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Competing with “Real Classes”: The Value of Performing Ensemble Experiences for Non-Music Majors

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.302.1 - 24.302.10



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Paper Authors


Ishbah Cox Purdue University, Band and Orchestra Department

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Ishbah Cox, Assistant Professor of Bands at Purdue University, is Founder/Director of the Purdue University Brass Choir, Director of the Symphonic and Collegiate Bands, Director of the Boiler Box Band (Women’s Volleyball), and Assistant Director of the “All-American” Marching Band (AAMB). He is also the Adjunct Instructor of Tuba at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN.

As an arranger/ publisher for Hal Leonard and Dev Music Company, his marching/ pep band arrangements have been performed before national audiences at Purdue athletic events and at a Bands of America Marching (BOA) Finals Exhibition Performance by the Purdue AAMB Trombone Section. Some of these arrangements are immensely popular on the Internet via YouTube.

Cox is in demand as a festival adjudicator, clinician, and conductor. He has adjudicated concerts, marching, and solo and ensemble festivals for the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) and has served as a consultant and clinician in numerous Indiana schools and for music programs in the Metropolitan Nashville, Chicago, and Atlanta Public School Systems. Cox has conducted a number of groups, including the Lafayette (IN) Citizens’ Band, the Kokomo (IN) Park Band, the Lafayette (IN) Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, the Purdue University Wind Ensemble at the American Bandmasters Association 2012 Performance in Indianapolis, and he has guest conducted the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra on their 2011 Eastern European Tour. He also has guest conducted at the Middle Tennessee State University and Auburn University Honor Bands, Indiana Bandmasters Association Regional and District Honor Bands, and the Mississippi State University Symphonic and Concert Bands, the Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble, and University of South Alabama Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.

Cox holds professional memberships in the National Band Association (NBA), Indiana Bandmasters Association (IBA), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Kappa Kappa Psi, and the Collegiate Band Directors National Association (CBDNA). He holds Honorary Memberships with both the Gamma Pi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and Beta Sigma Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma (TBS) at Purdue University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Lafayette Citizens Band, as faculty advisor of the Gamma Pi Purdue University Kappa Kappa Psi chapter, and as a member of the Committee on Ethnicity and Gender Issues with the CBDNA.

A native of Notasulga, Alabama, Cox received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Auburn University and his master’s degree is in music performance (euphonium) from the University of Alabama. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Arts in Wind Conducting with a secondary specialization in Euphonium Performance at Ball State University.

Cox’s teachers have included the following: Dr. Rick Good, Dr. Johnnie Vinson, Mr. Mike Dunn, Dr. Gerald Welker, Dr. Tom Caneva, and Dr. Mark Mordue.

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Monica Farmer Cox Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Monica F. Cox, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education and is the Inaugural Director of the College of Engineering’s Leadership Minor at Purdue University. She also serves as the Executive Director of the International Institute for Engineering Education Assessment (i2e2a). She obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, a M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Her teaching interests relate to the professional development of graduate engineering students and to leadership, policy, and change in STEM education. Primary research projects explore the preparation of graduate students for diverse careers and the development of reliable and valid engineering education assessment tools. She is a NSF Faculty Early Career (CAREER) and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient.

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Competing with “Real Classes: The Value of Performing Ensemble Experiences for Non-Music MajorsDuring the fall semester of 2013, the Band and Orchestra Department at alarge Midwestern University partnered with a first-year engineeringdepartment to create a learning community for first-year students enrolled incommon music and engineering classes. Such a course was created sincerecent university data noted that students enrolled in performance ensembleswere found to have higher SATs, GPAs, and retention rates than students notenrolled in performance ensembles at the university. Among the objectives ofthis new course include (1) Identifying and understanding the importance ofmusic in society, (2) Explaining and demonstrating the connection of musicand engineering, (3) Creating an understanding of the campuses rich history,(4) Demonstrating uses of campus resources that will enable academicsuccess, (5) Participating in service projects for the Band and OrchestraDepartment, and (6) Exploring opportunities for participation in studentleadership positions within the band and orchestra department. In an effort toidentify possible benefits for students engaging in music activities duringtheir first year as engineers, authors developed a survey noting the extent towhich course objectives were met and the perceived benefits that studentsobtained from enrollment in the course. After presenting findings aboutstudents’ perceptions of the course and possible benefits, authors concludethe paper with a discussion about ways that engineering programs mightpartner with non-engineering departments to ensure that engineering studentsacquire professional skills and remain well-rounded students during their firstyear of college.

Cox, I., & Cox, M. F. (2014, June), Competing with “Real Classes”: The Value of Performing Ensemble Experiences for Non-Music Majors Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20193

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