Tawnya D. Smith


Assistant Professor of Music, Music Education


BM: Bowling Green State University, MM: Illinois State University, CAGS: Lesley University, PhD: University of Illinois


855 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 215


Tawnya Smith began serving at Boston University in 2014 as a dissertation advisor, online course facilitator, and full-time lecturer and won an Assistant Professor position in 2017. Previously, she served as an instructor in music education at Ball State University. She has taught music education research and curriculum courses as well as arts integration, creating health classrooms, and arts and the environment—an interdisciplinary arts course that explores ecojustice topics. Dr. Tawnya has served in state, national, and international music education leadership positions, including the Wellbeing Committee of the American String Teachers Association, the Steering Committee of the Music, Spirituality, and Wellbeing Network, and on the review boards of the Music Educators Journal, the Journal of Arts and Applied Health, and Liora Bresler’s book series Landscapes: The Arts, Aesthetics, and Education. She currently serves as both the Editor and Music Section Editor for the International Journal of Education & the Arts.

Dr. Tawnya’s research interests are diverse, but focus in some way upon the prevention or elimination of impediments to learning be those at the personal, cultural, material, or structural level.  She draws upon her backgrounds in both music education and the expressive arts to consider ecojustice issues, student and teacher trauma and mental health, as well as to inform holistic student and community-driven educational approaches.

Tawnya has published articles in the International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Frontiers in Education, String Research Journal, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Journal of Popular Music Education, Music Educators Journal, and Gender and Education and has also published numerous practice-based articles in state music education journals. She has contributed book chapters to Haunted Melodies: Trauma and Music Education; Art as Research: Key Issues in Arts Education; Queering Freedom: Music, Identity, and Spirituality; and Music, Wellbeing, and Spirituality. She is co-author of the book Performance Anxiety Strategies and co-editor of Narratives and Reflections in Music Education: Listening to Voices Seldom Heard. She has also presented numerous research papers and practitioner workshops at state, national, and international conferences.

Prior to teaching at the university level, she taught band, chorus, and general music in the public schools and later directed a community music learning program in Illinois, where she also maintained a private studio as a horn and brass instrument specialist.