University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

The College of The Arts Welcomes New Director of the School of Music

Congratulations to Dr. David A. Williams, the new Director of the School of Music at USF’s College of The Arts.

Dr. Williams, Professor of Music Education, joined the faculty at USF in the fall of 1998 and holds a Ph.D. in music education from Northwestern University. His research interests involve the use of learner-centered pedagogies and how they impact teaching and learning in education. Some of Dr. Williams’ recent publications include the book, A Different Paradigm in Music Education, and an edited book with co-editor Johnathan Kladder, The Learner-Centered Music Classroom: Models and Possibilities. He also has a chapter in an Oxford University Press publication, Creative Music Making at Your Fingertips: A Mobile Technology Guide for Music Educators.

He believes it is imperative for schools of music to adjust their offerings to better reflect the realities of the contemporary professional musician. “Our goal for the coming year will be to examine curricular requirements for all our academic degrees and our priorities will include creativity, collaboration, student choice and flexibility. In addition, the school will continue to plan for a new commercial music program that focuses on rap and hip hop with a projected launch of the program in Fall 2023.”

Williams started a live-performing iPad ensemble called Touch in 2011. The band serves as a model of a learner-centered musical ensemble and concerts include music from a wide range of styles, collaborations with vocalists, dancers, actors, and visual artists, as well as significant audience participation. In addition to local and regional concerts, Touch has performed at the National Association of Music Education In-Service Conference in Nashville, Tennessee; the National Association for Schools of Music in Washington, DC; the Texas and Missouri Music Educators Association Conferences; the Florida Educational Technology Conference; and the College Music Society National Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The band has also appeared on a segment for ESPN and performed at two TEDx Conferences.

According to College of The Arts Dean Chris Garvin, “David is a visionary leader who will help define and create a preeminent School of Music and facilitate a high level of research productivity for faculty and students. He’s well positioned to invest in current and future students; build alumni and community partnerships; and find opportunities to embed the School of Music in the rapidly growing regional communities, including USF campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee.”