Carolyn A. Barber (professor/director of bands, University of Nebraska – Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music) earned a B.M. in horn performance at Northwestern University, an M.M. in horn performance from Yale University, and returned to Northwestern to earn her D.M. in conducting as a student of John P. Paynter and Victor Yampolsky.
Dr. Barber began her career as a lecturer and assistant to the dean of the Northwestern University School of Music. Her duties included teaching advanced conducting and directing the university’s 118-piece Concert Band. Prior to her appointment at UNL, Dr. Barber also served as the director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Apart from her conducting and teaching at UW-L, Dr. Barber also served for five years as the principal horn of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
As director of bands at UNL, her teaching assignment is now a hybrid of traditional academic classes and performance-based courses. This combination provides a rich atmosphere for the cross-pollination of ideas, techniques, and creative problem solving. Dr. Barber’s chief area of research is conducting practice and pedagogy, with emphasis on group dynamics (flocking and influence), and the development of ensembleship through improvisation, artistic thinking, and a broad, multidisciplinary array of rehearsal techniques. She has demonstrated and elaborated upon her work at venues including the Midwest Clinic, conferences of the College Band Directors National Association, American String Teachers Association, and the National Association for Music Education, state music educators conventions, district training workshops, and masterclass/rehearsal clinics nationwide. Her most current research delves into the semiotics of gesture, with emphasis on the potential relationship between innate gesture and speech systems and gesture and audiation systems for conductors.
Dr. Barber has received numerous awards for musical and academic achievement, including the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, two National Band Association Citations of Excellence, and a United States Navy Good Conduct Medal. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Band Research, and she is a regular contributor to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band reference series. In addition to her scholarly activities, Dr. Barber maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada.