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Lori Custodero

Professional Background

Educational Background

Bachelor of Music, University of Redlands

 M.A., California State University

 D.M.A., University of Southern California

Scholarly Interests

Music in the lives of young children and families.
Contextual influences on music learning.
Musical engagement and development.

Selected Publications


Custodero, L. A. Britto, P. R., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003).  Musical lives: A collective portrait of American families. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(5). 553-572.


Custodero, L. A., & Johnson Green, E. A. (2003). Passing the cultural torch: Musical experience and musical parenting of infants. Journal of Research in Music Education, 51(2), 102-114.


Custodero, L. A. (2003). Perceptions of challenge: A longitudinal investigation of children's music learning. Arts and Learning, 19, 23-53.


Custodero, L. A. (2002).  The musical lives of young children: Inviting, seeking, initiating. Journal of Zero-to-Three. 23(1), 4-9.


Custodero, L. A., Britto, P. R., & Xin, T. (2002).  From Mozart to Motown, lullabies to love songs: A preliminary report on the Parents Use of Music with Infants Survey. Journal of Zero-to-Three 23(1), 41-46.


Custodero, L. (2002). Seeking challenge, finding skill: Flow experience in music education. Arts Education and Policy Review, 103 (3), 3-9.


Custodero, L. & Williams, L. (2000). Music for everyone: Creating contexts for possibility in early childhood education. Early Childhood Connections, 6 (4) 36-43.


Custodero, L.  (1998).  Observing flow in young people's music learning.  General Music Today, 12 (1), 21-27.


Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Custodero, L. A. (2002). Forward. In T. Sullivan & L. Willingham, Eds.  Creativity and music education (pp xiv-xvi). Edmonton: Canadian Music Educators' Association.


biographical information

Dr. Lori Custodero, Associate Professor of Music and Music Education, has established an Early Childhood Music concentration at Teachers College that integrates pedagogy and research through both theory and practice. Her background includes degrees in piano performance and music theory: her doctorate in music education is from the University of Southern California.

Prof. Custodero's research has focused on children from infancy through preadolescence, and adults as musicians, teachers, and parents. She has presented and published on issues of musical challenge, engagement, and meaning in classrooms, playgrounds, and family settings; recent titles include "Singing Practices in Ten Families" and "Passing the Cultural Torch: Musical Experience and Musical Parenting of Infants" (Journal for Research in Music Education);  "Observational Indicators of Flow Experience: A Developmental Perspective of Musical Engagement in Young Children from Infancy to School Age" (Music Education Research); and "'Being With': The Resonant Legacy of Childhood's Creative Aesthetic" (Journal of Aesthetic Education).

A guest editor for a 2002 issue of the Journal of Zero to Three entitled "The Musical Lives of Babies and Families," Prof. Custodero has served in various professional leadership roles including Co-Chair of the Music Educators National Conference's Special Research Interest Group for Early Childhood. She recently finished a 6-year term as North American representative on the International Society for Music Education's Early Childhood Commission during which time she chaired seminars in Barcelona and Taipei. Interested in international issues of music education, she currently is involved in two projects, one involving flow experience and music teachers in Greece, and the other, a multi-national study on the spontaneous musical behaviors of young children. In addition to regular presentations at international conferences, Prof. Custodero has accepted invitations to speak in Australia, Greece, Crete, Portugal, England, Finland, and Taiwan.

In addition to the international work, Prof. Custodero has developed music programs with many local institutions in New York City, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, the Midori Foundation, and Columbia Head Start.

office hours

Fall 2013
Tuesday 4-5pm; 7-8pm
Wednesday 3:30-4:30 

office location

517-HM

honors and awards

New York State School Music Association Featured Researcher                        2005

Outstanding Teacher Award                                                                                        2004-2005

Teachers College Faculty Diversity Research Award                                            2002

Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Redlands, Phi Beta Kappa              2001

Outstanding Music Education Doctorate, University of Southern California      1998

Pi Kappa Lambda Award, University of Southern California                                 1996,1998

Magna Cum Laude, California State University, Northridge                                 1987

Magna Cum Laude, University of Redlands                                                            1980

Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society                                                                              1979



principal publications

active professional organizations

American Educational Research Association               

American Orff Schulwerk Association

College Music Society

European Society for Cognition in Music

International Association for Jazz Education

International Society for Music Education

National Association for Music Education (MENC)

National Association for the Education of Young Children

Society for Education, Music, and Psychology Research

Zero-to-Three

A&HM 4021: Designing musical experiences for young children

 Overview of appropriate interactive practices, environmental design, and curriculum planning for young children from birth through age 7. Includes observations of exemplary teaching as well as practicum experience.

A&HM 4022: The artistic lives of young children

For pre-service and in-service teachers of young children interested in integrative pedagogy focused on children's engagement with music, art, movement, and dramatic play. Creative expression is explored within cultural, expressive, developmental, and curricular contexts through personal reflection, observation, and instructional design.

A&HM 4901: Research and independent study in music education

For Music majors only. Research and independent study under the direction of a member of the Music Education Program faculty.

A&HM 5020: Foundations of music education

An examination of the historical, philosophical, psychological, and sociological bases of music education, emphasizing the implications for the development of curriculum, policy, and administrative leadership.

A&HM 5021: Instrumental experiences with children

Prerequisite: A&HM 5022. For private and group music teachers. Developmentally appropriate strategies and materials for instrumental instruction, integrating improvisation, composition, movement, singing, and ensemble playing. Special fee: $30.

A&HM 5022: Children's musical development

Overview of significant issues and current research regarding the development of musical skills and understandings in children through early adolescence. Includes observations of children's spontaneous music-making.

A&HM 5201: Fieldwork in music education

Faculty/Staff. For Music majors only. Professional activities in the field under the supervision of a member of the Music Education Program faculty.

A&HM 5901: Research and independent study in music education

For Music majors only. Research and independent study under the direction of a member of the Music Education Program faculty.

A&HM 6501: Doctoral seminar in music education

Permission required from advisor and sign-up in the Music Education Program (520A Horace Mann) is also required. For Music majors only. Music doctoral candidates will identify their area of research interest and narrow their dissertation topic.

A&HM 6971: Research and independent study in music education

Permission required from advisor, and sign-up in the Music Education Program (520A Horace Mann) is also required. Research and independent study under the direction of a faculty member in Music Education.

A&HM 7501: Dissertation seminar in music education

Permission required from advisor, and sign-up in the Music Education Program (520A Horace Mann) is also required. For Music majors only. A required group tutorial for music doctoral students to help develop or refine topics of inquiry for research. The teaching format is flexible and may include faculty/student presentations, group discussions, and critiques. Preparation and presentation of dissertation proposal for approval. Students may register for a maximum of one term.

A&HM 8900: Dissertation advisement in music education

Permission required from advisor, and sign-up in the Music Education Program (520A Horace Mann) is also required. Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations for music majors only. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D. degree.

Lori Custodero appeared in the following articles:

TC Launches $300 Million Fundraising Campaign for the Future (1/30/2014)

Looking Beyond The Frame (6/26/2013)

WeBop! (4/22/2013)

She Bops! (8/20/2012)

TC's Lori Custodero argues that children make their own music for reasons that meet development needs for expression, belonging, comfort and complexity (4/26/2012)

Everybody's Talking About Creativity - But Why Do We Need It in the Classroom? (6/1/2011)

Going Back to Creativity's Source (6/1/2011)

Academic Festival III: The Sessions (5/4/2011)

Employee News (2/11/2011)

Staffing News (12/17/2010)

2010-11: The Year of Research at TC (11/17/2010)

The State of the College: It's the Year of Research at TC (10/26/2010)

Five by the Faculty (1/11/2010)

Five by the Faculty (12/23/2009)

Fun and Games, with Music: New York Philharmonic Resumes "Very Young People's Concerts" (4/24/2009)

Pumpkin Jam (11/7/2008)

Elmo Learns the Drums, With Help from Teachers College (8/8/2008)

What is the Role of the Arts in 21st Century Schools? (5/8/2007)

Work on Diversity Action Plan Continues (3/30/2004)

Work on Diversity Action Plan Continues (2/24/2004)

Work on Diversity Action Plan Continues (2/24/2004)

Continuing to Repair the World (8/28/2002)

Doctoral Student in Learning Disabilities Reaches Out to the Middle East (1/1/2002)

Scholarships at Teachers College: (1/1/2002)

The Ben and Grace Wood Legacy (1/1/2002)

Music, Spiders and Giggles at the Pumpkin Playground (11/1/2001)

Communicating with Infants and Toddlers through Music (9/1/2001)

Winter Roundtable: Gender and Social Class Issues (3/1/2001)

Watch Spiders Fly at the Pumpkin Playground (11/1/2000)

"Flow" and Music Learning in Children (6/1/1999)

Teachers College Welcomes Sixteen New Faculty (8/1/1998)