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Janet Robbins

Janet Robbins is professor emerita of music education at West Virginia University with specialization in general music methods, Orff Schulwerk, and qualitative inquiry.  Her teaching and scholarship reflect an interdisciplinary focus, promoting partnerships between university, schools, and communities; integrating music, movement, and language; studying music in and as culture; and examining intersections of research and practice. Janet has presented many professional development workshops at regional, national, and international venues. Her publications on practitioner inquiry and creative practices in music education have appeared in such journals as Research Studies in Music EducationThe Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education,  Arts Education Policy Review, The Quarterly Journal of Teaching and Learning,  The Mountain Lake ReaderJournal of Music Teacher Education, and The Orff Echo. Her 2014 chapter “Practitioner Inquiry,” in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research in American Music Education will be published in a forthcoming second edition in 2020.


For more than twenty years, Janet was on the summer faculty of the Orff Schulwerk Professional Development Course at the Eastman School of Music, both as a teacher and as director of the Orff SPIEL teacher-research collaborative. She served the American Orff Schulwerk Association in many capacities as co-chair of AOSA’s 1995 National Conference/Carl Orff Centenary, chair of the Research Interest Group, a member of The Orff Echo editorial board, and chair of the International Outreach Committee supporting Orff Schulwerk professional development around the world.


Janet’s interest in cross-cultural creativity led to the study of music and dance in Northeast Brazil and intersected with her role as lead faculty for Music Alive!, a federally funded faculty-student exchange project between WVU and Brazil partner universities in Recife and Rio de Janeiro (2006-2012). Her book chapter, “Crossing Borders: Building Bridges for an International Exchange in Music Teacher Education,” in Alternative Approaches in Music Education: Case Studies from the Field (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), provides a window on students’ study-abroad experiences. Janet has returned to study creative practices and musical culture in Northeast Brazil many times, including during two sabbatical projects in 2006 and 2011. She is currently a Fulbright Specialist and received an award to travel to the Federal University of Pernambuco in 2018 to collaborate on projects aimed at promoting music, culture, and creative practices taking place at the nexus of music education and ethnomusicology.