Dr Colleen Ferguson is an active performer and teacher of violin, viola, and orchestral conducting. She holds both a Bachelor’s (2002) and a Master’s (2004) degree in Music Education from The University of Texas at Austin, where she was also a faculty member of the UT Austin String Project. Subsequently, Dr Ferguson earned both an MM (2012) and DMA (2015) in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa. An enthusiastic teacher of students of all ages, Dr Ferguson taught general music and orchestra in El Paso, Texas public schools, served as the Graduate Teaching Assistant in Violin at the University of Iowa, and currently maintains a dynamic applied studio of string students at Texas A&M University Kingsville.
An experienced string performer, pedagogue and orchestral conductor, Dr Ferguson works with both string and symphony orchestras performing repertoire from all periods and genres. She formerly served as Lecturer of Violin and Viola at Eastern Kentucky University, where she also directed the EKU String Orchestra. Recently, she served as Assistant Professor of Music and Symphony Orchestra Director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2019 Dr Ferguson joined the faculty of Texas A&M University Kingsville as Assistant Professor of Strings and Orchestra where she is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra.
As an orchestral and chamber musician she has played professionally as a member of several orchestras including the El Paso Symphony (Texas), Las Cruces Symphony (New Mexico), Ottumwa Symphony (Iowa), Orchestra Iowa (Iowa), and Johnstown Symphony (Pennsylvania). Additionally, Dr Ferguson has played in the orchestras of Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. She has also been an active participant at several international music festivals throughout Europe and was formerly a member of the Litton Piano Trio at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2018-2019). Currently, Dr Ferguson is the violinist of the newly formed Herbert Street Trio (2021) which will tour in Texas, Pennsylvania and Durham (United Kingdom) in the spring of 2022.
Additionally, Dr Ferguson enjoys performing as a violin soloist and has a particular interest in the music of British composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr Ferguson has performed solo violin recitals at St. Stephen’s Church in Dublin at the Imperial College in London and has presented joint recitals of British music for violin and piano in Birmingham, UK (2019) and in Gloucester Cathedral (2021) as part of the Stanford Society Annual Symposium. Dr Ferguson has also edited several pieces of music and her critical performance edition of Charles V. Stanford’s Fourth String Quartet was used by the Dante Quartet on an album released in 2018 on the SOMM label.
Thinking Outside the Zoom Box: Discovering Resilience, Innovation, and Creating Valuable Experiences for Ensembles During the Pandemic
Due to the pandemic environment, music educators and students have found themselves in challenging situations ranging from entirely online/virtual to fully in-person and face-to-face physically distanced ensemble rehearsals. This session will provide participants with insights and strategies to tackle challenges of various remote and in-person large ensemble rehearsal situations, as well as inspire attendees to find the opportunities through the obstacles. Participants will learn strategies for building resilience, creating innovation and cross-disciplinary projects, and providing quality experiences for students in virtual, hybrid, and socially distanced in-person educational settings. Strategies presented are gathered from the presenters’ first-hand experiences with their large orchestral ensembles (ranging from 50-70 students) during the pandemic. Presenters will provide insights on what has worked well, challenges faced, technologies applied, and lessons learned during the process. They will also introduce various creative strategies to highlight collaboration and create a sense of community and belonging in a remote environment. Attendees will gain ideas and learn unique teaching concepts for the music ensemble in the current environment including fully remote instruction, hybrid instruction, and in-person settings. Topics such as working synchronously with students from various time zones, how to engage students with limited access to technology and internet/WiFi, wellness for the instructor and students, finding value and motivation, meaningful assessment, and embracing technology will be discussed. A student panel will join the presenters.