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Dr. Stephen Benham

Associate Professor of Music Education, Director of Graduate Studies
Mary Pappert School of Music
Music Education

School of Music 303
Phone: 412.396.1887


Ph.D., Music Education, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 2004
M.M., Music Education, University of Michigan, 1992
B.S., Music Education, University of Minnesota, 1988

Stephen Benham is currently Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of Graduate Studies at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Minnesota, and conducted his graduate studies at the University of Michigan (M.M.), and the University of Rochester-Eastman School of Music (Ph.D.). He is a cellist, and studied with Tanya Remenikova, Richard Kapucsinski, and Jerome Jelinek.

At Duquesne, Dr. Benham teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and string pedagogy, supervises student teachers, and created the string component of all music education courses. From 1997-2001, Dr. Benham was the Doctoral Fellow School-Community String Education at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York), where he worked with Dr. Louis Bergonzi to establish a new strings program at Enrico Fermi School No. 17 in the Rochester City School District.

Prior to this, Dr. Benham held teaching and conducting positions in both public and private schools in Salem, Oregon, and in Ann Arbor and Grand Haven, Michigan. He also served as the Music Director for the Salem Youth Symphony Association in Salem, Oregon and the Holland Area Youth Symphony in Holland, Michigan. Dr. Benham maintains a very active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, with professional appearances in nearly 30 states and throughout Europe. His schedule for 2012-2013 includes guest conducting and/or teaching engagements in Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, the Republic of Georgia, Rhode Island, California, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Dr. Benham is a frequent presenter at national and state conventions, including the American String Teachers Association and NAfME: The National Association for Music Education. His areas of specialty include string pedagogy, methods, curriculum, assessment, and teacher training. His research interests center on sociological and cultural issues in music education, including studies on increasing music access in underserved populations, the role of music education in ethnic minority communities, culturally relevant pedagogy, and music education and identity construction. His work has been featured in numerous international research seminars and conferences such as the Society for Ethnomusicology. Dr. Benham is the lead author of the ASTA String Curriculum: Standards, Goals, Learning Sequences for Essential Skills and Knowledge in K-12 String Programs. He has also authored several articles and chapters for scholarly journals or books.

Dr. Benham is also an active consultant in the development of new music programs in communities without current string programs. He is the director of ASTA's Increasing Access to Strings program, which focuses on implementing string programs in underserved communities in the US. Dr. Benham also provides ongoing guidance to new music education projects in Eastern, Northern, and Central Europe. Under his direction, more than 20 new community music schools have been founded in Ukraine since 1999.

In addition to his work as an educator and conductor, Dr. Benham has held numerous leadership positions, including president of the Oregon Orchestra Directors Association. He is Past-President of the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association, and President-Elect of the American String Teachers Association.