Meet the Researcher - Akie Kadota

Breakout Room: 8


Researcher Name: Akie Kadota
Title of Research: The Effect of Remote Learning on Secondary Ensemble-Based Music Education
Division Representing: Education
Institution: Northwestern University
Institution Location: Illinois
Home State: Illinois
District Number: 9
Advisor/Mentor: Sarah Bartolome
Funding Source: Northwestern Undergraduate Research Grant

Research Experience: 
I am a fourth-year student majoring in Music Education and Social Policy from Alexandria, VA. As a strong advocate for education equity, I have been involved in many educational student organizations on campus including Books & Breakfast, a before-school tutoring program for students who need additional support in the Evanston community; the Arts and Music Programs for Education in Detention Centers (AMPED), a music mentorship program that connects Northwestern students with incarcerated young men at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center; the National Association for Music Education; and the QuestBridge Scholars Network, a scholarship program for high-achieving, low-income/first-generation college students. Outside of Northwestern, I have had the opportunity to intern with the People's Music School and the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). Through my internship with CAPE, I have had the opportunity to aid with the literature review writing process by find and discussing research on interdisciplinary learning, sociemotional learning, and community-based learning. At Northwestern, I have also had the opportunity to hone my interests in research through a variety of research method classes. Through one of these courses, I conducted an ethnographic case study on the Kellogg School of Management to understand the development of identity and interpersonal connections in highly career-driven spaces. My current research that is being submitted to CUR has been under the sponsorship of the Senior Honors Thesis Program of the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy and the Undergraduate Research Grant Program. 

Presentation Experience: 
In terms of my current research project, I have regularly had opportunities to present my research and ask for peer and mentor feedback through a weekly senior research seminar class. Outside of this class, I have shared my research to students who are interested in the seniors honors thesis program. My project is also slated to be presented in the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME), the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy Research Fair, and the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Symposium in the spring. Outside of my current research, I have had experience presenting my case study on the Kellogg School to a larger ethnography research methods class and discuss literature review findings at CAPE with staff, Chicago Public Schools teachers, and partnered researchers at UC Irvine. 

Significance of Research: 
With the abrupt shift to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensemble-based music teachers have rapidly had to adapt their former classroom structures to be functional online. As group-music making is such an integral part to the music curriculum, remote learning has compromised this previous mean of instruction. However, concerns about the cultural relevancy and educational value of the performance-based curriculum in comparison to the majority of student music experiences outside the classroom have already come into question prior to the pandemic. Through using free music streaming services and participating in informal music opportunities, students have arguably been more engaged in music more than ever beyond the music curriculum. I hope to uncover both how music teachers have adapted to teaching in the pandemic and if their philosophies and values have changed. In order to understand these changes, I will conduct semi-structured interviews with 12 choral and instrumental public high school music teachers. I will be asking these music educators questions about what they have currently done in the classroom as well as questions about how the accessibility issues of learning in the pandemic have shifted their educational values. The analyses should provide insight into how a mass curricular reformation due to a pandemic can potentially incite new perspectives and values of what should be taught in the music classroom. This thesis might offer suggestions on how to engage more closely with student music experiences as a result of accommodating with student, teacher, and community needs in the pandemic.

Uniqueness of Research: 
My study is unique because it seeks to understand the effects of the unprecedented pandemic through the lens of music educators whose classrooms previously relied on large gatherings and aerosol-producing activities (i.e. singing, blowing through instruments) that are currently unsafe. 


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