Mara E. Culp, Ph.D.
Assistant Prof of Music Teaching & Learning
​Eastman School of Music
Educator, Researcher, Presenter

Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY 14604

Phone:  607.274.1195
        Fax: 607.274.1727
  1. I became a K-12 music teacher to help students unlock their individual musical potential and learn to appreciate and value various styles. I began teaching college because I wanted to help prepare preservice teachers to meet the needs of their future students, particularly K-12 students with special needs.
  2. Research and discovering new information is a passion of mine. It allows me to keep up-to-date and informs my teaching practice. I have given research presentations at state, national, and international conferences and learned a great deal at each. Please contact me if you are interested in having a presentation at your school or event.
  3. Service to the community is a very important part of my life. I have advised high school clubs and given presentations regarding teaching music to students with special needs. I have also worked with Music Service and Sign Language Clubs, as well as an Intergenerational Choir. I demonstrate commitment to serving my community and colleagues here by providing various resources for others.
A Little About Me
     I am an assistant professor of music teaching and learning at the Eastman School of Music. I completed my Ph.D. and Master's in Music Education at Penn State and earned a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Siena Heights University. I taught K-12 general, choral, and instrumental music in MI for 5 years. My experiences teaching elementary general music students with speech impairments led to my primary research interest in speech acquisition through vocal music experiences for young children. I have presented original research at state, national, and international conferences; presented as an invited lecturer in the Communication Sciences and Disorders departments; and have published work in national journals, inlcuding General Music Today, Choral Journal, and The Orff Echo.  My work has also been accepted to the Journal of Research in Music Education.    
       I have varied musical interests. I learned guitar later in life and also played keyboard in a rock band, Killer Nigt Out, for several years. My experiences touring and playing clubs, bars, and festivals offered me a very unique perspective that have helped me connect with a wide array of students and people.
My Philosophy of Music Education
Early Experiences are Crucial
       Music education from an early age is crucial for all students because every child possesses musical aptitude and ability. Studying music early in life is particularly important because these young students are at a crucial time in their musical development. Before age 9, a child’s musical aptitude has not yet settled and is still developing. Students’ musical aptitudes can be strengthened by meaningful musical experiences. Therefore, it is imperative that these young children participate in developmentally appropriate, nurturing musical experiences from a trained music specialist .
            Since early exposure to appropriate musical experiences can increase musical aptitude, there can be a profound impact on a student’s future musical achievement and enjoyment. Appropriate musical experiences can actually improve a young child's ability to learn, understand, and perform music throughout his/her lifetime. Hence, children should develop a solid foundation of skills and experiences in singing, moving, listening/responding and creating music early in life. These early musical skills will lay the foundation upon which students can build exponentially.
     Early involvement in music can lay the groundwork to develop deeper and more personal understandings of music. Young students will gain unique knowledge, abilities, and skills that will position them to achieve success in musical endeavors for the rest of their lives by developing singing voices, exploring movement, discovering new ways to listen/respond, and creating unique music. Young children should have access to these many valuable experiences specific to music. Since early musical experiences can have a profound impact on a student’s future success, it s critical that a trained expert in the field provide every young student a meaningful music education.
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke