Karen Salvador

Early Childhood Music Education Director 

Karen Salvador is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Michigan State University, where she teaches undergraduate coursework in early childhood and elementary general music and graduate-level music education philosophy and research. She also teaches early childhood music and co-directs Cantabile, a choir for young singers, at the MSU Community Music School. For the past 8 years, Dr. Salvador was a professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, where she also taught early childhood music at the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center.

Dr. Salvador earned her Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University, where she also completed a master’s degree in choral conducting. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance from Western Michigan University, and post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Olivet College. Dr. Salvador previously taught elementary general music (K-4) in Eaton Rapids, MI; choir and drama in Palmerston North, New Zealand; early childhood music at the MSU Community Music School; and children’s choirs in Grand Rapids, MI.

Dr. Salvador’s research pertains to how music educators meet individual student needs, particularly in early childhood and elementary grades. This research extends into music teacher education, exploring both program practices for music educator preparation and also the lived experiences of music educators who are working to become more inclusive and responsive. This work appears in journals including the Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Music in Early Childhood, Arts Education Policy Review, Research Studies in Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and Music Educators Journal.

Dr. Salvador serves on the board of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, is a co-facilitator for the Society for Music Teacher Education’s Area for Strategic Planning and Action on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, is Past President of the Michigan Music Education Association, and is President-Elect of the National Association for Music Education’s North Central Division. A frequent presenter, Dr. Salvador is in demand for workshops on early childhood and elementary music and movement (particularly regarding ability-responsive and culturally sustaining instruction) and as a facilitator working with music teaching and learning organizations to strategize toward more inclusive, responsive, and sustaining practices.


Karen Salvador headshot