Dr. Kayleen Justus

by admin on July 29th, 2021

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Dr. Kayleen Justus is Director of Steel Bands at Leon High School, where she teaches the beginning, intermediate, advanced, stage side, and community pan ensembles. Prior to her appointment at Leon HS in 2021, Dr. Justus was Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and World Music at Kennesaw State University, where she taught courses in world music, music history, music appreciation, Caribbean/African/Latin American musical cultures, seminars in ethnomusicology, and advised undergraduate research projects.

Dr. Justus has served as the director of university and community steel bands since 2007 and she frequently performs and records as a pan player, percussionist, and performance clinician in the United States and the Caribbean. She has share the stage/studio with notable musicians, including the calypsonian Willard “Lord Relator” Harris, Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman, jazz pannist Andy Narell, Trinidadian arranger Ray Holman, drummer Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and bassist Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big. She has recorded several world music albums, including Sasa Nifanye Nini (2012) with members of the Tanzanian group “Mlimani Park Orchestra,” and two albums by the Miami University Steel Band – One More Soca (2003) and Burnin’ (2001). Kayleen is also an active member of “Pan Rocks!” and has been featured on two recent album and documentary projects with the group: Pan Rocks! Project L.A. (2017) and Pan Rocks! RUSH (2018).

Kayleen earned her Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University (2014), after completing two years of interdisciplinary field research with the Alzheimer’s Project in Tallahassee. Dr. Justus also completed an M.M. in Ethnomusicology at FSU (2008) after completing her thesis, “Memetics, Media, and Groove: Musical Experience in Two Florida Steelbands,” which features the Lion Steel program at Leon HS.

As a musicologist, her primary research interests include: the role of music in memory and personhood, Trinidadian steel band in the Caribbean and beyond, and American music history. Dr. Justus has presented her academic work at various international and regional conferences, including the National Society for Steel Band Educators (NSSBE), the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PAS), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and the Eastern Caribbean Islands Cultures Conference (Islands in Between). Her work has recently been published in Caribbean Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (2020), the SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (2019), the Society for American Musicology Bulletin (Spring 2018), Pan Magazine (2016), and The World of Music Journal (2014). She is an active member in several professional academic and teaching organizations, including SEM in which she serves as the Secretary for the Cognitive Ethnomusicology Special Interest Group, and NSSBE in which she serves on the Conference Planning Committee.

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