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UB to Honor Leading Music Scholar

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: July 19, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Edwin E. Gordon's acclaimed research defining music learning theory, published while he was director of music education at UB in the 1970s, from 5-8 p.m. July 30 in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Gordon, an internationally recognized scholar in music learning theory and the psychology of music, was director of music education in the UB Graduate School of Education from 1972 until 1979, when he went to Temple University in Philadelphia to become the Carl E. Seashore Professor of Research in Music Education.

During the 1970s, Gordon spent a critical portion of his career at UB, researching and defining music learning theory, and coining the term "audiation" -- the cognitive process by which the brain comprehends music -- along the way.

He went on to become an internationally recognized scholar, featured often in the media, from NBC's "Today Show" to The New York Times. He is author of six highly regarded music aptitude tests, as well as numerous books on the psychology of music, music rhythm, music learning theory, tonal and rhythm patterns, and music development in infants and very young children. He taught at Temple University until 1997.

But Gordon has not forgotten the place where his acclaimed research in music learning theory began, and he has returned to UB several times, as a distinguished visiting scholar in music education in the Department of Learning and Instruction. Although he is in his early 80s, Gordon has taught a week-long workshop on music learning theory at UB the past several summers.

At the July 30 reception, Gordon's family, many of his former students, UB music education alumni and area music dignitaries will be on hand to pay tribute to his lifetime of major contributions in his field.

The UB Foundation and GIA Publications, Inc., which published Gordon's first edition of Learning Sequences and Patterns in Music in 1976, are co-sponsors of the event. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact Marilyn Koren, director of development for GSE, by July 26 at (716) 645-2478, ext. 1029, or by email at mjkoren@buffalo.edu.

Gordon earned bachelor's and master's degrees in string bass performance from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, and played string bass with the Gene Krupa band before going on to earn a doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1958. He was a professor of music at Iowa before coming to UB.

In recent years, Gordon has been exploring music development with infants from 1 to 18 months old and refining those skills in children from 18 months old to age 3. His current research interests focus on investigating the levels of music learning theory, stages and types of audiation, developmental and stabilized music aptitudes and rhythm in movement and music.

Gordon also is research professor of the Edwin E. Gordon Archive, housed in the music library at the University of South Carolina. He and his wife, Carol, donated their collection, representing more than 40 years of work, to the library, including his publications, journals, recordings, manuscripts, dissertations he supervised, and video and audio cassette tapes of various workshops and seminars. Among the personal items are his college diplomas, various honors and awards, his University of Iowa doctoral dissertation, as well as one of his many wooden sculptures. For more information, see the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) Web site at http://www.giml.org.