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Jennifer Borkowski

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I hold a Dr. Phil. in Instrumental and Vocal Pedagogy and am a member of the Austrian Society for Music and Medicine. (OEGfMM)

Below are some abstracts of various research projects and pedagogical evaluations.

I also work with organizations on making their programs more inclusive. I bring over 25 years teaching experience in private and school settings, including children and adults with a wide array of special needs. 

Consultant for program development, Voices Boston.


This program design moved the choir from a selective, by-audition-only group to an inclusive one that favors a pure desire to sing. By greatly varying the rehearsals, this pedagogical model was able to dispel myths that talent defines the future and that music is only for those who can handle the pressure. Enrollment increased by 51,6%, boys increased from one in seven to one in three, both older and younger children joined as well as children with special needs. Most notable was that this inclusive choir increased their collaborations with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and at the Tanglewood Institute. 

Pedagogical Advisor, Teacher Education and Pedagogical Evaluation for Superar.


Teaching practice was evaluated with regard to democratic teaching techniques and classroom management. The result is a clearer representation of the mission statement during classes and better communication with school leadership. 


Superar, an initiative of the Vienna Boys Choir, The Vienna Konzerthaus and Caritas, offers high quality music instruction, free of charge, to students who have no other access to the arts. Superar works in Vienna in cooperation with the Stadtschulrat Wien, Vereinigte Bühne Wien, Wiener Staatsoper and the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität. Superar has locations in Sarajevo, Bosnia; Brasov, Romania; Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary; Liechtenstein and in Zurich, Switzerland. 

Modernizing Practice Paradigms for New Music: Periodization Theory and Peak Performance Exemplified Through Extended Techniques

The author examines how new music scores with extended playing techniques call for new practice structures. YouTube access to basic instructional videos and the streaming of sound files allows musicians today to learn easily and independently. Yet, the trailblazers in new music tackled new scores without these aids; they used imagination, experimentation and tenacity. Conscious use of both learning modalities can augment ideas of practice and performance preparation; expanding new music’s reach while preserving its fire.
Practice is differentiated between the quick learning for an upcoming performance and the transformative learning that new music offers. Periodization theory from sport science provides a pedagogical framework for building both mental and physical stamina, leading to peak performance.

Breath holding and heightened arousal: Composing anxiety or intensity?

Inhaling while playing and passages of breath holding and during a piece cause a racing
heart, an increase in blood pressure and a physical sense of emergency. Usually, such
sensations are indicative of an increase in adrenalin and/or performance anxiety. These
physical symptoms for a flutist performing Heinz Holliger’s (t)air(e) should not be avoided, however. Learning a piece where silence and extreme self-control are written for
dramatic effect allows a performer to experience heightened physical arousal during performance
in the context of achieving an artistic goal. The symptoms therefore lose their
more common negative associations. This can then be used as a pedagogical tool in building
a comfort level with increases in heart rate, and breathlessness while performing.


A New Look at Musician’s Health:Implications for Research from the Art in Motion Symposium in Graz, 2008

Looking for solutions to the health problems of musicians can lead one through many corridors of information. A new wing of interdisciplinary research has been opened which offers more possibilities to solving medical problems without traditional medicines or therapies. The following is a report on the Art in Motion Symposium held at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz in May 2008.

This paper seeks to assimilate the physiological and medical research of Horst Hildebrandt, Victor Candia and Jane Ginsborg with the research in motor learning of Richard Schmidt and Gabrielle Wulf to advocate for healthier and more productive practice for musicians. Where the medical research was done by and musicians, the research in psychology and motor learning was done by sports scientists. This collaboration of information made this symposium unique in its output. The assimilation of this information is new and ongoing, providing musicians new food for thought as to how they incorporate healthier practice.

From Simple to Complex: Extended Techniques in Flute Literature; Incentive to Integrate Cognitive and Kinesthetic Awareness in University Programs

The dissertation begins by surveying university flute students and their teachers about their experiences with extended techniques. Differences in approach, from Boulez to jazz, are correlated with the students’ partiality towards new music. The lack of new music studied in university programs lies in the complexity and difficulty of the repertoire. Complex works are seldom played.

The author identifies causes and finds solutions to this problem. Tools to encourage greater involvement in new music are developed. Through a newly graded repertoire list, flutists have access to modern works in every level of flute study. Practical solutions for studying new scores are also given. Using extended techniques to reframe and solve common technical problems offers new motivation to learn contemporary repertoire.

Regarding extended techniques themselves, the author develops a study program stemming from the teaching methods of Robert Dick and Carin Levine. This program builds on the acoustical similarities of each technique to allow greater continuity in teaching plans. The progression teaches body awareness by emphasizing projection of sound through greater physical energy. The final section highlights a shortcoming in the pedagogy thus far. In works of the extreme complexity, demands of breath control are often excessive. Stamina building has been a neglected topic. (t)air(e) (1980-83) for solo flute by Heinz Holliger is used to illustrate such challenges. Using the methodology of periodization training for athletes, the author provides a cogent solution for these deficits.

In conclusion, new teaching tools animate repertoire largely inaccessible in traditional studios.


© Jennifer Borkowski - Content 2023

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