Joani Brandon, associate professor of music at Anderson University, has been the recipient of many awards. Most recently, she has added being named to the National History Committee of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association to her list of many accomplishments.
Brandon has been a professor at AU since 1999. While at AU, she has specialized in the Orff-Schulwerk method. Orff-Schulwerk is a unique approach of teaching music to children, and AU is one of the few colleges to offer certification in the Orff-Schulwerk teaching method. AU is currently in its 10th year of offering this prestigious certification, and AU’s School of Music has had approximately 200 teachers traveling to AU specifically in pursuit of the Orff-Schulwerk certification.
Brandon has been the primary initiator of making AU a certification site. Brandon, who is currently working on her doctorate through Boston University, is focusing her dissertation on the historical background of Orff-Schulwerk.
“Professor Brandon has had a huge effect on the School of Music,” said Dr. Jeffrey Wright, dean of the College of the Arts. “She has helped to develop and guide the Orff-Schulwerk program we host in the summer.” Each summer, music educators travel to AU to receive this highly regarded certification. Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition for her dedication to music. “Having the opportunity to present at the national convention and write about this topic is a way to give back to the profession,” Brandon said about being named to the National History Committee for the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. “I like filling in this gap in the research. I feel very blessed to have been awarded a faculty development grant [from AU] to assist with this work.”
In addition to her work with the Orff-Schulwerk Association, Brandon will be serving as a clinician for the Indiana Kodaly Workshop in Indianapolis this October. Brandon was initially trained as a Kodaly music teacher after her three-summer certification process in 2002. The Kodaly method focuses on both music literacy and vocal performance. “These workshops give teachers the opportunity to learn new games and activities that they can turn around and use in their own classrooms,” said Brandon. “They help provide a network for building relationships with other teachers and similar training interests.”
Brandon has a true passion for music. Brandon believes she inherited her love of music from her mother, who was both a choir director and a piano teacher. “From the time I was a child, I knew this was what I wanted to do,” said Brandon. “In middle school and high school, I had the opportunity to be part of strong music programs that gave me opportunities to sing, play an instrument, cadet teach, and accompany ensembles.”
Wright has seen Brandon implement these teaching methods as an AU professor. “Brandon has had a great vision for this program,” said Wright. “She also incorporates this vast knowledge of the Orff-Schulwerk program to her students, putting them ahead of the game and giving them a large advantage.”
Even with all of her recent success, there is no end in sight for Brandon. As she finishes her dissertation this year, she plans to readdress her focus on other research interests, including the historical development of the Kodaly teacher training in the United States.
--Kimberly Werline is a junior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Werline is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.