Dr. Jennifer S. McDonel


Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor
Associate Professor of Music
Director of Music Education
Early Childhood/Elementary Music Education

Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Buchanan 106
Box 6968
Phone: (540) 831-6626
Fax: (540) 831-6133

Courses taught: MUSC 114, MUSC 115, MUSE 300, MUSC 351, MUSE 353, MUSE 400, MUSE 446, MUSE 447, MUSE 462, MUSC 480, MUSC 498, MUSC 602, MUSC 691, MUSC 699


Jennifer Sutton McDonel, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music Education at Radford University. She also is a faculty member/teacher trainer for the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML). She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree, summa cum laude, from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts in Music Education degree from the Eastman School of Music, and a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo. She holds GIML Certifications: Early Childhood Levels 1 and 2, Elementary Levels 1 and 2, and Instrumental Level 1; ECMMA Certification Level 3; and Orff Certification Level 1.

Dr. McDonel’s teaching experience includes early childhood music, elementary general music, 5th – 12th grade instrumental music, and undergraduate and graduate level classes in musicianship, early childhood, elementary general and instrumental music, and foundations of music education. Dr. McDonel was awarded the Distinguished Teacher-Educator Award in the Department of Learning and Instruction of the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo in 2010.

Dr. McDonel is a Music Learning Theory specialist and has presented clinics on music learning theory and its applications in several states, regionally at MENC’s Eastern Division Conference, nationally at AOSA, JEN, NAfME National In-service and Teacher Education and Research Conferences, and CMS 61st National Conference, and internationally at sevenInternational Conferences on Music Learning Theory, the 2nd International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education, the Research in Music Education (RiME) Conference, the International Society of Music Education (ISME) conference and to music teacher associations in Spain and Nepal. 

Dr. McDonel’s work is published in the GIML AudeaMass Music NewsPerspectivesZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics EducationBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education (CRME) and is a contributing author to TIPS: The Child Voice (2010 revised ed.), Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra (2013), and The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education, Vol 1 (2019). She is co-developer of the Harmony & Heart (2021) music and movement program for Primrose Schools, a nationally accredited, early learning and care franchise.

She also is a composer of music for young band, choir, and early childhood music classes.  Her works, A Joyful Noise(2004) and Appalachian Whisper (2006) are published in the Boosey & Hawkes Windependence Series.

A commissioned work, Nittany Valley Sunrise, was premiered by the combined CCMEA Band and Choir in February 2011. Her choral piece, Where All Belong, was written for and premiered by the Amherst Bel Canto Choir in 2011.  She also is co-composer of Swingin’ from the Start (2012) and Chasin' My Blues Away (2015), a series of pieces written to provide young instrumentalists opportunity to learn swing style jazz interpretation and develop confidence improvising in a concert band setting. These pieces are published by PDS4ME.com.

Her compositions “Pounce”, “Macedonia”, and “Stormy Seas” are included in Canti Melodici e Rhythmici Senza Parole(2019), a compilation of songs without words for early childhood. Her compositions “Funny Clown”, “Sneaky Pete”, and “Toddler Talk” and suggested early childhood music activities are included in Music Play II (2020). 

Dr. McDonel’s research interests include measurement of music achievement, achievement and impact of early childhood music learning on children’s overall development, and impact of professional development initiatives on Nepali music teacher’s perceptions of self-efficacy and student learning. Her service is focused on bringing quality music education to all children in Nepal through teacher professional development and advocacy efforts.

Dr. McDonel's CV