Director of Music Education & Department Chair
Thomas Priest, Ed.D., serves as Director of Music Education at Weber State University where he teaches courses on music, education, and bassoon and supervises individuals completing student teaching internships. His work as a researcher, teacher, performer, and composer continues to inform his professional practice. Dr. Priest has actively pursued a research agenda that examines how individuals may function creatively as performers, listeners, improvisers and composers leading to refereed articles in Contributions to Music Education, The Journal of Research in Music Education, The Music Educators Journal, Psychology of Music, and The Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. He is formerly the Chair of the Special Research Interest Group on Creativity for the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and he formerly served as the Vice President of Higher Education on the Utah Music Educator's Executive Board.
Besides his peer-reviewed publications, Thom has written for The Kodály Envoy, The Double Reed, and The Utah Music Educators Journal. He also contributed “Thinking Processes in a Different Kind of Classroom” to Dimensions of Musical Learning and Teaching (MENC, 2002). TrevCo Music publishes his compositions for marimba and bassoon. As an avid bassoonist, Thom previously served as Principal Bassoonist with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Co-principal with the Santiago Philharmonic. He regularly performs with Weber State Faculty as well as with other musicians and dancers in Utah. His collaborations with Erik Stern and Aaron Chavez produced the music for Demolition Derby: when a mind loses its license to drive, an evening length dance-theatre work that explores the promise and pitfalls of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. In 2007 this project received the Exemplary Collaboration Award from Weber State University. Most recently he presented an artist recital at the International Double Reed Society’s 2010 Professional Conference in Oklahoma City.
Before joining the faculty at Weber State he served on the faculties of The Ohio State University and Millikin University. Obtaining a grant from the Whirlpool Corporation, he coordinated and performed in a series of interactive educational programs with Winds of the Heart in the Ohio public schools (2000-2001). Formerly a resident of Colorado, he taught in the public schools as a music specialist in the Boulder Valley School District and the Gunnison Watershed School District. Before returning to the United States in 1988, he served as a music specialist at the Anglican International School of Jerusalem.
He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Indiana University-Bloomington, a Masters of Music degree in Bassoon from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in music from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. Additionally he studied Orff-Schulwerk at the University of Northern Colorado. While completing his doctorate, he taught music at the University Laboratory School (Holy Cross School) coordinating field experiences for pre-service music teachers working with children.