Established in 2015 with funding from generous donors, the Dean’s Incentive Grants provide grant funding to seed faculty- and student-led projects that focus on innovation, interdisciplinary initiatives, or community partnerships to advance Peabody’s goals.

Up to five faculty grants and up to five student grants are awarded. All current faculty and students of the Peabody Institute are eligible to apply.

Areas of Focus

Proposals focus on new initiatives, programs, events, or projects that fall into one or more of these three categories:

  • Innovation – those ideas that break out of the established model of teaching/learning (which may entail an on-line component), forge innovations in curriculum, and position Peabody as a leader in the national dialogue about the arts and music education.
  • Interdisciplinary Work – those ideas that leverage as a unique competitive edge Peabody’s relationship to other Johns Hopkins University divisions and/or other colleges and universities.
  • Community – those ideas that build strong relationships through meaningful collaborations with off-campus communities.

Previous Dean's Incentive Grant Recipients

Judah Adashi

Project: The Cross-Disciplinary Master Class Series

Marin Alsop & Dan Trahey

Project: Diverse Styles and Culturally Relevant Music: The String Repertoire Initiative

Tony Arnold

VocalMap: Visualizing the History and Trajectory of Contemporary Vocal Music

Create a dynamic and multifaceted open‐source database of the vocal music to be both a comprehensive library of information for composers and performers of new vocal works, as well as a platform for programming, education, and community discourse.

Douglas Buchanan

Project: A Street Choir for Baltimore

Joe Burgstaller

Virtual Reality at Peabody

Gives prospective students, parents, and others the on-stage and in-studio Peabody experience using immersive, interactive virtual reality technology.

Maxime Daigneault

Seeing the voice, Hearing the body

In collaboration with students from the voice and the dance departments at Peabody, create a multi‐disciplinary project to provide a safe space to experience with extended techniques through movement.

Zane Forshee

Research Project: Impact of Weekly Guitar Lessons on Functional Movement and Well-being in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Tests the hypothesis that Parkinson’s Disease patients participating in a six-week-long, twice-weekly guitar strumming class with rhythm, pitch, and movement elements will demonstrate significant improvement in quality of life, motor symptoms, upper extremity function, cognition, mood, and social participation.

Yian Hwang

“The Trace of Life”

Create an interdisciplinary composition which explores issue of life and death by combining computer music composition, neuroscience, instrumental performance, visual arts and solo dance. Performances will be in Baltimore and in Taiwan.

Mofan Lai

Project: Building a Peabody WeChat Platform: Connecting with Music Students in China

Maria Lambros

Peabody Student String Ensemble

Develops a member-led, 14-player string ensemble whose performances will take place exclusively in community venues, bringing the beauty of extraordinary music to our neighbors who are in challenging situations, such as cancer treatment, incarceration, substance abuse recovery and homelessness.

Jamie Leidwinger & Sam Torres

Project: Social Issues of Place within the Musical Profession: A Podcast Series

Jonathan Mo & Nathaniel McKeever

Research project: What are the differences between on-the-spot and prepared improvisation?

Analyzes creativity by testing the hypothesis that jazz musicians given the chance to hear a chord progression and imagine or visualize an improvisation before playing it will perform significantly differently in terms of melodic-harmonic congruency, repetition, sequencing, and overall performance than those asked to improvise “on-the-spot,” with no advance exposure to the chord progression.

Adam Rosenblatt


Create a percussion performance, instrument making, and interactive lighting project in partnership with Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.

Rebecca Smithorn

The Listening Lab: A New Model for Orchestral Education Programming

Builds an interactive orchestral education concert that teaches students not just about the music, but how to listen to music. Young audiences will learn listening strategies based on cognitive science, and come away with the tools to experience music in a focused, open, and immersive way.

Vid Smooke

Hip Hop Music: Production, History, and Practice

Expands the Peabody curriculum to include a new, two-credit course taught by Wendel Patrick in which students will have the opportunity to create and perform hip hop works, study the techniques of today’s masters of the form, and learn about the socioeconomic trends that helped to shape both the music and the culture.

Cynthia Sun

Measuring Operating Forces in String Instruments

Develop a patentable device that can measure minimum operating forces in string instruments to reduce playing related injury.

Ambrose Tang

The Sound of Peabody

Create a promotional flow‐motion film about Peabody that displays the school’s programs as an institute of sound in setting of a modern conservatory.

Molly Wilkens-Reed

Project: Composing Pedagogically Appropriate String Quartets for Intermediate Students

Elijah Wirth

Concert Arrangements of Music by Historical Composers of Minority Descent

Edit, transcribe, and arrange music by historical prominent composers of minority descent for modern wind ensemble and make it available to be downloaded for free along with recordings made by the Preparatory Wind Orchestra.

Julien Xuereb

Musician-in-Residence Pilot Project

Creates a pilot program to recruit and place Peabody students in residential senior/retirement communities, where the students receive free lodging and develop their performance skills while the residents benefit from regular live “in-house”music of the highest quality.