music education

For Immediate Release
Contact: Catherina Hurlburt at NAfME or (703) 860-4000

National Association for Music Education Announces
Estelle Jorgensen as the Recipient of
the 2020 NAfME Senior Researcher Award

RESTON, VA (July 15, 2021)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is pleased to present Estelle Jorgensen, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, as the seventeenth recipient of the NAfME Senior Researcher Award. The award, which recognizes significant, long-term scholarship in music education, was presented to Jorgensen on February 27 at the 2021 NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education Biennial Conference, which took place virtually February 25–27.

“Numbers alone cannot tell the story of a professor’s research impact. Research must be written by authors, and authors need support. Research that is worthy of publication needs a place to go. Estelle enlarged the capacity of our field to do both. But more than that, she helped to create sustaining and sustainable research organizations,” shared Dr. Randall Allsup, Associate Professor of Music Education at Columbia University. “Today we have sociologists, activists, and ongoing conferences dedicated to LGBTQ inclusion; we have a commitment to social justice that is embedded across institutions and research paradigms; music education dissertations across institutions employ more philosophy in their related literature sections, conceptual frameworks, and rationales; writers have more opportunities to speak and be heard. Estelle was a generational leader who took part in this great unspooling. She met her moment. She rose to her moment. Her research and the research mechanisms that she built provided my generation with the ability to do things differently. And few researchers can make this claim.”

Senior Researcher Award recipient Estelle Jorgensen

“In 1990 she hosted the Philosopher/Teacher in Music Symposium at Indiana University, which was the first-ever international conference on the philosophy of music education,” noted John Kratus, Professor Emeritus of Music Education, School of Music, Michigan State University. “In 1993 she founded the biannual journal, Philosophy of Music Education Review. This journal is now recognized as the premier journal in the world featuring philosophical articles on music education. In 2003 Dr. Jorgensen was instrumental in creating the International Society for the Philosophy of Music Education (ISPME) at an international philosophy of music education conference at Lake Forest University. Ever since then, the ISPME has held biennial conferences at various locations in North America and Europe.  The most recent conference, held in Ontario, Canada in June 2019, was attended by nearly 100 participants from around the world.”

“Dr. Jorgensen’s words have a tendency to shine light in dark places, awaken the unconscious, and inspire the reader to ask critical questions of ourselves, the profession, and institutions. These are hallmark characteristics of a phenomenal researcher.”

“If you know anything about Dr. Jorgensen’s work, you know that she is exceptionally gifted with words, and words matter,” shared NAfME Presidient Mackie V. Spradley. “Words are both powerful and transformative. Dr. Jorgensen’s words have a tendency to shine light in dark places, awaken the unconscious, and inspire the reader to ask critical questions of ourselves, the profession, and institutions. These are hallmark characteristics of a phenomenal researcher.”

Jorgensen’s degrees include: B.A. Hons., Dip. Ed., University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia (1967, 1968); A.Mus A. (Piano Performance), Australian Music Examinations Board (1968); M.Mus., Andrews University, Michigan (1970); Ph.D., University of Calgary, Canada (1976). Jorgensen has authored five books and edited three books on music education: In Search of Music Education (1997), Transforming Music Education (2003), The Art of Teaching Music (2008), Pictures of Music Education (2011), and Values and Music Education (November 2021). She co-edited Humane Music Education for the Common Good (2002) and edited Philosopher, Teacher, Musician: Perspectives of Music Education (1993) and Proceedings of the McGill Symposium in School Music Administration and Supervision, 1979 (1980). Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Education Research, the Bulletin of the Council of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, the International Journal of Music Education, the British Journal of Music Education, Psychology of Music, and Research Studies in Music Education. Jorgensen’s full vitae is available here.

“One of the privileges of serving on the Executive Committee of the Society for Research in Music Education is to be able to select someone from our research community to honor for their significant impact on the field,” noted NAfME Society for Research in Music Education Chair Carlos R. Abril, Ph.D., Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Research at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. “I can think of few who are more deserving of such an honor than Estelle Jorgensen. For decades, her scholarly contributions have illuminated the path for many music educators and researchers, inviting them to think more deeply and act more mindfully.”

“When future historians will interpret and critique music education in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first century, Estelle Jorgensen’s contributions will be singled out as some of the most forward-thinking and enduring of the time period,” said Marie McCarthy, Professor of Music Education at University of Michigan. Continuing, McCarthy added, “In the field of music education, Indiana University came to be associated with philosophy. It was there through the work of Prof. Jorgensen that philosophy as a subspecialty within music education research took root. Prior to 1990, the year she hosted the first philosophy of music education conference, ‘The Philosopher/Teacher in Music: The Indiana Symposium on Research and Teaching in the Philosophy of Music Education,’ scholars within the profession produced major works in philosophy, but it was Estelle Jorgensen who brought the professional community together in the name of philosophical discourse and the collective advancement of scholarship.”

The NAfME Senior Researcher Award is “a fitting award for someone so deeply engaged in music education scholarship personally, in her mentorship of students, and in her leadership of colleagues across the fields of music and education,” added Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music at University of Washington, and the 2002 NAfME Senior Research Award recipient. “For forty-plus years, Professor Jorgensen has been thinking and doing music education, first as a choral musician and conductor and later as a teaching member of university faculties of music. . . . Her ideas have been foundational in the critical review of our accomplishments in music teaching and learning, and in our consideration of how we might meet the challenges of music in schools and communities of a rapidly changing North American (and global) society.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Professor Estelle Jorgensen is a remarkable scholar, a leader in the field, and it is most appropriate that we honor her in this way, at this time.”


National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members teaching millions of students nationwide, the organization is the national voice of music education in the United States.

Follow NAfME on Twitter and on Facebook. For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at or 703-860-4000.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

July 15, 2021


  • NAfME News
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July 15, 2021. © National Association for Music Education (

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