Sara Ballance

Part-time lecturer

Sara Ballance is an educator and musicologist whose work explores contemporary and historical issues of musical listening. After initially focusing on aural skills education and music cognition, earning degrees in Pedagogy of Music Theory and Brain & Cognitive Sciences, and working as a research assistant in the Eastman Music Cognition Lab, her main interest has been in historical treatments of those fields. Her research traces how skilled musical listening came to be considered a defining feature of musicality over the course of the 19th century, investigating the changing scientific and philosophical visions of a “musical ear” that made this conception possible, as well as the development of specific pedagogical techniques for aural education. She has also explored the role of instrumental oddities such as silent pianos within 19th century concepts of noise, physicality and musicianship. Her work has been supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant from UC Santa Barbara and a Siff Family Educational Foundation Fellowship. She has presented research at numerous conferences, including national meetings of the Society for American Music and the American Musicological Society. 

Academic degrees