Josef Hanson

Associate Professor of Music Education, Instrumental

(901) 678-4402
MU 123B
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Joseph Hanson


  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Eastman School of Music/University of Rochester, 2015 
  • M.A., Master of Arts, Eastman School of Music/University of Rochester, 2004
  • B.S., Bachelor of Science, Towson University, 2000


Dr. Josef Hanson is Associate Professor of Music Education (Instrumental), Assistant Director for Graduate Studies, and Music Education Area Coordinator in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. As a teacher, mentor, and scholar, he seeks unique ways to illuminate intersections between his two disciplinary passions, music education and arts entrepreneurship. In demand as an author, presenter, and clinician, Dr. Hanson is a frequent contributor to an array of high-quality research journals and appears at a wide range of conferences, festivals, and symposia, both nationally and internationally. He teaches courses in instrumental music, research methods, and preparing new music faculty, and he leads the School of Music’s unique yearlong Freshman Seminar experience. He also oversees the School’s undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in music education, and as Assistant Director for Graduate Studies, supervises all academic and curricular aspects of the School’s graduate programs. Before coming to Memphis, Dr. Hanson taught music in Maryland public schools and spent 17 years at the University of Rochester and the University of Massachusetts Boston in various faculty, administrative, and advisory roles. 

Dr. Hanson is a prolific researcher with a passion for helping students envision and carry out their own scholarly projects. He serves as Managing Editor of the Journal for Arts Entrepreneurship Education and Forum Editor of College Music Symposium. Additionally, he serves on the editorial boards of leading music periodicals, including Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, and Contributions to Music Education. From 2016-2021, Dr. Hanson served as President of the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education (SAEE), the premier professional organization dedicated to advancing artistic enterprise and innovation. He received the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music’s Faculty Exceptional Teaching Award in 2021; more recently, he was one of just 18 scholars nationally to receive a prestigious Research Grant in the Arts award from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2022, he was elected Board Member for Music Education within the College Music Society’s Southern Chapter, representing music education constituents in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. 

Dr. Hanson earned his Ph.D. in Music Education at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (UR). While there, he led graduate seminars, supervised student teachers, and received numerous graduate awards as well as the Donald J. Shetler Prize for Excellence in Music Education, Eastman’s highest honor for music educators. Concurrent with his doctoral studies, he developed his teaching skills in the College Music Department on the UR River Campus as well as in a variety of community contexts. Dr. Hanson founded the UR Brass Choir in 2008 and led the group on numerous national and international tours, including to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was named a Faculty Associate within UR’s Institute for Popular Music and developed some of the first American collegiate courses dedicated to the scholarly exploration of heavy metal music and the concept album as an art form. Dr. Hanson became well-known within Rochester’s elder community for the interactive lectures and musical programs he presented to hundreds of seniors each month, including sold-out engagements at the Highlands at Pittsford, Ferris Hills at West Lake, Chatterbox Club, Finger Lakes Forum, and Jewish Community Center of Rochester. For seven years, he also taught music to middle and high school students as part of the Rochester Scholars pre-college summer program. He is a former faculty member of the David Hochstein Memorial School of Music and Dance and former executive director and conductor of the Frederick Symphonic Band, a regional honor band in suburban Maryland. While in Boston, Dr. Hanson founded the UMass Boston Music Collaboratory, a non-traditional, shape-shifting ensemble that enabled students to simulate real-world musical problem-solving by writing, arranging, rehearsing, and performing their own music with complete autonomy.

Dr. Hanson’s scholarly interests include music teacher motivation, non-traditional music pedagogy, arts entrepreneurship, music education history, diversity and equity in higher music education, and quantitative and psychometric research methods. He pursues an ambitious agenda of publications, presentations, and practitioner-oriented workshops. His writing has been featured in leading music periodicals, including Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Research Studies in Music Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Music Educators Journal, Visions of Research in Music Education, Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, Contributions to Music Education, College Music Symposium, Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, Journal of Band Research, Music Perception, and Music & Politics. He has presented at numerous conferences, including the International Society for Music Education World Conference, NAMM Show, United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference, Desert Skies Symposium, Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium, Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium, Oklahoma City and Oxford Symposia on the History of Music Education, NAfME’s Eastern Division and Music Research and Teacher Education Conferences, College Music Society regional conferences, and an array of state and regional music education association events. His additional service contributions at the University of Memphis include chairing and serving on various committees within the Scheidt School of Music and across the University, mentoring students and faculty, supervising dissertations and theses, and assisting with recruitment. Dr. Hanson is a member of the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education, College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, Society for Research in Music Education, Society for Music Teacher Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, and International Society for Music Education.