“Uncharted Horizons” (UH), a podcast of the Learn Through Discovery (LTD) Initiative at Cal Poly Pomona, released its first episode of this semester focusing on music research.
The UH podcast explores what research means for different disciplines and how students can get involved through diverse members of the CPP community, according to the LTD website. Its most recent episode features ethnomusicology assistant professor and director of mariachi ensembles, Jessie Vallejo.
“We explore the world of research, what it is, how scholars go about it in different disciplines and how you can start participating in research as a graduate student,” says the host of UH, Sean Heren, to introduce each episode.
Vallejo spoke about her hemispheric approach to Amerindian studies, mariachi music outside of Mexico and the United States, and integrating ethnomusicological approaches to K-12 music programs, as well as the fieldwork in Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, Spain, U.S., Canada and the Hotinonshón:ni territories, also known as Five Nations, which are the original Iroquois confederacy, consisting of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca peoples.
Vallejo also provided insight for undergraduate students who may be interested in getting involved in research within the music department. “It’s one way that we can have a voice and document our stories and that we can share our stories,” Vallejo said. “It can be so rewarding to go out and meet people and learn about these topics that are relevant to you or the people you’re talking with.”
Students can work on their senior projects with professors like Vallejo by communicating their interest in working with them. And if not, they’re assigned to a professor to work with through the music department. The students then go on to research the topics of their choosing to produce a finished product, which is usually writing, instruments or presentations.
Vallejo recalls a student building a prototype of an organ using a bookshelf, and another who incorporated braille into instruments to make them more accessible for a family member who had a disability. “It’s a nice tangible thing to have as a way to be proud of yourself,” Vallejo said.
Students can research the topics that interest them the most, regardless of the professor’s experience within the topic of the student’s choice. Vallejo often finds herself learning from the students whom she mentors. She is in charge of connecting students to the resources they need to research their topics, such as scholarly journals, conventions, people and more.
If you’re interested in doing a research project with Vallejo, or if you’re curious about what kind of research project you can get involved with, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more on your own about music research before you go into a full research project, tap into the CPP library resources with music librarian Alyssa Loera in person, or email her at email@example.com to look into available research options on campus.
For a student perspective on research projects, attend one of their research presentations which are usually posted on the bulletin board in the music department. It’s a great way to show support and get some information on your end to get in.
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