Karen S. Thomas is currently a Ph.D. student in Music Education at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she also serves as a graduate assistant. Prior to pursing a doctoral degree, she taught middle school general music in Randolph County for one year, elementary general music in Guilford County for two years, and elementary general music in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools at Kernersville Elementary for the last ten years. In 2008, she received National Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Music. She earned a M.M. in Music Education in 2005 and a B.A. in Music in 1997, both from UNCG. Karen was Chairperson/Lead Elementary Music Teacher for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools from 2010 – 2013 and was selected as Kernersville Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2012. She was a clarinet instructor at the Music Academy of North Carolina from 2001 – 2010 and was Director of Music Camps from 2003 – 2009.
Karen is a recent winner of the UNCG Graduate Research & Creativity Expo, where she presented research titled “Musicians Earplugs: Does Their Use Affect Performance or Listeners’ Perceptions.” Her article titled “Music Preferences and the Adolescent Brain: A Review of Literature” was recently published in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. She has presented at the NC Music Educators Association Conference in 2009 and 2014. Karen will be a presenter, along with Dr. Constance McKoy (UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance) and Jackie Secoy (UNCG Ph.D. student), at the Mountain Lake Colloquium for teachers of general music methods in May 2015. Karen’s research areas of interest are auditory discrimination, aural-based instruction, and music perception.