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Music Wall of Fame

Robyn Swanson
Robyn Swanson
- Inducted 2020
(b. 1946)

Dr. Robyn Swanson, Western Kentucky University Distinguished Professor of Music Education served the Department of Music from January, 1988 through 2017. Previous music education and studio voice teaching experiences included: Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD, public school teaching in Clear Lake, IA., Sterling, Ill. and Cherokee, IA. Robyn earned a Bachelor of Music Education and Performance Degree from Simpson College, Indianola, IA; a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Mankato State University, Mankato, MN and a Doctor of Music Education Degree with  Certification in Special Education (Mental Retardation) from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.


Robyn’s passion is teaching. She instilled within her undergraduate and graduate students to believe in their talents and abilities which would result in achieving success. Unique to her career was that she would do teaching demonstrations in area public schools with Pre-K through high-school age students. She was a university professor who not only “talked the talk but walked the walk”. Robyn was appointed to numerous Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Curriculum-Instruction-Assessment committees (1990-2017) and served as a writer for the National Core Arts Standards (2014). Throughout her career, she received numerous awards and honors for teaching, research and service. The Third District Kentucky Music Educators Association (TDMEA) established a Robyn Swanson Legacy in Music Education Award that is awarded annually.


Her extensive research dossier included numerous publications (Oxford University Press, G.I.A.) and presentations at international, national, state and local levels. She defined her investigative areas as Music Education for All Learners including students with special needs as well as Authentic Assessment Practices. Those involvements included international trainings in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong; Bologna, Italy; Kecskemét, Hungary and Taipei, Taiwan; numerous national presentations (NAfME, MENC) including trainings for the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and multiple teacher-training workshops for the Kentucky Department of Education throughout Kentucky and surrounding states.


She served as President of the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA), Very Special Arts Kentucky (VSAK) and the Kentucky Alliance for Arts Education (KAAE). Membership in Professional Organizations included Phi Kappa Lambda, Mu Phi Epsilon, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), International Society for Music Education (ISME), Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA), VSA, and PEO.

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WKU Department of Music is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1948.


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 Last Modified 10/3/18