Meet Dr. Herbert (Butch) Marshall, Associate Professor for the Online Master of Music in Music Education at Kent State University

Blog Header Image - Dr. Herbert Butch Marshall

Meet Butch!

Herbert Marshall

Dr. Herbert (Butch) Marshall is an Assistant Professor for the Online Master of Music in Music Education.

Read on for a short interview with Dr. Marshall.

Tell us about yourself and your work/time at Kent State University.

First, my formal and publishing name is Herbert, but everyone knows me as Butch. That’s confusing to new students and colleagues, but it’s what happens when a nickname sticks to you. I came to Kent State University in 2019 but am a veteran of 11 years of P-12 teaching in upstate New York and 20 years in higher education. I was drawn to Kent State because I’ve been collaborating with my colleagues here for years and have met many outstanding educators who are alumni of this program. I was excited to witness the magic in action and see if I could make a contribution to Kent’s storied reputation.

Herbert Marshall in Ghana

What drew you to music?

I grew up with some great musical models and arts advocates. Although I attended a small, rural school and worked on a farm throughout my youth, I had excellent musical opportunities. I like smart people and artists and humanists - particularly those who find fulfillment in the service of others, like teachers, nurses, therapists, social workers, and so forth. Thus, I have always been around music and arts people and have really had almost no employment other than arts and education (after the agriculture stint).

What do you look forward to most in your new role?

I get to read the goal statements submitted as part of the application process. Of course, no one is getting rich and luxurious in music education, so these statements are nearly always about serving young people and becoming a better music educator. Helping colleagues achieve goals like that is a great honor.

Why should students choose to study music at Kent State University?

Kent State has the faculty and resources of a large, Research I institution but with the integrity and support of a harmonious professional learning community. This infrastructure allows candidates to achieve their academic goals while also building a network of like-minded colleagues from around the country. As a P-12 educator, I benefited greatly from these assets.

What is a favorite memory of your time at Kent State University?

Clearly, I’m a people person. So the best parts of my job are all the connections I get to make with talented, passionate educators at all stages of that process: undergraduate, MMME, and doctoral students. Further, Kent is a vibrant and diverse learning community, which feeds my need for lifelong learning. A favorite memory so far has been performing with Dr. Tiffe and the African Music Ensemble.

Favorite coffee break topics:

  • I wrote a book about how to be a music director for musical theatre; I love to talk about musicals and producing them in high school and community theatre.
  • I teach classes for toddlers and their caregivers and like to share about music and movement development in young people.
  • I’m on the board of directors for the Gordon Institute for Music Learning and like answering questions about the MLT approach to learning music.
  • I’ve had extended stays learning about music in South Africa and Ghana (the second picture in this blog is from Ghana), and love learning more about multicultural music.
  • I like gardening and canning and am always up for swapping canning tips and recipes.

What podcast are you currently listening to, or what book are you currently reading?

I alternate between podcasts that present interesting topics in accessible ways, like:
Hidden Brain
Early Childhood Research
Queer as Fact

And story-telling podcasts. I am a sucker for authentic stories and diverse voices:
The Moth
Fairy tales of India
This American Life
Two Black Nerds
Hold Up (Dulce Sloan and Josh Johnson from The Daily Show)

Learn more about Dr. Marshall.

Dr. Marshall joined the Kent State University Music Education faculty in 2019 as a specialist in early childhood and general music teacher education. He holds degrees from Michigan State University, Syracuse University, and Temple University and taught for 11 years in upstate New York. He has completed teacher education courses in Orff-Schulwerk, Music Learning Theory, Weikart, and Laban. He is the author of Strategies for Success in Musical Theatre and serves on Music Educators Journal’s advisory board. Other publications include book chapters in texts from Oxford, GIA, and Rowman & Littlefield, as well as journal articles. He has led workshops and presentations throughout the United States, as well as in Malaysia, South Africa, Lithuania, Spain, and Scotland. Dr. Marshall is an active clinician, consultant, and conductor and teaches workshops for the Gordon Institute for Music Learning.

Enroll today in the Online Master of Music in Music Education Program at Kent State University

The Online Master of Music degree in Music Education program is designed to offer music teachers the opportunity to develop and refine their professional skills. The degree program allows for enhancement and specialization relative to music teaching and learning in contemporary school contexts.

Kent State University is synonymous with music education. Some of the leading voices in the field have earned a degree here. Our 100% online program can be completed in as few as 23 months. Our curriculum is created for the music teaching professional. Classes are seven weeks, and you can enroll in two classes per semester, including summer. This format allows you to focus on one area of study and then begin another music education course after a brief recess. We are dedicated to helping you design a program that provides exciting new perspectives in your teaching right from the beginning.

For more information on Kent State’s Online Master of Music in Music Education, visit

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