestras, musical productions, and solo and ensemble contests. In addition to teaching, she has managed a music retail business and initiated a successful community private and group lesson program that grew to serve over 350 students per week. Tawnya served as the music skills instructor for Amasong, a community chorus in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. She also managed an original alternative band, serving as the bass guitarist, co-producing two albums, and performing at local and regional venues. She continues to perform in the community both as a soloist and freelance musician.
Tawnya conducts interdisciplinary research incorporating therapeutic intermodal expressive arts principles with performing musicians and music teachers. Her research focuses on developing music learning environments that promote expressivity and creativity. She also creates alternative forms of representation (including reader's theatre pieces, performances, and art installations) in an effort to bring the findings of her research to the community in relevant and meaningful ways. Tawnya continues to produce these pieces in the community, at professional conferences, and in the classroom.