Music to Her Ears | Trinity University

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Music to Her Ears

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leanne Wood, who received her bachelor's degree in music performance from Trinity in 2003, is putting her liberal arts education to good use at another well-known university. 

by Donna Parker

Leanne will soon become a faculty member with the Princeton Writing Program. After teaching in the Princeton Writing Program as a graduate fellow last spring, Leanne will be returning there as a faculty member this fall.

"It's a topic-based writing seminar with 12 freshman students, whom I'm teaching to write college-level essays," says Leanne.

"Each paper will be designed around the topic titled, Main Street USA. The students will be asked to research musicals from the 40's and 50's and analyze how the 'American Ideal' has been depicted in American media. The course deals with representations-both good and bad-of small-town Main Streets in American culture. I challenge the students to analyze and write about many different kinds of texts, including novels, theoretical essays, images, and movie musicals."

As she prepares her syllabus for this fall, Leanne is also finishing her Ph.D. dissertation at Princeton in musicology, specializing in American musical theatre.

"I've been studying here for seven years as a graduate student and that's been all-encompassing for me. Teaching writing will give me the chance now to begin finding a full-time position in music history which is ultimately what I want to do. I'd like to find a full-time position teaching music history at a school like Trinity, where I might have a chance to continue working with student writers as well."

Leanne says her Trinity musicology professor, Carl Leafstedt, department of music, introduced her to that field and she, in turn, assisted him as a peer tutor.

"He was a fantastic mentor and directed me to do an honors thesis on Prokofiev that led me to Princeton. He directed my senior honors thesis on Prokofiev, which led me to Princeton. Not only was he a fantastic mentor while I was in college, he's continued to counsel and encourage me throughout grad school."

"Also, Carolyn True, department of music, taught me piano and was an amazing personality and talent. Attending lessons with her was like visiting a friend, although we managed to get quite a bit done!" laughs Leanne.

"Really, there was such a sense of community at Trinity. The professors were so caring about what you did and who you were, on a personal level."

Leanne also has stayed in touch with many friends. Her former roommate, Nikki Baltes Mochko '02, recently visited her and she's shared vacations with her core group of Trinity friends.

Even with her current workload, Leanne does find time to visit New York City on occasion, spending time with friends and going to Broadway shows and the city's museums.

"Trinity really promoted socialization and learning to deal with people in a friendly way. The school eased us into a great, nurturing environment and that's affected my ability even now to make new friends."

"Plus, getting this teaching post in the writing program has been a life changer. I really love working with the students and seeing them progress as writers and thinkers over the course of the semester. I'm just really happy about this job."

You may contact Leanne at c.leanne.wood [at]