Graduate students receive music technology award

Two students working on their master’s degrees in music at Western Carolina University received a student award for their recent presentation at the convention for the Association for Technology in Music Education.

Dan Gonko and Robert Johnson presented “DVD Authoring for Interactive Learning,” which examined the use of DVDs to present educational material in the classroom.

“During the course of the past two semesters, we have learned to use a number of new programs, including the latest version of Apple’s Final Cut Studio package,” said Gonko. “We immediately saw the face value and hidden values of the included programs. When the opportunity arose to present at the ATMI conference again, we put our heads together and developed a presentation using one of those programs that would appeal to educators at all levels.”

Gonko, from Sterling Heights, Mich., is a second-year graduate student. He graduated from Adlai Stevenson High School in 2002, and then attended Central Michigan University, where he double-majored in music education, and music theory and composition. His parents are Ken and Karen Gonko.

Johnson, from Greenville, S.C., is a second-year graduate student. He graduated from Berea High School in 1994, and then attended Western, where he received a bachelor’s in music education. His parents are Robert L. Johnson and Lyda Curtis.

“It was a great opportunity to go to the conference. We were able to rub elbows with other professors and colleagues in our field,” said Johnson. “It’s a great honor to win the award. I didn’t plan on getting the award. I just had fun presenting, so the award is icing on the cake.”

From the beginning, both Gonko and Johnson have distinguished themselves in their fields at Western, said Bruce Frazier, the Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music at Western.

“These young men are composers, performers and technicians who apply their craft to produce creative projects that combine visual and aural elements,” said Frazier. “I am very proud of Rob and Dan and the work they have been doing. The university community shares in their accomplishments.”

For more information about the commercial and electronic music program at Western, contact Frazier at (828) 227-2400 or at