Peter R. Webster is currently Scholar-in-Residence at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and is a Professor Emeritus of Music Education at the Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He holds degrees in music education from the University of Southern Maine (BS) and the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (MM, PhD). He has taught in the public schools of Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. Following 14 years of teaching at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, he moved to Northwestern in 1988 and was there for 24 years prior to his retirement in 2012 from that school. His current position at USC includes half-time teaching in the Department of Music Teaching and Learning and assists the School as a Vice Dean for the Division of Scholarly and Professional Studies. He offers online courses for the graduate programs at the University of Florida at Gainesville. He assists with the music education doctoral program at Boston University.
Webster was the 2014 recipient of the Senior Researcher Award from the Society of Research in Music Education of the National Association for Music Education. He is co-author of Experiencing Music Technology, 3rd edition Updated (Cengage, 2008), a standard textbook used in introductory college courses in music technology. He is the author of Measures of Creative Thinking in Music, an exploratory tool for assessing music thinking using quasi-improvisational tasks. It is distributed for free from his website. A retrospective of his work, together with comment from scholars in the field of music education, is also distributed for free in iBook format from Apple’s iBook Store under the title Coming About and can also be found as a PDF download from his website. He has presented at many state, national, and international meetings and is a frequent keynote speaker. His published work includes over 90 articles, bools, and book chapters on creative thinking in music, music technology, and music teaching and learning. He is an editorial board member for several prestigious journals and has severed as an editor for several projects, including the MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning (2012) and The Musical Experience: Rethinking Music Teaching and Learning (2014), both published by Oxford University Press. He is a music editor for the International Journal of Education and the Art and the College Music Society Symposium: Instructional Technologies And Methodologies.
Webster has held various administrative positions in his career, including a term as Associate Dean at the Bienen School. He served as Chair of the Department of Music Studies which included the programs of music education, musicology/ethnomusicology, music theory/cognition, and composition/technology. He has taught courses in the philosophy of music education, graduate research, music technology, measurement and assessment, and creative thinking in music. He has supervised many doctoral dissertations in music education and has been the recipient of many grants, including a landmark award from the National Association of Music Merchants to study the influence of music experiences on adult creativity in non-music fields.