CMS Spotlight

Muiz Collado JessicaMay 2023 - Jessica Muñiz-Collado

Member of the CMS Council on Music Industry and 2024 National Conference Program Committee, Jessica Muñiz-Collado currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music Business at the University of North Texas. In addition to her teaching role, Jessica is also an active composer, producer, consultant, and performer, where her activities range from composing/producing music for MundoFOX and Univision to presenting at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)/GenNext Conference in Anaheim, CA (which is where I ran into her most recently!). I asked Jessica a few questions about the many directions she’s taken with her work so far and her engagement with CMS, and I hope you enjoy learning more about Jessica’s multi-faceted career.


Q: How did you begin your involvement with CMS, and what led you to join the Council on Music Industry? 

I am grateful to have learned about CMS during my first year teaching higher-ed, which was in 2015. My faculty mentor at the time, Dr. Michael Caldwell recommended it to me. It was one of the best recommendations I received. As for joining the Council on Music Industry, it is important for students to understand that there are multiple music career options available. I truly believe that a sustainable music career is possible, so I was thrilled when the current chair, Courtney Blankenship presented me with the opportunity to join. I couldn’t say no.

Q: How has your engagement with CMS impacted your career in music higher education?

My engagement with CMS has opened up so many new opportunities for me as a music industry professional and more importantly, I’ve made some amazing friends who are incredible at what they do as music professionals and educators. I learn so much from them. 


Q: I recently had the chance to hear you deliver not just one, but two great sessions during the NAMM Show that described ways in which rapidly changing technologies in music can offer new and meaningful career paths for students entering the music industry field. Can you briefly describe what an emerging career in music might look like within the next 3-5 years with the onset of new platforms for making and sharing music? 

My opinion is that having a foundation in music technology will be a necessity throughout future music careers. I’m not saying that every musician needs to be an engineer or producer, but if they could at least take the time to understand and appreciate the language of music tech, and not be afraid of it (e.g., A.I.), they can have more opportunities presented to them. 


Q: You wear many hats in your career as a musician (working in academia, actively composing and working in the music industry, and consulting among just a few!). How might students graduating this spring prepare themselves for creating a sustainable career that requires the juggling of many different skills? 

What I strive to make sure my students (and clients) understand is that it is ok to have multiple streams of income, including passive income to support your music endeavors. A music portfolio career essentially. Once you take stock of your skills, you can begin marketing yourself in numerous areas to achieve gainful employment. Additionally, I like to emphasize that the more you understand culture, the more creative you can become. Stay a lifelong learner. It’s a great big musical world with so much to learn!


hall suzanneApril 2023 - Suzanne Hall

Chair of the CMS Council on Music Education, Dr. Suzanne Hall currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Music Education at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. In addition to her role as the Chair of Music Education with CMS, Suzanne recently co-led a series of virtual discussions titled “Re-Imagining Creativity in Schools of Music,” in which she and co-host Jane Palmquist prompted discussion participants to envision the ways in which institutions can restructure curriculum to prioritize creativity and engage students in increasingly meaningful ways. 

I asked Suzanne a few questions about her experience as a member of the CMS National Board and her recent research surrounding integrating creativity into music education, and I hope you enjoy our conversation!


Q: How did you begin your involvement with CMS, and what led you to run for a position with the National Board?

A: I became involved with CMS after attending the Carolina/CMS Summit 2.0: 21st Century Music School Design in 2019. During that time, my department was very interested in redesigning our curricula in order to make them more inclusive. The department designated me as a representative to attend.

My decision to run for the National Board  stemmed from the desire to not only engage in discussions about what could be possible in music education, but to assist in making these possibilities a reality. There are so many challenges facing our profession today as well as so many wonderful things. In collaboration with my colleagues, I believed I had a great opportunity to make a positive contribution to the organization and profession in this role.


Q: Can you describe how your engagement with CMS has impacted your career in music higher education?

A: Through CMS, I have expanded my musical community, and I am extremely grateful for the friends and mentors that are part of my growing circle. As a result of the many conversations and collaborations with colleagues from diverse disciplines, I have developed a broader sense and affirmation of my own musical contributions and have become a more effective educator.


Q: During the summer of 2022, you helped to facilitate and lead a series of conversations surrounding the importance of centering creativity in music school curriculum. What was this planning process like, and what were your most meaningful takeaways from this experience?

A: Planning for the creativity conversations involved effective communication, flexibility, coordination and open-mindedness. I met frequently with Dr. Jane Palmquist to brainstorm, establish priorities, establish timelines, assign roles and responsibilities, and address roadblocks. The CMS executive team offered critical feedback throughout the planning process.

I had so many meaningful takeaways but I will offer two. First, there are numerous ways in which creativity can be and is expressed in higher education. Second, there is an urgent need to place creativity at the center of our work, not only for students, but also for faculty members.


Q: CMS is continuing to increase the ways in which we meaningfully engage with our student members. What resources do you feel students are most in need of to help them succeed in today’s field of music higher education?

A: Mentorship. I think students will benefit from guidance from an experienced mentor who can offer advice and help them navigate challenges. Often students enter the profession with feelings of “imposter syndrome” or anxiety. Mentors who establish positive relationships, believe in them and support their goals will bolster their confidence and improve their well-being.


March 2023 - Julia Mortyakova

mortyakova julia2CMS Southern Chapter President Julia Mortyakova currently serves as Chair of the Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Music and was recently elected to the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Commission on Accreditation. Julia also sustains an active career as a concert pianist and researcher, with research focuses that include applying existential philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre to piano teaching and the life and music of Cécile Chaminade. She also leads the CMS Southern Chapter in her spare time!

I asked Julia a few questions about her experience as a member of the CMS Chapter Leadership, and I hope you enjoy learning more about her work with CMS!


Q: How did you begin your work with CMS, and what led you to run for the role of Chapter President?

A: I began my participation in CMS upon hearing about the organization from one of my faculty at the University of Miami, Dr. Dennis Kam. From the time I was a doctoral student I have participated, presented, performed, and attended almost every single one of the Southern Regional conferences and many other regional and national events.
I ran for president because I was nominated and wanted to serve an organization which has helped my professional growth over the past two decades. I also wanted to continue the legacy of the great previous leaders in the chapter, such as Dr. Kam.


Q: In what ways has your engagement with CMS been meaningful to you, both personally and professionally?

A: CMS has played a pivotal role in my career, and I can trace my participation in the organization directly to helping me acquire my first university position. On a personal level, I have met many colleagues, collaborators, and friends through the organization and I treasure the memories we have all made together.


Q: Your leadership of the CMS Southern Chapter occurs alongside a busy career in academic, performance, and administrative roles. Do you have any time management advice for others who may find this type of balance challenging?

A: I think the best advice I can give someone is to be very organized, maintain an accurate calendar, and set clear priorities and goals for each day, week and month. I always aim to have earlier deadlines for myself than the official ones to allow plenty of time in case some other project falls on my desk. I think it’s also important to know when to say “no,” and when to ask for help. For anyone who is interested about my professional life,I have a professional Vlog on my YouTube channel (Julia Mortyakova) where I talk about how I prepare for and balance various professional activities and responsibilities.


Q: Do you have a favorite CMS experience you’d like to share?

A: My favourite CMS memory thus far has been the 2023 CMS Southern Conference which we just held at Jacksonville University. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many colleagues and hear all their presentations, performances, and compositions. It was my last conference as Program Chair and President of the chapter and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and honoured to have represented our region.


Q: In reference to the CMS Common Topic, how do you strive to “lead change” within the Southern Chapter and its members?

A: I believe change comes through encouraging others to pursue scholarship and performance of music from underrepresented groups. Advocating for women composers has been a passion of mine as a pianist, professor, administrator, and director of the International Annual Music by Women Festival. I am proud to say that at the 2023 Southern Regional Conference we had numerous presentations and performances celebrating diversity in music. I also believe change comes in creating opportunities for members to serve in leadership capacities and to be more actively involved in the organisation. I encourage anyone who is interested in serving on the regional board of directors to reach out to current officers and express their interest and for anyone who is interested in hosting a chapter conference at their institution to also contact us.


February 2023 - Mollie Stone

stone mollieCMS Committee on Cultural Inclusion member Mollie Stone currently serves as Choral Conductor and Lecturer at the University of Chicago, directing the University Chorus and Women’s Ensemble. She is also the Co-Founder of the Chicago World Music Chorus and the Augsburg/Twin Cities Global Harmony Chair and teaches internationally with the organization Village Harmony.

We asked Mollie a few questions about her experience as a member of the CMS Committee on Cultural Inclusion, and we hope you enjoy learning more about her work with CMS!


Q: When did you begin your service with CMS, and what led you to join the Committee on Cultural Inclusion?

A: I joined CMS’s Committee on Cultural Inclusion in March of 2021 when Leila Ramagopal Pertl reached out to me about the Committee’s desire to address pressing issues facing our nation. I was drawn to the prospect of working with a team of inspiring colleagues from across a number of institutions to examine how systemic oppression affects our respective fields, and devise innovative approaches to how we might disrupt these patterns. The use of Zoom gave us the unique opportunity to host regular presentations and listening sessions throughout the year, which gave us deeper insight into how CMS members were experiencing these issues, and what they felt they needed in order to combat systemic oppression from within our current system.


Q: In what ways has your engagement with CMS been meaningful to you, both personally and professionally?

A: Working with CMS’s Committee on Cultural Inclusion has enabled me to connect deeply with music educators in a number of different musical realms. After feeling so isolated during the pandemic, it was validating to be able to “compare notes,” and find out which aspects of our struggles were unique, and which were universal. This helped us to narrow our focus, and determine where to prioritize our energy and efforts. Each person brought their own unique perspective, experience, strengths, and creativity to the table. It was a gift to be able to hear from fellow CMS members during listening sessions and provide opportunities to connect on a deeper level. Mostly, I’m grateful for the deep friendships I have developed through CMS over the past two years. I’ve gained treasured colleagues at other institutions who I might never have met otherwise.


Q: You’ve devoted a significant portion of your career to global choral music. How do you envision CMS engaging with members on an international scale in a meaningful way?

A: I was very excited to learn that CMS has recently launched an international chapter. A great deal of my work consists of helping musicians find opportunities to learn directly from culture-bearers, providing guidance to help musicians engage more ethically with the music of other cultures, and assisting culture-bearers in having as much agency as possible in how they share their music. I would love to see CMS help to support this type of work as we engage more with members on an international scale.


Q: What advice might you give to students (undergraduate and graduate) who are looking to enact meaningful change through academic programs nationally and abroad?

A: I would advise students to find creative and meaningful ways to engage with the communities whose music they are studying. I have seen far too many students write papers on music that is made by people who live mere miles away from them, and yet their only research comes from books, and not from first-hand interactions with practitioners of that music. Arranging an interview, attending a rehearsal, breaking bread together—these types of direct engagements can set the groundwork for developing a lifelong relationship with the music that you love. Find creative ways to collaborate, share resources, and always, support the communities whose music you study.


January 2023 - Lisa Urkevich

urkevich lisa2Symposium General Editor Lisa Urkevich is Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology and former founding Division Head (Dean) of Arts and Humanities and founding Chair of the Department of Music and Drama at the American University of Kuwait (AUK). She also regularly serves as an advisor for international government and private sector initiatives in the performing arts and education. Before joining AUK, she was a full-time professor at Boston University and has also held teaching positions at Bucknell University and the University of Maryland.

Lisa works tirelessly behind the scenes to publish not just one, but two volumes of Symposium, CMS’ virtual academic journal, each year. We asked Lisa a few questions about her experience working as Symposium General Editor, and we hope you’ll enjoy reading about her role!


Q: When did you begin your service with CMS, and what led you to take on the position of General Editor for Symposium?

A: When I accepted the position in the Spring of 2017, I was really interested in serving as General Editor for a few reasons. Firstly, CMS has been important to me since I was in grad school, and in fact, my first publication was an essay in a 1993 CMS Newsletter, thirty years ago. Then later, as a professor and administrator in the Middle East, sometimes I felt isolated and I wanted to stay connected with multiple facets of music and higher education and engage with colleagues who have perspectives different than mine. I knew that being the Symposium General Editor would give me this opportunity. Also, I knew the journal would be going through a major transformation, and I so enjoy a complicated challenge!


Q: In what ways has your engagement with CMS been meaningful to you and helped you in your own career?

A: I am a full professor and at a senior level in my career, so I did not accept the Symposium position to assist with promotion or anything like that. But for sure, the job has been meaningful. There are a lot of mundane tasks involved with being a General Editor but restructuring the journal to align with other quality publications, interacting with our Component Editors and authors, and helping to assess disparate material within so many different music disciplines has been thought provoking and expanded my mind. And then a daily byproduct of being General Editor is the basic content knowledge, so I find myself often saying things to my faculty and colleagues like, “Do you know about this new music App that was reviewed in Symposium?” or “Have you heard about this new teaching methodology?” or “I read the most interesting article with a new take on Schubert’s “Erlkoenig” in Symposium.


Q: Putting together the Symposium requires a lot of work! What does a typical publication cycle look like for you, workload-wise, and how do you balance this work with your other responsibilities?

A: The workload is indeed daunting at times. The journal has seven Components, each with its own editor. Unlike other journals, we deal with many types of subjects and diverse writing approaches, and we are inclusive and appreciate the idiosyncrasies of our different disciplines. For instance, the manuscript formatting of a Music Educator is not like that of a Musicologist. Dealing with different styles takes more time. For success, we must have a strong structure, clear guidelines, processes, deadlines, and most importantly, competent, conscientious Component Editors and CMS Office staff.

Regarding a cycle, Scholarly and Music Business-Industry articles, Forum essays, and PLLT video, are submitted through our website along with books, tech, or audio that one seeks to be reviewed. Then the appropriate editor and I are notified, and different editors will follow different protocols. For instance, our scholarly articles are double-blind peer-reviewed and so those submissions are sent to qualified referees with their own deadlines and guidelines, and subsequently the editors accept, reject, or ask for revisions from the author, depending on referee recommendations. Discussion between authors, editors, and referees might go back and forth for a while as editors try to polish the submission to its best quality. On a certain pre-determined date, the Component Editors give me a final product, which I check, and then the editors and I might go back and forth with discussion. Then when ready, I inform the CMS office to process the articles, images, bios, etc. And the office and I might need to hash out further details.

We process about twenty articles or reviews per issue, twice a year, so getting everything publication ready takes a bit of time. Once the office informs me that all the articles are properly up on the website, the editors, authors, and I review everything again and I ultimately give the final approval for release to the public. Then a few weeks later, following strict guidelines, the CMS office prepares a PDF of the issue that goes to JSTOR, and again, this is reviewed before it is released for final publication.

I would say, 4-5 months out of the year are intense for me because of all of our checks and balances, our quest for integrity, and the complexity of our publication. I deal with problems year-round, from ethics, to formatting, discontented submitters, retiring editors, new board members, etc. but my work with the journal issue itself really kicks in at the end of the summer and beginning of the New Year, and this is when I do brace myself. I know I will be working on weekends and evenings. Time management is of the utmost importance.

But when that final announcement goes out, that the issue is published, the whole team quietly celebrates and feels contented that we have produced a fine product for the enhancement of our discipline.


Q: How do you envision the Symposium evolving in the coming years?

A: I am really proud of the improvements we have made these past years, our updated standards and clear processes. Every problem we encountered was a learning experience and we have used our struggles to refine and perfect our guidelines, which are published on the website. Now my goal is to focus on journal visibility and impact factor within a virtual environment so that Symposium, authors, and editors get the exposure and credit they deserve.

Also, as an American who lives overseas, I would love to see Symposium more engaged internationally. There are so many global practices and methodologies and unique music perspectives and research that USA higher educators might find compelling. And likewise, there are so many amazing American systems in higher education and fresh investigations that would be so beneficial to international scholars and professionals. So hopefully, Symposium can start forging stronger global ties in coming years.


Q: What advice might you give to students (undergraduate and graduate) who are looking to become involved in the editing side of academic journals?

A: My advice to students interested in editing is to first Publish! Publish! Publish!--in a variety of journals, in a variety of formats. Our best editors, board members, and reviewers are experienced published authors. You learn so much from being a submitter who must follow guides, styles sheets, deadlines, and interact with editors. Publish and then reach out and offer to serve as an editor, and I suggest beginning as a review editor. Books, audio, film, technology reviews are usually not too long or complicated and serve as a great way to learn the basics of editing before moving onto more intricate peer-reviewed scholarly types of publications.

But aside from editing, I encourage everyone, active scholars and professionals, students, retirees, to engage with Symposium. Have your voice heard. Write a Forum essay. Get that research published. Do you have a great performance or performance-lecture that is worthy of attention? Send it to us. Have you issued an audio recording, written a book, prepared new tech that you want reviewed? Submit it. Symposium provides a unique opportunity for you to connect with others and help enrich and sustain our music discipline and we need everyone’s involvement during these dynamic times.