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Directors Circle

Oct 4, 2019

Have you ever wondered what it would be like having a career as a renowned performer and music education training specialist? In this episode, I speak with Dr. Brenda Brenner from Indiana University to discuss her roles as a professional musician, studio instructor, and professor of music education. She also talks about her work with the Fairview Violin Project, a program in which every first and second grader in an underserved school is taught violin as part of the curriculum. 


Topics include:

(03:28) Brenda talks about his life and professional background

(07:50) Brenda talks about making the decision to teach in addition to performing

(11:20) Brenda talks about what she has learned from teaching music education courses and leading a collegiate violin studio

(15:55) Skills students need to have as the enter the workforce

(29:10) Brenda talks about her work with the Fairview Violin Project

(49:00) Outcomes for students who participated in the Fairview Project

(53:35) Why do we teach music? 

(59:31) Favorite rehearsal tactics

(1:02:10) Brenda discusses leaders that have made an impact on his life 

(1:04:15) Three words to describe an outstanding leader of a comprehensive music program

(1:05:45) Advice for music educators

(1:06:35) Being remembered as a leader for your music program



Dr. Brenner’s IU website:

Fairview Violin Project website:

Footage of Brenner teaching at the Fairview Project:

Fairview Project Concert:

Brenner performing as a featured soloist at the 2009 Midwest Clinic:



Brenda Brenner is associate professor of music in music education at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She specializes in string music education, teaching applied violin and courses in violin and string pedagogy.

Brenner earned a B.M. and a B.M.E. from Wichita State University and an M.M. and a D.M.A. in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music. In addition to her appointment to the Jacobs Music Education Department, she serves as co-director of the IU String Academy, a position she has held since 1993. Her String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues throughout the United States and have presented tours throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

As director of the Fairview Project—a program in which every first and second grader in an underserved school is taught violin as part of the curriculum—Brenner is researching the cognitive, academic, and social outcomes of early instrumental music instruction.

An active performer of chamber music throughout the United States, she partners with pianist Kenneth Huber and her husband, organist Christopher Young. She also teaches and conducts at the IU Summer String Academy and is assistant director of the IU Retreat for Professional Violinists and Violists.

Additionally, she is an active international clinician, with recent appearances at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, American String Teachers Association National Conferences, and Music Educators Conferences throughout the United States. She is president of the American String Teachers Association.