Mission Statement

The mission of the Institute for Music Research is to advance knowledge through research in the areas of music psychology, music teaching and learning, and music technology by supporting the work of the UTSA music faculty who are publishing research in these areas.

Since its inception in 1991, the IMR has produced publications (books, multimedia CD-ROMs, conference proceedings, and audio CDs), hosted conferences, created an online research database (CAIRSS), and supported the research of IMR faculty members. Members of the IMR have published in leading music and psychology journals and have made presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.

Current IMR-Sponsored Activities

  • The Donald Hodges Lecture Series
  • PASS (Performers and Scholars Seminar)
  • The IMR also sponsors the Performers and Scholars Seminar for all interested music faculty members regardless of their research field. PASS activities include formal presentations of UTSA music faculty research. Fall 2013 presentations have been in the areas of music theory, music history and music education. PASS also sponsors regular informal discussions of member’s work, research writing groups, and guest lectures.

IMR Faculty

  • Dr. Susan Dill, IMR Director
  • Dr. Jennifer Beavers
  • Dr. Stacey Davis
  • Dr. Si Millican
  • Dr. John Nix
  • Dr. Kristen Pellegrino
Susan Dill, D.M.A.


Susan Dill, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Music Education Area Coordinator, Choral and Elementary Music Education



IMR members are currently engaged in the following research:

Dr. Kristen Pellegrino

Dr. Pellegrino’s research interest lies in Music Teacher Identity and Music-making in the Teaching and Learning Process.

Dr. Si Millican

Dr. Millican’s research area is Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

Dr. John Nix

Dr. Nix is current working on three lines of research: The use of vocal fry in amplified singing styles. Vibrato jitter and intensity (rather than frequency) vibrato in college singers and Semi-occluded vocal tract postures (lip buzzes, etc) and their impact on vibrato.

Dr. Susan Dill

Dr. Dill is interested in the Perceptions of Non-Musicians viewed through the lenses of Mindset Theory and The Effect of Bi-Musicianship on teacher identity.

Dr. Jennifer Beavers

Dr. Beavers areas of research sponsored by the IMR are Disability interpretations of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Music pedagogy and multimodal experiences of music through analysis.

Dr. Stacey Davis

One line of her research concerns the relationship between implied polyphony and musical structure in J.S. Bach’s unaccompanied string works, with emphasis placed on how implied polyphony affects both a perceptual experience and an expressive performance. Other research focuses on applying the findings of music perception research to aural skills pedagogy (particularly melodic dictation and error detection).

A sampling of research projects that have been funded, partially funded, or sponsored by the IMR follows:

Nix, J. (2014). Shaken, not stirred: practical ideas for addressing vibrato and non-vibrato in the studio and choral rehearsal. The Journal of Singing, 70, (4) 411-418.

Nix, J., Muttwill, A (2012). Does Real-Time Visual Feedback Enhance Perceived Aspects of Choral Performance. Journal of Singing, 68, (5), 495-509.

Nix, J., Muttwill, A., Mabry, G. (2009). Chorister Perceptions of Real-Time Displays of Spectra in the Choral Rehearsal: A Feasibility Study,” The International Journal of Research in Choral Singing 3, (1), 45-59). http://www.choralresearch.org/volumethree/ijrcs3_1_nixmabrymathews.pdf)

Wooding, R., Nix, J. (2015). Perception of non-vibrato sung tones: a pilot study. The Journal of Voice. Available online a http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.10.005.; Print publication pending.

Nix, J., Perna, N. Allen, S. James, K., (2015). Vibrato and non-vibrato singing in college music majors: a multi-center study,” The Journal of Voice. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.09.006.; Print publication pending.

Nix, J. (2014). Measuring Mozart: A Pilot Study Testing the Accuracy of Objective Methods for Matching a Song to a Singer. The Journal of Singing, 70 (5), 561-572.

Millican, J. S. (in press). Examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge of an Expert Band Director Teaching Lip Slurs. Journal of Music Teacher Education. doi:10.1177/1057083716629610.

Millican, J. S. (2016). Describing pre-service music educators’ pedagogical content knowledge. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 34(2), 61-68. doi:10.1177/8755123314552664

Millican, J. S. (2016). Band instrument selection and assignment: A review of the literature. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. doi:10.1177/8755123315610174. 

Crappell, C. & Millican, J. S. (2015). Describing Independent Studio Piano Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Music Teachers National Association e-Journal, 6 (4), 2-12.

Pellegrino, K. & Millican, J. S. (2015). Influences on string teachers’ career decisions. String Research Journal, 5, 87-108.

Millican, J. S. (2013). Describing wind instrument teachers’ thinking: Implications for understanding pedagogical content knowledge. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 31 (2), 45-53. doi: 10.1177/8755123312473761.

Millican, J. S. (2009). Band and orchestra directors’ rankings of general pedagogical knowledge and skills. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 19(1), 68-79. doi: 10.1177/1057083709344045.

Pellegrino, K., & Russell, J. A. (2015/2016). String teachers’ practices and attitudes regarding their primary string instrument in settings inside and outside the classroom. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 204, 9–26.

Pellegrino, K. (2015). Becoming music-making music teachers: Connecting music making, identity, wellbeing, and teaching for four student teachers. Research Studies in Music Education, 37(2), 175–194. doi: 10.1177/1321103X15589336.

Pellegrino, K., & Millican, J. S. (2014/2015). Influences on string teachers’ career decisions. String Research Journal, 5, 87-108. https://www.astaweb.com//App_Themes/Public/Uploads/SRJs/SRJ_Vol_V.pdf

Pellegrino, K., Sweet, B., Kasner, J., Russell, H., & Reese, J. (2014). Becoming music teacher educators: Learning from and with each other in a professional development community. International Journal of Music Education: Research, 32, 462–477. doi: 10.1177/0255761413515819.

Davis, S. (in progress). Performing Solo Bach: Analysis, Expression and Creativity.

Pellegrino, K., Conway, C. M, West, C. & Millican, J. S. (in progress). Tenure and promotion experiences of music teacher educators: A mixed-methods study.

Pellegrino, K., Beavers, J., & Dill, S. (in progress).Working with our college students to improve their improvisational and compositional skills: A self-study with two music teacher educators and a music theorist.

Millican, J. S., & Pellegrino, K. (in progress). Band and orchestra teachers' practices and attitudes regarding their primary instrument in settings inside and outside the classroom.

Pellegrino, K. (in progress). String education students describe their experiences as String Project teachers.

Pellegrino, K. Music teacher resilience: Identity transitions in the early years of teaching.

Pellegrino, K., Kasner, J., Russell, H., & Reese, J. (in review). An anchor through turbulent transitions: A longitudinal study of participation in a professional development community of music teacher educators.

Pellegrino, K., Beavers, J., & Dill, S (in progress) Reflecting on Practice Related to Teaching University Music Students to Improvise and Compose: A Self-Study with Two Music Education Professors and a Music Theory Professor.

Kasner, J., Reese, J., Pellegrino, K., & Russell, H. (in review). The rollercoaster ride of our music teacher educator identity development: Describing crucial turning points.

Dill, Susan. Perceptions of Non-musicians Regarding Musicians and Musical Careers.