UNI School of Music

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Michelle Swanson

Michelle Swanson
Assistant Professor of Music Education

Michelle Swanson is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Northern Iowa. Dr. Swanson teaches Elementary General Music Methods, Soundscapes, and supervises student teachers in elementary general music. Dr. Swanson is also an academic advisor in music education and co-chairs the Advising Council for the university. She is the faculty advisor for Sigma Alpha Iota, and the SALT Co., and enjoys supporting her students endeavors on campus. Swanson has taught at UNI for 20 years.

Dr. Swanson also conducts the UNI Children's Choir.  This ensemble is a part of the Community Music School at UNI and is comprised of 90 elementary and        middle school students from throughout the Cedar Valley. The auditioned singers pay tuition and the group is self-supporting.  UNI Music Education students work with the group to observe and practice many teaching methods and skills. The UNICC performs annual concerts at the end of each spring and fall semester.

The UNICC has performed at the Midwest Singing Festival, the Celebrate Singing Festival, at several UNI Varsity Mens Glee Club Christmas Variety Shows, with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, and the UNI Chamber Orchestra, at the Gold Star Teacher ceremony, at the Tsunami Benefit for the Red Cross, at the College Hill Arts Festival, and for the African American Museum of Waterloo. They have also sung for the Iowa Choral Directors fall elementary choral workshop and the Iowa Music Educators Association annual conference in Ames, Iowa. 

Swanson enjoys working with music teachers throughout Iowa.  She travels to school districts for in-services and consultations regularly. Dr. Swanson also hosts Orff workshops at UNI four times during each school year. 

Swanson received her B.M.E., M.M., and Ed.D degrees from U.N.I. While an undergraduate student at UNI, Swanson studied piano with Howard Aibel. She participated in Wind Symphony, Orchestra, Concert Chorale, Clarinet Choir, and Percussion Ensemble. Swanson was the accompanist for the Varsity Mens Glee Club from 1989 to 1992, and often accompanied other ensembles and soloists.

Dr. Swanson studied Orff Schulwerk at the University of St. Thomas under Jane Frazee and Steve Calentropio. Beyond the three levels of certification, Mrs. Swanson completed advanced Orff curriculum, technique, and teaching courses. 

Dr. Swanson taught elementary general music for 20 years. She has directed numerous elementary, middle school, high school and adult choirs. She was awarded a Gold Star Teaching Award in 1996.  Mrs. Swanson founded and conducted the Sturgis Falls Children's Choir from 1993 to 2005. She has conducted many elementary, middle level and high school honor choirs throughout Iowa. Swanson is also an accomplished accompanist. She plays the piano and sings at Candeo Church regularly. Her husband, Chad, is an attorney in Waterloo, and they have two children, Elizabeth (19), and Matthew (15). The entire Swanson family performs music together at events throughout the Cedar Valley.

Contact Information
(319) 273-2600
Office Location: 
42 Gallagher Bluedorn
B.M.E. and M.M., University of Northern Iowa