RESEARCH & ISSUES IN MUSIC EDUCATION
This third issue of RIME is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Dorothy McDonald who was a professor of music education at the University of Iowa from 1970 when she was hired to teach music at the University of Iowa Laboratory School until 1994 when she was chairing Iowa's music education department. Dorothy died on September 4, 2005 after having been recently diagnosed with cancer. I have fond memories of her as my initial doctoral advisor before her stroke in 1994, and recollect that along with being a fine teacher, writer, researcher, scholar and musician, she was a wonderful human being.
As a graduate teaching assistant at Iowa in the early 1990s, I encouraged my undergraduate students to emulate Dr. McDonald. I reminded them and myself that many people had become fabulous musicians, teachers and researchers, but not all of them were good to other people. Dorothy was a unique combination of someone who undergraduate and graduate students (and fellow professors) saw as a mother and grandmother figure because of her encouraging style of mentoring, teaching and friendship. However, we all were reminded regularly of her expertise and command of the discipline when she rattled off citations and methodology on any given area of music education research.
In her early career Dorothy had taught public school music as well as English, and was one of those music education professors that many of us have tried to imitate by retaining our musicianship and performing skills along with those in research and writing. As a reminder that music educators are indeed musicians, she typically incorporated some kind of collective music making in even the most verbally based graduate courses. I brought a piece of piano music into her one time to show her some aspect of it. She brought it to the piano and sat down and flew through the score. I commented on her sightreading skills, and she stated simply “Bruce, by this point I can sightread anything.” She wasn't bragging; she simply knew who she was, and what hard work would do.
When I was building RIME, Dorothy cheered from the sidelines in her characteristic fashion. By this point her activity was limited but her spirit hadn't changed. To commemorate this support, and concluding this dedication, I'll quote here the final statement from the acknowledgements page of my dissertation: “Finally, my sincere thanks and respect are extended to Professor Dorothy McDonald. Her unwavering encouragement to those who follow winding paths will forever be remembered.” Thank you Dr. McDonald.