Position: Assistant Professor, Music Theory; Embedded Music Theory Tutor Coordinator
Pronouns: She / Her / Hers
Location: Ruebush Hall
Employed Since: 2017
Conservatory Professional Highlights:
Dr. Rachel Short is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA, where she coordinates the Music Theory Tutor Program. Her research specialties are choreomusical analysis, rhythm and meter, American musical theatre, and theory pedagogy.
An active scholar, Dr. Short has presented papers and chaired sessions at various conferences including the national meetings of the Society for Music Theory Conference, Music Theory Midwest—where her work received honorable mention for the Arthur J. Komar Award, and Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic. She represented her academic field with a public- facing presentation that was highlighted in the article “Music Theory, Professional Conferences, and Community Engagement” (which she co-authored). Her interdisciplinary dissertation is an integrated reading of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’s ballet Fancy Free that investigates the relationship between complementary aspects of the musical score and the original choreography. She is finalizing a video article “Interactions between Music and Dance in Two Musical Theatre Tap Breaks” for publication in the peer-reviewed SMT-V, and she wrote a chapter “The Changing Rhythms of Bridges and Ends” for the forthcoming edited collection Putting it Together: An Examination of the Musical Structures Behind Musical Theater. She is also co-authoring a chapter “‘This Thing Might Turn Into Something’: The Choreomusical Layers of Hellzapoppin” for the edited collection New Perspectives in Music and Dance. She currently serves her national society as co-chair of SMT’s Dance and Movement Interest Group.
Committed to teaching and mentoring, Dr. Short completed the Certificate in College and University Teaching at UCSB and earned a Certificate from the Summer Teaching Institute for Associates (STIA). She provided mentorship and support for graduate student teachers as Peer Facilitator in Arts & Humanities for STIA, and oversaw and mentored teaching assistants at Arizona State University. At Shenandoah University, she was an inaugural Transformative Teaching & Learning Fellow (2020-2021) and led a SU faculty roundtable “Embracing a Space to Fail.” She has been recognized for her use of technology to further engaged teaching and learning: she was SU’s nominee for the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges’ Excellence in Instructional Technology Award and she was noted in Jennifer Snodgrass’s Teaching Music Theory: New Voices and Approaches. Viewing learning as a journey that requires both grace and rigor, her teaching goals center on developing students’ analytical abilities to appreciate and describe the music they perform and enjoy.
B.A., Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego; M.A., Queens College, CUNY, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr. Short has been active as a musical director and performer: in theatrical productions, as a solo singer, and as a member of various choirs. She has performed onstage at regional theatres and in national tours, including a tour of Camelot starring Robert Goulet. Favorite performance arenas include Winchester Little Theatre, Lamb’s Players Theatre, the Lawrence Welk Resort Theatre, Starlight Musical Theatre, Sea World, and the Empire State Building as a singer, dancer, pianist, and actress. Her current favorite musical activity is singing with her family in their living room.