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College of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Mark Samples

Assistant Professor of Music

Musicologist Mark C. Samples received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Oregon, where his dissertation, "A Package Deal: Branding, Technology, and Advertising in Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries," earned him the University Outstanding Scholar in Music award in 2011. He currently researches the role of commercialism in music after 1800, from Jenny Lind to Joan Baez, Tom Waits and Sufjan Stevens. He has given research presentations at regional and national meetings of the American Musicological Society, and at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, Yale University, Boston University, and the International Musicological Colloquium in Brno, Czech Republic. He wrote several entries in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Ed., and is a supplemental author for The Oxford History of Western Music, College Edition, by Richard Taruskin and Christopher Gibbs. His book chapter, “Timbre and Legal Likeness: The Case of Tom Waits,” will be included in The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre and Popular Music (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Dr. Samples has taught courses in a wide range of academic music topics, from Western classical music to popular music, film music, jazz, and the music of the world. In each course, the goal of learning is to go beyond dates and facts to experience a deeper working knowledge of genres and histories, ultimately leading to a richer ability to make and listen to music. Dr. Samples also occasionally teaches courses on special topics, such as Romanticism, 20th-century music, and arts and entrepreneurship. While a professor at Millikin University, Dr. Samples was named a Coleman Foundation Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship (2014–2015), where he led a team of students who designed and launched a business that raised money to support the value of music in America.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Samples creates arts entrepreneurship tools and training for student and professional musicians. His workshop, “Branding for Musicians,” helps musicians to understand their core identities and tell their stories so that they can get back to what they love: making music. He has given his workshops in numerous venues, including the Southern Methodist University Meadows School for the Arts, the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, and the national meeting of the Music Teachers National Association. 

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