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Robin Attas

A member of Dan School of Drama & Music

Robin Attas

Member Type(s): Faculty


Dr. Robin Attas is a music theorist and educational developer with research interests in popular music studies, decolonization, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has held faculty positions at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick), Elon University (North Carolina), and at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Attas received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from the University of British Columbia, and her B.Mus. degree from Queen’s University (‘03).

As a teacher, Dr. Attas is interested in expanding the standard music theory curriculum beyond its traditional repertoire boundaries to include the analysis of genres from around the world, and beyond its compositional boundaries to include composers of diverse genders, races, and ethnicities. She is passionate about making her classroom a place where students are engaged and active learners, and where all students find points of connection between the content and skills of music theory and their own educational interests and goals. Her pedagogical research dives deeper into these issues, considering topics such as ways to include more and better prose writing assignments in the music theory classroom, developing teaching methodologies related to expert processes of music analysis, and exploring strategies for decolonizing curriculum and instructional practices. Her pedagogical research has been published and presented in venues including the Journal of Music Theory PedagogyCollege Music Symposium, the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and the Canadian University Music Society.

Her music-theoretical research beyond pedagogy focuses on the repertoire of popular music, with analytical methods including rhythm and meter, form, text-music connections, groove, cross-cultural comparative strategies, and connections between analysis and social justice. Her work has been published in the Society for Music Theory’s flagship journals Music Theory Online and Music Theory Spectrum, and she has presented her research at conferences by organizations including the Society for Music Theory, the American Musicological Society, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and Analytical Approaches to World Music.

Dr. Attas is currently employed as an educational developer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Queen’s. In this position, she supports faculty, staff, and students around topics including writing pedagogy, new faculty and graduate student teaching development, and decolonization as a Settler (non-Indigenous) person. Given her disciplinary background, she is particularly interested in supporting faculty, staff, and students in the arts and humanities, but also in building bridges across disciplines to foster a campus-wide community of teaching and learning. When she’s not on campus, Dr. Attas enjoys playing guitar and piano, hiking and cycling, and hanging out with her family.