Connect 2022: EDI Summit Connect 2022: EDI Summit

Presentation: Classically Trained Musicians Navigating the Electronic Digital Instrument (EDI) Ensemble: Perspectives and Experiences with Jonathan Kladder

- EDT
150 Massachusetts Avenue, Room B41, Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Jonathan Kladder is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His degrees are from the University of South Florida (Ph.D.), Boston University (M.M.Ed.) and Hope College (B.M.Ed). He continues to pursue an active research agenda and is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international music education conferences. His research focuses on music technology, creativity, equity and access in undergraduate music admissions, and expanding music curricula in ways that enhance creative thinking. His co-edited book, The Learner-Centered Music Classroom: Models and Possibilities, explores pedagogical models that support learner-centered approaches in the music classroom.


The evolution of digital technology for performing music continues to emerge in new directions throughout the music industry, as performers now use a variety of digital controllers and computers for music performance. However, the inclusion and expansion of digital technology for performing music in higher education remains on the fringes of the profession. Many institutions across the US remain steadfast to the Western-European art tradition and are exclusive of wider forms of music making; They are slow to evolve and embrace a wider conception of musicianship. This is particularly true for music making that includes electronic digital instruments (i.e., computers, MIDI controllers, and tablets) in performance settings. Research demonstrates that some music faculty in the US have emerged as leaders in the profession in this area: leaders who embrace new forms of musicianship, work diligently to expand curricular offerings in efforts to integrate EDI’s, and facilitate EDI ensembles that are housed within a traditional music program. This session will showcase the perspectives and experiences of undergraduate music students from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) who have engaged with a newly formed EDI ensemble, learning how to collaborate in small group settings with their peers, make musical decisions in new or emerging ways, think creatively using new technical skills on digital devices, and perform music in the popular music medium. In this session, attendees will listen to undergraduate students' experiences and perspectives of the EDI ensemble, outline their challenges and successes when creating music in this medium, and offer perspectives on working with interdisciplinary projects across the university campus. A variety of interdisciplinary projects students have engaged with in the EDI ensemble at UNCW will be showcased, including interviews from a variety of stakeholders involved in these projects. Implications for higher education and those interested in starting similar experiences at their institution will be explored, while showcasing the richness of depth and breadth of possibilities when integrating EDI ensembles within a traditional music performance program.