Ashley Shank

Department: Music

Director of the Music Prep Program

Music Prep Assistant

Music Prep Teacher

  • Education
  • DMA, Univ of Illinois Urbana
  • MM, Univ of Akron
  • MM, Univ of Akron
  • BS, Indiana Univ of PA
  • Areas of Specialty
  • Music Education

A teaching-centered career has been my goal from an early age. Once I began playing the flute in the fifth grade, I felt sure that teaching music would be my life’s work. Perhaps it was the example of the wonderful music teachers in my life, or the many teachers in my family, including my mother, three aunts and an uncle, but I was sure I wanted to develop a love of learning (specifically in relation to music) in my future students.

Outside of music I enjoy a wide range of hobbies, some more nerdy and reflective of my love of history and learning in general (I’ve been a keen amateur genealogist for over 20 years!) and others more outdoorsy. I love exploring Pennsylvania through biking, hiking and kayaking and I’m also an avid gardener.

Committed to education at all levels, Dr. Shank was appointed the director of the Music Preparatory Program at Susquehanna University in November 2016. Dr. Shank serves as the curriculum coordinator, trains teachers and teaches early childhood music classes for children from birth to five through the music preparatory program and a partnership with Summit Early Learning (formerly Snyder Union Mifflin Child Development or SUMCD).

During the 2018-19 academic year, she served as the interim coordinator of music education at Susquehanna University. From 2017-19, she taught music education courses at Susquehanna University, including Music for Exceptional Students for music majors and Arts in Education for elementary and early childhood education majors.

She has significant experience in public school education, including teaching elementary general music and arts infusion in the Urbana School District in Urbana, Illinois, and choral music at Brashear High School in the Pittsburgh public schools. At Brashear, in addition to directing the choirs, she developed and implemented a music appreciation course entitled Understanding Music, which introduced students to a variety of musical genres, and taught class piano. Additionally, Dr. Shank taught music theory at The University of Akron from 2007-09 and will be teaching Ear Training I and II during the 2019-20 academic year at Susquehanna University.

An active scholar, Dr. Shank holds a master’s degree in music history and literature. Her primary area of interest and research is the music of Russia and the former Soviet republics. Shank's master’s thesis, entitled "Composers as Storytellers: The Inextricable Link Between Literature and Music in 19th Century Russia," can be viewed on OHIOLINK. Dr. Shank was named winner of the National Flute Association's 2015 Graduate Research Competition for her doctoral thesis, "A Handbook of Solo and Chamber Literature for Flute by Composers from Russia and the Former Soviet Republics" which identifies almost 3,000 pieces, most virtually unknown outside of Russia and the former Soviet Republics. This award is given to "a flutist who has made outstanding contributions to flute study and to expose fine new scholarly work by NFA members and to promote the value of research."  Dr. Shank will publish an expanded online version of the thesis in 2020. The Online Encyclopedia of Flute Music from Russia and the Former Soviet Republics will eventually include expanded annotated entries, links to sound recordings and other resources. In addition to her research interest, Dr. Shank enjoys sharing her love for many genres of music with students and currently teaches Introduction to Music for non-majors at Susquehanna University.

Apart from her duties at Susquehanna University, Dr. Shank is active as a flute teacher and performer. She joined the faculty of Lycoming College as instructor of flute and chamber music in the fall of 2014. During the fall 2018 semester, Dr. Shank served as temporary assistant professor of flute at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a sabbatical replacement for Dr. Therese Wacker. She has maintained a private flute studio since 1999 and her students have earned top chairs in district, regional, all-state and all-east festivals, received superior ratings at solo and ensemble festivals, and continued their flute studies at the college level. Dr. Shank is a frequent clinician, adjudicator, conductor and teacher for public school and university students throughout the country.

Dr. Shank has performed in a variety of solo, chamber and large ensemble settings. Since 2016, Dr. Shank has performed and recorded as co-principal flute for the International Fellowship of Conductors, Composers, and Collaborators (IFC3). A member of the Keystone Wind Ensemble, she has performed at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Convention and the International Trumpet Guild Convention and can be heard on eleven commercially released recordings. Currently Dr. Shank is an active freelancer in north-central Pennsylvania. An avid performer of new music, Dr. Shank has premiered many solo, chamber and large ensemble pieces. She is a founding board member and grants & finances chair of the Flute New Music Consortium, an organization with the shared mission of commissioning and supporting new music for the flute.

Ashley Shank earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in flute performance and literature with a cognate in music theory from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Master of Music degrees in flute performance and music history and literature from the University of Akron, and a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (major concentration in flute, minor concentration in piano).

Courses taught:

  • EDUC-300M Arts in Education: Music
  • MUED-355 Music for Excep. Children w/ Practicum
  • MUED-355 Music for Exceptional Children
  • MUSC-101 Introduction to Music
  • MUSC-163 Ear Training I
  • MUSC-164 Ear Training II