When I am playing in concert and becoming a better cellist, I am also learning how to take that knowledge and teach it to others.

Lisa Caravan

As an accomplished cellist, Professor Lisa Caravan, music, brings a performer's perspective to her work with students of music education. Though teaching is her favorite part of her job, she enjoys playing in solo and chamber recitals and orchestral concerts.

"I would never want to choose between teaching and performing," Caravan says. "When I am playing in concert and becoming a better cellist, I am also learning how to take that knowledge and teach it to others."
Bucknell's emphasis on faculty collaboration, creativity and engagement with students appeals to Caravan, who also values the opportunity to teach in a liberal arts setting. "The curriculum encourages a cross-pollination of ideas from other disciplines, which enriches the music education experience," she says.

Outside of the classroom, Caravan works closely with senior music education students who are fulfilling student-teaching requirements. This ties in nicely with her current research – she is collaborating with a colleague from Auburn University on a study called "Pre-Service Music Teachers' Reactions to Field Teaching Experiences: A Qualitative Analysis of Discussion Board Posts." 

"Field experiences can happen anytime before a student's full student-teaching semester," says Caravan. In her study, students report back on two three-week observations and teaching experiences in which they spend about three hours per week at a school. "We want to learn what they are getting out of their field experience," she says. "We also find out about their fears so we can help address them and improve their instruction," she says.

Caravan's other research interests include cello pedagogy and small-muscle development in young string performers.

"Cello pedagogy is the method and practicing of teaching cello. My research examines specific elements and factors that affect how one teaches cello," she says. "My dissertation analyzed new compositions by a cellist-teacher-composer, Grace Vamos, who wrote pieces for her students to fill the gap in the intermediate cello repertoire."

Caravan looks forward to helping her students taking full advantage of the University's facilities and opportunities. "What Bucknell has to offer students is amazing," she says. "Rooke Recital Hall and the Weis Center are wonderful places for our students to perform."

Posted Sept. 29, 2014