Matthew Mugmon

Assistant Professor, Music
Daveen Fox Endowed Chair (2017-19)
2019 CUES Distinguished Fellow

Note: Title was current at time of award and may have changed.

The Roots of Knowledge: Enhancing Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Through Work with Primary Sources

Two significant and related pedagogical challenges in higher education are the lack of opportunities for undergraduate students to engage with primary sources and a dominant curricular focus on the cultural achievements of a narrow set of figures who are considered canonical. Undergraduate students are rarely expected to consult primary sources as a means of interrogating the canon — or the authority of the textbooks and secondary sources that often sustain it. Also, at a moment of pressing need for diversity and inclusion in undergraduate curricula, engaging with previously overlooked archival materials offers access to exploring how members of underrepresented groups, who are often excluded from the canon, have played significant roles in shaping culture. The Roots of Knowledge CUES project addresses such challenges by integrating the use of materials from archives and digital collections into undergraduate learning experiences. This project will redesign of a foundational course for music majors to center on the use of primary source materials found in Tucson and of digitized items from collections elsewhere. The project also supports the creation and world premieres of new musical works to be composed and performed by UA students and examined by students enrolled in the course — an experience that itself leads to the production of new primary sources to be analyzed by students in the future.  Aiming to impact work with primary sources in other disciplines, the project hosted a workshop series for faculty in different disciplines on involving undergraduates in high-level work with archival materials.  Through a Library of Congress grant awarded to University of Arizona Libraries in 2021, Matthew will collaborate with colleagues to plan and implement teaching activities with primary sources.

Project Outcomes

The work of this fellowship has represented a significant step forward in scholarship on teaching undergraduates with primary sources.  Survey results consistently showed that students made significant improvements in their attitudes and knowledge practices.  The work in this area, though, had only just begun at the conclusion of the initial funding period, and more work was completed in the 2022–23 school year.  In addition to another highly successful world premiere with the support of CUES (Fate Sisters by Michael Vince, April 27, 2023), development commenced on student-created curricular materials in music history that both draw on primary sources and highlight the contributions of members of underrepresented groups to complement those found in First Nights.  Students in the course, as part of the lead-up to Vince’s premiere, worked collaboratively to create a series of articles about past world premieres by artists from underrepresented groups, drawing on primary sources from digital collections; these student-authored articles contain discussion questions and further reading lists.

In spring 2023, Katie Chalstrom, a graduate student in musicology, worked to make these student-authored materials web-ready, and they were published in the summer of 2023 on the Premieres Across History website, with scholars and practitioners around the country having been invited make use of these materials.  The website was previewed at the Teaching with Primary Sources virtual symposium on April 28, 2023, which featured faculty and librarian discussion as well as student research into primary sources; students who presented were from the University of Arizona and represented numerous fields.  This symposium came about in part through a collaboration with UA Libraries and Dr. Mugmon, a faculty partner in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources grant, and it was quite successful, with 115 attendees from the University of Arizona and other institutions.  Future plans will include completing a scholarly article that will draw on the March 2022 CUES Inside UAZ-Funded Scholarship talk on the experience of implementing primary sources over the past several years. 


JUN 2023: Premieres Across History. Digital repository of University of Arizona student-authored work for use in music history classrooms.

APR 2023: Premieres Across History: Fate Sisters. World Premiere by composer Michael Vince, sponsored by CUES and the Fred Fox School of Music, The University of Arizona.

APR 2022: Premieres Across History: Meet at 12. World Premiere by composer Meggie Keung, sponsored by CUES and the Fred Fox School of Music, The University of Arizona.

APR 2021: Premieres Across History: Ibero-American Landscapes. Livestream World Premiere by composer Edwin Guevara Gutiérrez, sponsored by CUES and the Fred Fox School of Music, The University of Arizona.

APR 2020: Quintetto Profano, A Piano Quintet for Five Quarantined Musicians. Livestream World Premiere by composer Tom Peterson, sponsored by CUES and the Fred Fox School of Music, The University of Arizona.


APR 2023: Teaching with Primary Sources Symposium, In collaboration with University of Arizona Libraries, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Virtual).

MAR 2022: Archives in the Early Undergraduate Classroom: A Case Study, CUES Inside UA-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

APR 2021: Quintetto Profano: A Case Study in Quarantined Live Performance. Music, Sound and Media in Times of Crisis (International Study Day), Carleton University; Ontario, Canada; with Tom Peterson (Virtual).

MAR-APR 2021: Teaching through Primary Sources & Archival Materials: Six Workshops. The Roots of Knowledge 2021 Series, sponsored by CUES and the Fred Fox School of Music, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Virtual).

2019 CUES Distinguished Fellows