Renowned Orff-Schulwerk Specialist Joins Faculty

Elisabeth Crabtree

The University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music is delighted to announce Elisabeth Crabtree as assistant professor of music education.

Currently completing her Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Crabtree has 23 years of experience teaching Pre-K through 12th-grade general music and electives, including choir, rock band, and musical theater. She is certified in Orff Schulwerk and is a graduate of the Special Course at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, holding a certificate in Advanced Studies in Music and Dance Education.

“It’s my privilege to welcome Elisabeth Crabtree to the University of Memphis and the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. She has outstanding expertise in Orff-Schulwerk, Kodály, and other methodologies, coupled with an exciting research trajectory and the ability to connect with our students,” shares Ken Sanders, director of the School of Music. “I very much look forward to all that Professor Crabtree will bring to the University as a member of the music education faculty this fall.”

Crabtree’s passion for innovative and creative pedagogical approaches is evident in her dissertation on creative music pedagogy and her recently published book, “Rediscovering the Keys of Orff-Schulwerk: Lullabies, Rhymes, and Seasonal Songs,” which provides creative teaching models for pieces from

Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman’s volumes of Music for Children. She has researched the globalization of Orff-Schulwerk and how educators are using the approach to decolonize music education in Ghana. She looks forward to bringing her passion and expertise to the well-established and renowned Orff master’s degree program at the University of Memphis.

“I am thrilled to join the esteemed faculty at the University of Memphis. During my visit, I was deeply impressed by the strong sense of camaraderie among the faculty, staff and students, and I eagerly anticipate joining this vibrant community,” said Crabtree.

In addition to her experience with Orff-Schulwerk, Crabtree holds an M.Ed. with certification in Kodály from Loyola University Maryland, where she taught Kodály pedagogy to level I and III graduate students. She received a Bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis on harpsichord performance from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Crabtree has taught and provided pedagogical models for undergraduate pre-service music education students at the University of Washington for the last five years. She recently worked at Seattle Opera, conducting the youth opera choruses and musically directing an ensemble of 80 children (aged 6-18) in a Youth Opera Project. While at Seattle Opera, she conducted two research projects focusing on how the organization provides education access to marginalized youth in the community and how the program inclusively works with groups of students of diverse ages and abilities. She also partnered with a nearby retirement facility, bringing the young singers to perform with and for residents with memory loss and researching how musical experiences impact the quality of life of seniors with dementia. These experiences deepened her understanding and commitment to fostering creative musical expression in community settings across various ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Outside of academia, Crabtree’s passions include performing in various music ensembles, including an early music recorder consort, an Americana rock cover band, and a Balinese gamelan. Her interests also extend to world travel, sailing, and running 10K races and half marathons. As an avid Disney aficionado and movie buff, she finds inspiration in the intersection of music, culture and storytelling.

Crabtree is enthusiastic about joining the University of Memphis community and eager to share her passion for music education and diverse experiences with the students and faculty.

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