CMDA Research Expo


Join us for the 2024 CMDA Research Expo, where you can visit with our College researchers and learn more about their work. The Expo will highlight recent published and presented work from both students and faculty.


Schedule of Events

April 15, 2024 // LSU Baton Rouge Campus

Time Event Location
8:30 - 9:45 a.m. Welcome & Lightning Talks, Round 1 MDA, Studio Theatre
9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Refreshments MDA Lobby
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Poster Sessions MDA & SOM Lobbies
11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Lightning Talks, Round 2 MDA, Studio Theatre
11:50 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Lunch Break N/A
12:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Updates From CMDA Matching Grant Winners MDA, Studio Theatre
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Poster Sessions MDA & SOM Lobbies



Lightning Talks

MDA Black Box (9:10 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.)

Penny Kemler Introduction to Body Mapping and Alexander Technique
Inessa Bazayev Prokofiev’s Redefined Harmonic Relationships
Alan Sikes Research in Greece and “Premodern Performatives”
Scott Nelson
Jesse Allison
Distributed Performance: Four Approaches to Sonic Art Designed for Audience Participation via Mobile Devices
Scott Nelson Tabula Rasa II: ASMR for Wave Field Speaker Array
Robert Peck Z Relations in Noncommutative Interval Systems


MDA Black Box (11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.)

David Saccardi New Developments in Peer-Assisted Learning: Lessons from Recent Research
Yu Yang Social Support, Mentorship, and Performance Anxiety: Perspectives of Current LSU Music Performance Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Blake Howe Recent Trends in Music and Disability Studies
Veronica Perez Espinoza Effects of Music Instruction for 3-4-Year-Old Children on Cognitive Development and Spatial Skills
Rocky Samson Voice Work: Art and Science in Changing Voice
Jesse Allison Ecosystemic Sound Lab – Whale Karaoke: Exomusicology and Speculative Musics
Abby South Examination of Musical Sophistication and Working Memory Correlates in High School Students
Olivia Lucas Hearing Suffering and Faith in Lingua Ignota’s SINNER GET READY
Kyla Kazuschyk The Magic of Mylar! An Affordable Solution to Costume Problems


Poster Presentations

MDA Lobby (10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships among musical sophistication, school music training, and working memory (WM). Studies examining musicianship and WM often use convenience populations of college students, labeling those trained in the reading of Western Art music as musicians and everyone one else non musicians. This dichotomous grouping limits possible methods of statistical analyses and fails to effectively measure potential cognitive benefits associated with broad musical behaviors. In this study, participants were high school students (n = 88) from two suburban schools in Louisiana. Students completed two music and two WM tasks and responded to the Goldsmith’s Musical Sophistication Index.

Research questions include (1) Does a relationship exist between musical sophistication, school music training, and measures of working memory in adolescents? (2) Does musical sophistication, school music training, or performance on objective music tasks predict WM?

Presented by: Abby South

Underrepresented Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) offers a musical collection worth exploring in the intermediate student’s piano study. He masterfully merges European modernism with the rich elements from Puerto Rican and Latin American folksong, jazz, salsa, and African rhythms. Sierra’s compositions infuse elements like salsa and bomba, a style he terms “tropicalization.” Roberto Sierra wrote 35 piano works, including 15 piano sonatas and pedagogical materials, such as Ten Easy Piece for Piano. Album for the Young is a collection of 15 short pieces for piano and can be supplemented for early-to-intermediate students. Pedagogical techniques found within these pieces can be grouped into these broad categories: 1) rhythm, 2) alternating between hands, 3) musicality in dynamics, phrasing, pedaling, and articulations, and 4) finger techniques, such as broken chords, scales, and arpeggios.

Presented by: Sijing Guo & Jinnan Liu

Research suggests low socioeconomic status is a significant barrier to child participation in extracurricular activities. Black families are disproportionally represented in the U.S. population living in poverty; Black children tend to participate in extracurriculars less frequently than their peers (Kuhn et al., 2021). While some educators address financial need with scholarships and loaner instruments, Black children remain underrepresented in piano studios nationwide (Duke et al., 1997). To recruit and retain Black students, educators should create programs that, address financial burden and offer a culturally relevant curriculum. This autoethnography reflects the author’s lived experience as a Black pianist, as they mitigate barriers to piano education. Their story offers perspective on the journey of gaining insider status, startup challenges, and adopting an engaging, culturally specific curriculum to launch a free piano program in a low-income Baton Rouge neighborhood.

Presented by: Eden Brown & Pamela Pike

Marching bands in university settings utilize student leadership and peer learning structures to facilitate a wide range of tasks, including marching instruction, music learning, and social cohesion. In this study, we examined student experiences and the effects of peer-assisted learning in a collegiate Division 1 marching band to understand more precisely how student leadership programs enhance the musical, cultural, and social experience of the band. The purpose was to examine the behaviors and practices of a student leadership training program regarding student leaders' preparation in the function of a university marching band. We utilized a phenomenological single case study where data were collected through written daily reflections and semi-structured interviews with student leaders, band directors, and student members. Student leadership was labeled as a team safe for interpersonal risk taking and improving musical and marching performance and organizational tasks.

Presented by: Christopher Song, David Saccardi & Simon Holoweiko

SOM Lobby (10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)

Distributed performance systems engage non-performers in the realization of music. This technology opens a panoply of performance opportunities to explore as well as pitfalls to avoid in creating a successfully engaging musical experience. The Experimental Music & Digital Media program has been a pioneer in this area, developing technologies and approaches for distributed performance since 2010. On February 29, 2024 the EMDM program presented a series of 4 exploratory artworks at the LSU Museum of Art approaching audience participation from novel perspectives. Face by Treya Nash provided a playfully interactive and shared choral experience navigating a carefully composed harmonic framework. Embryonic by Carlos Román presented a co-located 360º video & sonification of fish data. Artificial Folk by Jesse Allison positioned the audience as an instigator and recipient of generative AI. Chewkeeper by Scott Nelson is a co-located group ASMR experience emerging from animal source recordings.

Presented by: Jesse Allison, Treya Nash, Carlos Román & Scott Nelson

Exo-musicology and speculative music are ways to challenge the notion that music is an exclusively human auditory experience. By envisioning a human-whale communication setting, we break free from a purely anthropocentric approach and open our minds to the possibility that music, in its broader sense, could extend beyond the human species. The Whale Karaoke project entails a technical exploration of whale sounds to render them manageable and comprehensible for human performance. The first phase includes sound segmentation, stretching or compression of duration, elimination of silence, pitch shifting, and timbral transfer. At this point humans, participants engage in imitation, impression, and performance of the modified whale sounds. The performances are reconstructed in the whale-domain and then played back, allowing for a unique and interactive experience with the original whale songs within the karaoke framework.

Presented by: Jesse Allison, Carlos Román & Treya Nash

Whisper is a piece for audience participation with cell phones, performed through a web app. The piece is inspired by whispering galleries, spaces in which sound waves travel around curved surfaces, so that whispers produced in one area can be heard in another. During the performance, the audience record themselves whispering into their cell phones, then upload their audio samples to a server. A performer diffuses the sound through a multichannel speaker system. The JSAmbisonics library allows the performer to play the samples back through a speaker array of variable size and configuration. The piece is intended to engage the audience and give them agency through their fundamental role in creating the sonic material. The sound world of the piece is designed to be intimate, playing with the intelligibility of speech.

Presented by: Treya Nash

Z related sets (sets with the same interval content but which are not related by transposition or inversion) are well known and frequently studied in the context of traditional chromatic pitch-class space, The interval system of that space is cyclic and, by extension, commutative (i.e., the product interval x followed by interval y, in that order, is the same as interval y followed by interval x). In contrast, Z relations in noncommutative interval systems have attracted only little attention, due in part to their computational complexities. Since their existence was first posited in 1997 by David Lewin, subsequent music theorists have provided no specific examples. This study presents concrete illustrations of Z relations in noncommutative interval systems and offers preliminary analytical results.

Presented by: Robert Peck

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder range from high-functioning to severely impaired (non-verbal), with characteristics of diminished social interaction, communication, repetitive patterns of behavior, and hyperfixation of interests or activities. While the impact of ASD is unique for each person, many children have difficulty with concentration, imitation, coordination, expressing emotions and understanding spoken communication, thus having potential difficulty following directions. The purpose of this study is to examine how private piano lessons for students with autism spectrum disorder improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and how to restructure private piano teaching methods to create a “sensory friendly” space in order to formulate more efficient pedagogical methods.

Presented by: Kristyn van Cleave

MDA Lobby (2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

Music Performance Anxiety is a significant concern among music students, impacting their well-being. However, previous studies suggested that social support and mentorship may serve as potential factors in alleviating anxiety (Arab & Saeedi, 2024; Simons & Bird, 2022). The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge about current performance anxiety, perceived social support (general, family, and peers), and mentorship among undergraduate, master’s level, and doctoral level music performance major students at Louisiana State University (LSU). A total of 45 participants completed the survey. The results indicated that master's students had the highest Music Performance Anxiety levels and received the lowest levels of social support. Additionally, the mean value of Mentorship Effectiveness for all three education levels was at least above the "agree" level but decreased from undergraduate to master's to doctoral students.

Presented by: Yu Yang

Reciprocal peer teaching (RPT) is an instructional strategy rooted in collaborative learning principles, wherein students take on the dual roles of both tutor and tutee. RPT has been examined in a number of music education contexts, including elementary, secondary, and university groups; however, the class group piano setting remains an area lacking empirical examination. The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any effects between the training duration in RPT and student achievement on four specific piano performance matrices: (1) repertoire, (2) sight-reading, (3) harmonization, and (4) transposition. 33 non-piano native music majors participated in this study. Results from four separate one-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) found significant differences between groups for all four areas of assessment. Implications for peer tutor training and suggestions for group piano teachers are discussed.

Presented by: Jinnan Liu & David Saccardi

The impact of music instruction on child cognitive development has been examined for many years. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of music instruction on the spatial and cognitive skills of preschool children ages 3-4. Participants in the study were 68 three- to four-year-old students who received weekly music instruction at a private school in South Louisiana. Of the 68 participants, and using a quasi-experimental design, 27 students in three intact classes were randomly assigned to receive a movement song treatment and the other 28 were assigned to the control group to receive traditional, whole-class music instruction with no movement for the duration of the treatment period. Participants completed the Audie test of early childhood musical aptitude and a modified version of the Test of Spatial Ability (TOSA) to examine early childhood executive function and cognitive development.

Presented by: Veronica Perez Espinoza

As materials grow more expensive, designers and technicians are challenged with devising ways to use inexpensive materials to achieve high-quality looking results. When a design calls for something flashy, metallic fabrics or gemstones might be ideal, but when these materials are beyond our price range, what can we do? One solution is to utilize mylar! Mylar and cellophane may be familiar materials, often used as party decorations or set dressing. Both are inexpensive, widely available, and quite versatile. They can catch the light and reflect it like rhinestones or metallic fabric, yet are much cheaper and more durable. You can add them as trim, fringe, applique, or use them to create sleeves, skirts, or entire garments. Using them saves time, as there is no need for an extra step to finish the cut edges. You can save money and practice sustainability by upcycling existing materials.Reimagining these familiar materials can help to create affordable and fantastic costumes.

Presented by: Kyla Kazuschyk

SOM Lobby (2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

Tabula Rasa II is one of the sound art pieces created as a part of my dissertation research. My dissertation centers on testing various forms of immersive sound technology and how they compare in eliciting Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Tabula Rasa II explores the effectiveness of a wave field speaker array in producing ASMR in participants. Using a technique called wave field synthesis, I created a spatial audio environment, positioning sound within this environment and correlating its position to a 2D plane, represented by the drawing tablet. When participants of Tabula Rasa II move the stylus across the drawing tablet, they move the sound of a pencil etching on paper throughout the wave field. The study then seeks to compare the ASMR production from wave field synthesis with other immersive sound technologies, such as 360 or spatial audio in VR, binaural headphones, distributed mobile speaker networks, as well as non-technologically mediated sound.

Presented by: Scott Nelson

Immersive Flipper is a virtual music-pinball video game inspired by Tetris Effect: Connected and built in Unreal Engine 5 using only MetaSounds. My in-progress dissertation builds a model for explaining player-music interaction in video games. This game is being developed using that model. Experience playing pinball with adaptive audio designed to make your actions create music. Using the flipper to hit a pinball, having the pinball hit a bumper, or losing a pinball will cause the music to change in some way creating a player-music interaction. The game features three levels: a solo level akin to normal pinball, a two-player level where pinball is played like tennis, and a four-player level where four people play against each other all while creating music with their actions. The composed music takes inspiration from physical pinball machines and virtual pinball games; and, it is designed to be easily changed using Unreal’s editor by any performer.

Presented by: Morgan Weeks

Over the past decades, there has been a notable increase in the number of young students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Students with ADHD diagnoses have had an apparent impact on their academic development and daily lives. The symptoms of ADHD are demonstrated as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Thus, teaching students with ADHD demands extensive social engagement and communication from both instructors and parents. This poster aims to provide music teachers with a comprehensive understanding of the core symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), including its various types, and an understanding of how to provide useful teaching methods to guide students to success in music learning. Additionally, it will explore effective teaching strategies that can be applied, particularly during piano lessons, for students with ADHD.

Presented by: Yibing Fu

The purpose of this ethnographic multiple case study will be to examine the musical lives of teachers, students, community members, and culture bearers within two specific musical regions and cultures of Louisiana. Participants’ intrinsic cultural meanings of Louisiana’s music and impact on school music programs will be examined through ethnographic interview and observation. The two regions that are the focus of this research are Erath, LA, the heart of Créole and Cajun country where Zydeco music finds its origins, and New Orleans, LA, the birthplace of traditional jazz and brass band music. Research questions include: (1) how do music educators incorporate their region’s historic and cultural music into their school music curriculum?, (2) how do music students describe their experiences learning about and performing their region’s historic and cultural music?, and (3) how do community members perceive the value in educating students and preserving their region’s music?

Presented by: Christopher Song

The intricate elements of pictorial, ideological, and semantic Chinese characters are the outgrowth of simple calligraphic gestures. The project transcribes the words into gestures and somaesthetic movement/interaction, subsequently encoding the collective bodily movements and gestures into a novel manifestation named Chinese Calligraphic Dance (CCD). This dance form is sonified by means of both categorized and uncategorized gestures/movements, facilitated by a motion tracking system, to produce generative music and visual arts. The categorized gestures are derived from the stroke elements of Chinese words while the uncategorized gestures are from dance movements, inspired from the pictorial shapes of Chinese words. The system is designed to provide immediate visual and sonic feedback, effectively transforming gestures into a canvas for dance movements and harnessing motion tracking data to inform generative music composition.

Presented by: Ka Hei Cheng