School of Music Professor, Dr. Peter Lea, Wins Teaching Award

Lea Award
Susan Worstell

MU School of Music’s Dr. Peter Lea has been selected to receive the Undergraduate Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology for 2018. Students and colleagues alike provided letters of recommendation supporting Dr. Lea’s nomination.  Dr. Minturn, Theory Area Coordinator for the School of Music comments, “Dr. Lea’s use of technology is considered and highly effective.  Whether the technology is an old-fashioned whiteboard or Realtimeboard software, Dr. Lea uses technology to achieve a human, student-centered goal such as mitigating test anxiety, providing instant feedback, or facilitating collaboration and enhancing community.” Students have found the use of technology helpful in combatting common anxiety over Theory courses.  Kassandra Ormsby, Masters student in Bassoon Performance comments, "When I took my first class with Dr. Lea to satisfy my degree requirements, I was surprised that the modernized method of teaching through technology he employed made the concepts easy to understand and solve problems quickly.  I had found control in this area finally [that once caused anxiety], and took several more of Dr. Lea’s classes.  In each class I took, Dr. Lea was continuing to seek out and use new forms of digital technology to facilitate the learning process and education.  I now have a wide range of tools to use as I continue my studies into higher education."

Each year Mizzou presents deserving individuals with the Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award which was created to recognize the outstanding and innovative efforts of faculty, staff, teaching assistants and graduate instructors involved in using educational technologies to meaningfully improve teaching and learning at Mizzou. The selected winner in each of the four categories (Undergraduate Teaching, Graduate or Professional Teaching, GI/TA, Staff Support) receives a $750 award to be applied toward educational technology teaching-related expenses (equipment, a conference, software, etc.).  Nominees are nominated by email in January and have February and March to submit examples of their work to the portfolio.  The selection then reviews the materials and contacts the winners in April.  Recipients will be formally recognized at a luncheon in May.

Dr. Lea has been teaching theory courses in the MU School of Music since Fall 2016.  When asked about his use of technology, Dr. Lea comments, “I utilize many different types of technologies to encourage effective communication and creativity inside and outside of the classroom…My use of technology often resides somewhere in the middle of [the] traditional–digital continuum. For example, I might play something on a piano and ask students a question related to it using a student response system. My choice of technology is based primarily upon pedagogical merit; however, I also consider its ease of implementation, how intuitive it is for students, and the financial cost to students. My use of different types of technologies within a single course is reflective of the multiple ways one can engage with music and introduces students to new ways of communicating their experiences with music.”

Dr. Lea is considering purchasing a new tablet with his award money as the current version he uses is no longer supported nor receives operating system updates.  He is also considering purchasing a microphone to record student singing exams and/or purchasing professional memberships/journal subscriptions.

Dr. Lea is currently preparing diligently for his summer course, Analysis of Musical Styles: Video Game Music. He states, “Students will be required to play video games inside and outside of class, search community forums dedicated to the game for additional insight, find audio files included in the application’s installation folder, in order to discover a variety of methods to analyze music in a media-rich environment.”  Details of the course may be found in myZou under Music Theory 4250 (undergraduate) / 7250 (graduate). Students may contact Susan Worstell at for a permission number to enroll.