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Our Advisors

Music Workshop is honored to work with an impressive community of musicians, performers, researchers, and educators to advise our programming. These individuals generously share their expertise and experience to help us develop culturally relevant, evidence-based curriculum.

Program Advisors

Our program advisors enrich Music Workshop’s free classroom programming with their deep knowledge and personal connection with the cultures and musical traditions our courses represent. We are honored to work with these highly credentialed musicians, educators, and performers.

Advisors for Native American Traditional Music

Native American man with long hair facing the camera.

Dr. Cornel Pewewardy

Native American Traditional Music

Dr. Pewewardy served as the Professor Emeritus of Indigenous Studies at Portland State University as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership, School of Education at the University of Kansas.

Native American man in headress and regalia facing the camera.

Supaman

Native American Traditional Music

As a member of the Apsaalooke Nation, “Supaman” is a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope, pride and resilience through his original art form.

Man in glasses, vest, and baseball cap facing the camera.

Bobby Mercier

Native American Traditional Music

Bobby Mercier, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, was raised near the reservation and is known by the name given to him by his Grandfather… Beartracks.

Native American man with long hair facing the camera.

Dr. Cornel Pewewardy

Native American Traditional Music

Dr. Pewewardy served as the Professor Emeritus of Indigenous Studies at Portland State University as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership, School of Education at the University of Kansas. He teaches courses in multicultural education and Indian education. His adjunct instructor appointments include Harvard University School of Education; Union Institute; University of Minnesota, University of Oklahoma, Cameron University, University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma, Portland State University and Haskell Indian Nations University. Dr. Pewewardy was the founding principal of two transformational, award-winning magnets schools in the Saint Paul (MN) Public Schools District. He is also a former elementary teacher and principal on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. He now serves as educational consultant to numerous school districts across the country on improving the academic achievement of underrepresented populations in education and faculty curriculum development.

Native American man in headress and regalia facing the camera.

Supaman

Native American Traditional Music

As a member of the Apsaalooke Nation, “Supaman” is a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope, pride and resilience through his original art form. He was the recipient of the 2017 MTV VMA award for “Best Fight Against the System”. He is also a Nammy “Native American Music Award” winner, “North American Indigenous Image Award” winner, and “Tunney Award” winner. He was awarded “The Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Award” in Canada for best video and was voted MTV’s new Artist of the Week!

Man in glasses, vest, and baseball cap facing the camera.

Bobby Mercier

Native American Traditional Music

Bobby Mercier, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, was raised near the reservation and is known by the name given to him by his Grandfather… Beartracks. Along with being a language and Cultural Specialist at The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, he is a well-known traditional carver and is dedicated to preserving the history of his ancestors by recreating historical carvings and securing them for future study by generations to come. Bobby’s artwork is well respected in the Grand Ronde Community and has been sold across the country yet he feels that his proudest moments as an artist are seeing his children carve, paint, and create art to tell their own unique stories.

“I believe that our art tells our stories, tells of one’s journey in life, and tells who a person is or who they are becoming.” – Bobby Mercer

Advisors for Latin American and Caribbean Music

Curly haired male in suit jacket holds a saxaphone and smiles.

Bernardo Monk

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Bernardo Monk is an Argentinean saxophonist and composer. Graduating from Berklee College of Music and Buenos Aires Contemporary Music School, his discography as a soloist includes six albums.

Brunette male leans against a brick wall and smiles.

Luis Santiago-Sierra

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Luis Santiago, from Puerto Rico, is the Commander of the 78th Army Band. Luis is a songwriter, music manager and producer. He served as the Operations Director for the Grammy Music Education Coalition.

Brunette male in glasses and button down shirt smiling.

Freddy Vilches

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Freddy O. Vilches joined the faculty of Lewis & Clark College as Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies in 2006. He is a multi-instrumentalist (charango, Venezuelan cuatro, quena, zampoñas, Afro-Cuban percussion) and singer/songwriter.

Curly haired male in suit jacket holds a saxaphone and smiles.

Bernardo Monk

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Bernardo Monk is an Argentinean saxophonist and composer. Graduating from Berklee College of Music and Buenos Aires Contemporary Music School, his discography as a soloist includes six albums. His last one, Atípico was nominated to the Latin Grammy Awards and Gardel Awards 2019 as best tango album of the year. He is the author of two saxophone-tango books: The Tango Saxophone Book and Tango for Two. Monk is also is a professor in Buenos Aires at the National University of the Artes, Avellaneda Popular Music School and Manuel de Falla Conservatory.

Brunette male leans against a brick wall and smiles.

Luis Santiago-Sierra

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Luis Santiago, from Puerto Rico, is the Commander of the 78th Army Band. Luis is a songwriter, music manager and producer. He served as the Operations Director for the Grammy Music Education Coalition. As the Operations Director, Luis was the operational and logistical lead for all GMEC events across the US and Project Manager for the Interamerican Development Bank projects in Latin America. Prior to his work at GMEC, Luis was the Assistant Director of Global Programs for Berklee College of Music as well as the assistant director of admissions.

Brunette male in glasses and button down shirt smiling.

Freddy Vilches

Latin American and Caribbean Music

Freddy O. Vilches joined the faculty of Lewis & Clark College as Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies in 2006. He is a multi-instrumentalist (charango, Venezuelan cuatro, quena, zampoñas, Afro-Cuban percussion) and singer/songwriter. Originally from Santiago, Chile, Freddy has performed extensively throughout the US and Latin America (Chile, México, Cuba). He has recorded and performed with some of the best Latin bands in the Northwest. Freddy is an experienced teacher and workshop presenter; he holds a PhD in Latin American Literature from the University of Oregon.

Advisors for Music from the Continent of Africa

Dr. Abimbola Cole Kai-Lewis

Music from the Continent of Africa

Dr. Cole Kai-Lewis is an Ethnomusicologist with a passion for merging music and arts outside of traditional academic settings. Kai-Lewis has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Janine Tiffe

Music from the Continent of Africa

Professor Tiffe received her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Florida State University and is a professor at Kent State University School of Music, where she directs the KSU African Ensemble and KSU Steel Band and teaches courses on world and popular music.

Dr. Damascus Kafumbe

Music from the Continent of Africa

Professor Kafumbe is a performing Ethnomusicologist, Professor at Middlebury College, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, composer and instrument technician from Uganda.

Dr. Abimbola Cole Kai-Lewis

Music from the Continent of Africa

Dr. Cole Kai-Lewis is an Ethnomusicologist with a passion for merging music and arts outside of traditional academic settings. Kai-Lewis has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her leadership strengths include cultivating student-community partnerships that enhance learning, instruction, and accelerate professional development. She is currently working as a middle school teacher in New York and brings expertise in student engagement, classroom instruction grounded in strategic curriculum design and program development for diverse audiences.

Dr. Janine Tiffe

Music from the Continent of Africa

Professor Tiffe received her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Florida State University and is a professor at Kent State University School of Music, where she directs the KSU African Ensemble and KSU Steel Band and teaches courses on world and popular music. Dr. Tiffe’s research interests include the African diaspora, particularly the Trinidadian steel band, as well as musical migration, transmission, pedagogy and education.

Dr. Damascus Kafumbe

Music from the Continent of Africa

Professor Kafumbe is a performing Ethnomusicologist, Professor at Middlebury College, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, composer and instrument technician from Uganda. He holds a B.A. in Music from Makerere University as well as an M.M. and Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University. Professor Kafumbe specializes in the music of East Africa. His research interests span diverse fields, including African studies, Ethnomusicology, performance, history, politics, ritual, and social organization.

Advisors for Music from the Continent of Asia: Southeast Asia

Dr. Kim Nguyen Tran

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Vietnam

Kim Nguyen Tran is a scholar, arts educator/administrator, and organizer based in the Los Angeles area. Her work centers around how the arts and storytelling shape our cultural memories, give meaning to our histories, and help us to imagine our futures.

Dr. Nattapol Wisuttipat

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Thailand

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Nattapol Wisuttipat is a Thai classical music practitioner and ethnomusicologist. As of 2023, he is an academic visitor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

Dr. Maria Mendonça

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Indonesia

Maria Mendonça is an ethnomusicologist who teaches in the Music and Anthropology departments at Kenyon. Her research interests include Indonesian music (particularly gamelan traditions of Java and Bali), circulation of culture, music and prisons, music and film, and ethnomusicology and the public sector.

Dr. Kim Nguyen Tran

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Vietnam

Kim Nguyen Tran is a scholar, arts educator/administrator, and organizer based in the Los Angeles area. Her work centers around how the arts and storytelling shape our cultural memories, give meaning to our histories, and help us to imagine our futures. She holds a M.A and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA and a B.A. in Music/PreMed from Dartmouth College. She has taught at UCLA (Asian American Studies, Asian Languages & Literatures, Ethnomusicology); Glendale Community College (Music History); University of Washington (Asian Languages and Literature) and Mount Saint Mary’s University (Music and Culture). She is Associate Director and Resident Ethnomusicologist for Bridge to Everywhere, and is a founding member of the Missing Piece Project.

Dr. Nattapol Wisuttipat

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Thailand

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Nattapol Wisuttipat is a Thai classical music practitioner and ethnomusicologist. As of 2023, he is an academic visitor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. Nattapol’s primary research area is Thai classical music, focusing on the social and musical lives of underrepresented musicians. Through ethnography, his scholarly works critically explore non-normativities, diaspora, embodiment, and the politics of representation as they intersect with musical performances. With over two decades of experience in Thai classical music, Nattapol continues to participate actively in this musical community.

Dr. Maria Mendonça

Advisor on music from Southeast Asia: Indonesia

Maria Mendonça is an ethnomusicologist who teaches in the Music and Anthropology departments at Kenyon. Her research interests include Indonesian music (particularly gamelan traditions of Java and Bali), circulation of culture, music and prisons, music and film, and ethnomusicology and the public sector. She also directs the Sundanese gamelan degung ensemble at Kenyon.

Maria Mendonça has worked as an ethnomusicologist in a variety of settings in the United Kingdom and United States. Most recently, she taught at Bowling Green State University (2005-6) and before this held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Ethnomusicology at University of Chicago (2004-5). In the UK, she was an Ethnomusicology Editor for the recent edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. She has also been a Javanese gamelan tutor and Lecturer in Indonesian music for several British universities and conservatories, and has advised and led projects involving gamelan and music education as for a range of British arts institutions.

Advisors for Music from the Continent of Asia: East Asia

Dr. Xinyue Le

Advisor on Music from Asia: China

Dr. Le is a music educator and music education researcher based in the San Francisco Bay area. She holds a Ph.D. in music learning and teaching from Arizona State University.

Dr. Soojin Lee

Advisor on Music from East Asia: South Korea

Dr. Soojin Lee is a professional gayageum performer and music educator who is highly sought-after by educational and arts institutions in Minnesota, U.S., for her expertise in gugak and gayageum.

Yuki Yageta, PhD ABD

Advisor on Music from East Asia: Japan

Yuki Yageta is a lecturer at Kyoai Gakuen University and a Ph.D. student at The United Graduate School of Education Tokyo Gakugei University. In 2018-2019, she was a visiting student at the University of Washington.

Dr. Xinyue Le

Advisor on Music from Asia: China

Dr. Le is a music educator and music education researcher based in the San Francisco Bay area. She holds a Ph.D. in music learning and teaching from Arizona State University. She is a citizen of China, who has been studying, teaching, and living in the U.S. for more than nine years. She has been dedicated to investigating the development of multicultural music education in China and integrating multicultural music teaching and world music pedagogy into general music classes for over nine years. Her research interests include world music teaching, multicultural music teaching, culturally responsive pedagogy, and music teacher professional development. Some of her work includes engagement, multitasking, performance ensembles through world music pedagogies, multicultural music education in Chinese middle school general music classes, the time period of 1978–1988, and the concerns of Chinese music teachers in their early years of teaching.

Dr. Soojin Lee

Advisor on Music from East Asia: South Korea

Dr. Soojin Lee is a professional gayageum performer and music educator who is highly sought-after by educational and arts institutions in Minnesota, U.S., for her expertise in gugak and gayageum. She has conducted Korean Music sessions at the MMEA (Minnesota Music Educators Association) Mid-Winter Clinic on multiple occasions, inspiring teachers to effectively incorporate gugak into their teaching. Since 2021, Dr. Lee has been selected as a Teaching Artist in Residence at the MacPhail Center For Music every year, impacting over 2,500 students through her school visits.

Dr. Lee holds BA and MA degrees in gugak, specializing in gayageum performance from Seoul National University in South Korea, and ethnomusicology from the University of California, Irvine. Her 2018 doctorate from the University of Minnesota focused on multicultural and indigenous music education. As a performer, she has held solo and duo recitals and collaborated with musicians from diverse genres in various ensembles. Notably, she was recently awarded the Creative Support for Individuals grant, furthering her mission to collaborate with a wide range of musicians supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Yuki Yageta, PhD ABD

Advisor on Music from East Asia: Japan

Yuki Yageta is a lecturer at Kyoai Gakuen University and a Ph.D. student at The United Graduate School of Education Tokyo Gakugei University. In 2018-2019, she was a visiting student at the University of Washington. Prior to that, Yageta taught at a Japanese school in Thailand for two years. Her research interests include cultural diversity and equity in Japanese music classrooms.

Professional Development Advisors

Music Workshop works with some of the leading experts in music education research and practice to develop professional development courses grounded in evidence and experience. Each of our advisors are trailblazers in music education. Their research and guidance have been instrumental in our mission to empower educators with practical, evidence-based ways to improve their students’ well-being through music.

Photo of Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome.

Dr. Sarah Bartolome

Associate Professor at Northwestern

Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome is a children’s music specialist with an interest in world music for the classroom. She earned degrees in music education from Ithaca College (BM), Northwestern University (’02 MMus), and the University of Washington (PhD).

Photo of Dr. Carlos Abril.

Dr. Carlos Abril

Associate Dean of Research University of Miami

Carlos R. Abril is Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Research at the Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in philosophy of music, general music methods, and equity, access, and diversity in music education.

Photo of Dr. Beatriz Ilari.

Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Chair of Music Teaching & Learning at USC

Beatriz Ilari (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Music Teaching & Learning at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she teaches graduate courses in music psychology, the sociology of music, cultural diversity in music teaching and learning, and research methods.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Mellizo.

Dr. Jennifer Mellizo

University of Wyoming Laboratory School & Curriculum Developer at Smithsonian Folkways

Jennifer Mellizo has been the K-8th grade music teacher at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School in Laramie…

Photo of Dr. Cat Bennett.

Dr. Cat Bennett

Assistant Professor at Oakland University

Dr. Cat Bennett is an assistant professor of music education at Oakland University, where she teaches undergraduate introductory and capstone music education courses, choral methods, student teaching seminar, and supervises choral education student teachers in their internships.

Photo of Coty Raven Morris.

Coty Raven Morris

Assistant Professor at Portland State University

Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University-San Marcos where she studied with Drs. Lynn Brinckmeyer, Jonathan Bacock, and Joey Martin. She received her Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University in the Spring of 2020.

Photo of Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome.

Dr. Sarah Bartolome

Associate Professor at Northwestern

Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome is a children’s music specialist with an interest in world music for the classroom. She earned degrees in music education from Ithaca College (BM), Northwestern University (’02 MMus), and the University of Washington (PhD). She is also a fully certified Kodaly educator, having received all three levels of certification from the New England Conservatory’s Kodaly Music Institute and serving on the faculty of the Kodaly Levels Program of Seattle.

Photo of Dr. Carlos Abril.

Dr. Carlos Abril

Associate Dean of Research University of Miami

Carlos R. Abril is Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Research at the Frost School of Music, where he teaches courses in philosophy of music, general music methods, and equity, access, and diversity in music education. Dr. Abril has served on the Research Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and is Chair of the Society of Research in Music Education. He has also served on over ten editorial boards in North America, South America, and Europe. Prior to joining the University of Miami, Dr. Abril was an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Northwestern University. He received his Ph.D. in music education at The Ohio State University, an M.M. in performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a B.M. in music education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He is also a former general music and choral educator in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where he was named the Region V Teacher of the Year and awarded the Cervantes Outstanding Educator Award.

Photo of Dr. Beatriz Ilari.

Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Chair of Music Teaching & Learning at USC

Beatriz Ilari (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Music Teaching & Learning at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she teaches graduate courses in music psychology, the sociology of music, cultural diversity in music teaching and learning, and research methods. She has conducted extensive research with babies, preschoolers, and school-aged children from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. In her work, she uses a variety of approaches to study different aspects of musical development and growth of infants, children, and adolescents. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature. Beatriz Ilari collaborates regularly with researchers from USC’s Brain & Creativity Institute and Bionic Ear Lab, and with scholars from different research centers and universities across the globe.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Mellizo.

Dr. Jennifer Mellizo

University of Wyoming Laboratory School & Curriculum Developer at Smithsonian Folkways

Jennifer Mellizo has been the K-8th grade music teacher at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School in Laramie, WY since 2002. She is also an independent researcher and a curriculum developer for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. She has been recognized as a Wyoming Arch Coal Teacher of the Year in 2014, the Albany County School District Teacher of the Year in 2016, and a 2021 Fulbright U.S. Scholar (Spain).

Photo of Dr. Cat Bennett.

Dr. Cat Bennett

Assistant Professor at Oakland University

Dr. Cat Bennett is an assistant professor of music education at Oakland University, where she teaches undergraduate introductory and capstone music education courses, choral methods, student teaching seminar, and supervises choral education student teachers in their internships. Over the past 15 years, Cat has taught and studied vocal music in many countries around the world, teaching K – 12 general and choral music in Japan and Thailand, and working as a volunteer music teacher in Honduras and South Africa. Prior to completing her PhD at the University of Miami, she studied vocal jazz and Creative American Music. Cat also has a BME from Ithaca College and a MME from Indiana University.

Photo of Coty Raven Morris.

Coty Raven Morris

Assistant Professor at Portland State University

Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University-San Marcos where she studied with Drs. Lynn Brinckmeyer, Jonathan Bacock, and Joey Martin. She received her Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University in the Spring of 2020. She is currently the Hinckley Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education and Social Justice at Portland State University. She has presented at educational conferences and professional developments across the country including the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.

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