Visiting assistant professor
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Robin Attas is a music theorist with a deep interest in popular music studies, teaching and curricular development, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from the University of British Columbia, and her Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University.
Her music-theoretical research focuses on the repertoire of popular music, with analytical methods including rhythm and meter, form, text-music connections, cross-cultural comparative strategies, and the connection between analysis and social justice. Genres and artists of interest include disco, Motown, groove-based pop songs, Tanya Tagaq, and John K. Samson. Her work has been published in the Society for Music Theory’s flagship journals Music Theory Online and Music Theory Spectrum, and she has presented her research at conferences by organizations including the Society for Music Theory, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Analytical Approaches to World Music, and the Canadian University Music Society.
As a teacher, Attas is interested in expanding the standard music theory curriculum beyond its traditional repertoire boundaries to include the analysis of genres from around the world, and beyond its compositional boundaries to include composers of diverse genders, races, and ethnicities. She is passionate about making her classroom a place where students are engaged and active learners, and where all students find points of connection between the content and skills of music theory and their own educational interests and goals. Her pedagogical research dives deeper into these issues, considering topics such as ways to include more and better prose writing assignments in the music theory classroom, and teaching methodologies related to expert processes of music analysis. This research has been presented at conferences including the (Re)Imagining the Humanities 2017 conference and the annual meeting of the Canadian University Music Society, and is forthcoming at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning and the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.
Prior to her appointment at Mount Allison University, Robin was on faculty in the Department of Music at Elon University in North Carolina, where she was Coordinator of Music Theory, taught music theory and aural skills, and was active in Elon’s general education curriculum. She has received awards including a three-year Teagle grant as part of the Collaborative Humanities Redesign Project (CHRP), and the Popular Music Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory’s Adam Krims Award for best article by a junior scholar.