Dr. Robert Franzblau has lived and worked at the intersection of musical performance and music education for forty years. He currently serves as coordinator of undergraduate and graduate programs in music education at Rhode Island College, a mid-sized progressive urban college and the oldest public institution of higher education in the state. In addition to teaching courses in music education methods, music theory, and ear training, his duties include field placement and supervision of pre-service teachers. Previously, he served for twenty-one years as director of bands at Rhode Island College, conducting the wind ensemble and chamber winds. Under his direction, the Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble performed to enthusiastic reviews at regional conventions of the College Band Directors National Association and the National Association for Music Education. This fall he begins his tenth year as conductor and artistic director of the Rhode Island Wind Ensemble, an adult community band based in Providence.
Franzblau earned the Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of Iowa; studied with John P. Paynter and Bennett Reimer at Northwestern University, earning a Master of Music with a double major in conducting and music education; and received his Ph.D. in music education from the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln. Continuing education includes Level I instrumental certification in Music Learning Theory from the Gordon Institute for Music Learning.
His 2013 book, So You Want to Be a Music Major: A Guide for High School Students, Their Parents, Guidance Counselors, and Music Teachers, published by Meredith Music Publications, has received rave reviews in The Instrumentalist and the Journal of the National Band Association. He has presented clinics based on the book at numerous conferences including the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and state music education associations in Texas, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Massachusetts, among others. Other publications include “Why Music Isn’t Basic” in the WASBE Journal, “A Conducting Analysis of Eric Whitacre’s October” in The Instrumentalist, “Serve it Fresh!” in The Music Director’s Cookbook, and an analysis of Steven Bryant’s Anthem in Volume 9 of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. He serves as editor of the Rhode Island Music Educators’ Review.
He continues to produce and moderate a series of professional development conferences at Rhode Island College in both music education and conducting, with guests including Gunther Schuller, David Elliott, Marissa Silverman, Richard Colwell, Larry Rachleff, Frank Battisti, Weston Noble, H. Robert Reynolds, and Mallory Thompson.
Previous college teaching experience includes positions at Doane College in Nebraska and the University of Louisville; public school teaching experience includes five years at Oconomowoc (WI) High School, where under his direction the OHS Symphonic Band received top honors at state, regional, and national competitions. He serves as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for bands throughout the country.