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Campus Spotlight: SBU music professor featured on education podcast

(PHOTO CREDIT : SBU)
Margaret Schedel pushes students to create music through an electronic medium. (PHOTO CREDIT : SBU)

Margaret Schedel, a cellist, professor at Stony Brook University and composer in the audio and visual world of music has performed internationally and throughout the United States. Schedel specializes in the creation and performance of interactive media and works to compose music through an electronic medium.

She has also developed courses in deep listening and sound design to train students on how to read music. Instead of teaching students how to read notes, Schedel teaches her students how to create and edit sound on a neutral interface such as the computer. Students learn how to match body movements and motion with sound and then export their performer control aspects to a digital medium.

Last month, she was invited to speak about music education and technology on a podcast run by Darwin Grosse, her former employer.

“I felt it was especially important to develop a course at a school where some populations didn’t have these opportunities,” she said in the podcast interview.

As part of the program, Schedel teaches students a sonic meditation practice she refers to as deep listening. Schedel received her certificate in Deep Listening with the pioneer of the technique Pauline Oliveros, from the Deep Listening Institute, according to her website. The technique helps students concentrate on the audio instead of visuals in a piece.

“The idea is to get students to stop thinking in words,” she said. “It’s all about getting them to trust their ears and really know how to listen.”

Schedel trains students to articulate their ability to interpret sound by teaching them various techniques of interactive media.

“I think we all have a native intention and inherent ability when it comes to sound. My job is to try and help students to articulate their ability,” she said.

In her past six years as a professor at Stony Brook, Schedel took part as co-director in the computer music program and has expanded the department by adding courses in Deep Listening and Sound Design. In her course offered to undergraduate students, Introduction to Media and Technology, she helps students to articulate their experience through sound and augment their performer abilities. As part of the Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture and Technology course, she also teaches students how to compose pieces through a digital medium by using a variety of computer programs to produce electronic music.

Schedel also teaches courses in deep listening outside of SBU and is the first SUNY professor to offer a massive open online course. Nearly 6,500 students enrolled this semester from over 100 different countries on Coursera, an online educational technology company, according to the website.

In 2007, Schedel completed her Doctorate degree at the University of Cincinnati in Music Composition and Cognates in Electronic Music and Arts Administration, according to her website. She has also, as stated on her website, published several papers, editorials, author reviews and discographies throughout her career.

According to Schedel, the most proud piece of writing she’s contributed was her part in a book titled Electronic Music with Nick Collins and Scott Wilson. The book explores the world of electronic music and technology to inform others interested in learning about interactive media in music, according to The Engine Institute, Inc. website.

“I think the digital audio age of music is going to help people become creators of things and not just passive consumers,” she said.

Schedel hopes to help others experience sound in a different aspect and help them explore their abilities in an interactive medium.

“In the past six years I’ve seen a lot more students coming with more knowledge of digital music. It’s cheaper, easier, and more democratized knowledge,” she said.

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