The Life and Career of William F. Cramer: Pedagogue, Performer, and Scholar
Hudson, Michael W. (author)
Madsen, Clifford K. (professor directing dissertation)
Drew, John R. (university representative)
Fenton, Kevin A. (committee member)
Fredrickson, William E. (committee member)
Kelly, Steven N. (committee member)
College of Music (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
In 1950, William F. Cramer came to Tallahassee, Florida to attend the Florida State University School of Music as a doctoral student in music education. As the 1952 fall semester was to begin, he was selected to lead the teaching efforts of the FSU low brass studio; a position that he would retain for the entirety of his distinguished thirty-seven year career. His doctorate, which was an Ed.D in music education, was conferred in 1958. A proud member of the U.S. Navy, Captain Cramer served his country in World War II aboard the USS Astoria in the South Pacific. Throughout his career, Cramer would continue to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserves. Recognized as an accomplished pedagogue and musician both nationally and internationally, Cramer influenced the musical and teaching lives of many musicians at both FSU and abroad. His pedagogical approach to teaching the trombone was sequential and concise, centering on task analysis. His teaching focused on the student's ability to understand how to efficiently blow a substantial amount of unrestricted air into the instrument so that it resonated with a characteristic sound. This concept was crucial in understanding Cramer's philosophy. If the student could not play with a characteristic tone quality using an efficient amount of air then the student could not proceed to the next step, which was applying this concept to the act of music making. Described by many of his students as having a somewhat gruff exterior at first, Cramer's students also found him to be a warm, kind and benevolent man. Over the course of his thirty-five year collaboration with FSU Professor of Piano, Robert Glotzbach, the duo presented an impressive number of concerts and recitals of new and standard music. They recorded three albums of new works for trombone and piano on the Coronet label. Being the consummate artists and musicians that they were, Cramer and Glotzbach promoted these new works in recital at least twice a year for several years. For a university professor who often carried a substantial teaching assignment each semester, the amount of performing that Cramer was able to accomplish is an impressive feat for any musician. An accomplished conductor, Cramer formed the FSU Trombone Choir, also known as the Seminole Sackbut Society. The choir was a popular ensemble among his students and regularly appeared at national trombone workshops and in 1982, won the International Trombone Association Emory Remington Trombone Choir Competition. A founding member of the International Trombone Association (ITA), Cramer served as head of the commissions committee and founded the organization's Adopt an International Member (AIM) Program to assist those who were outside the United States to join and participate in the ITA. After retiring in 1987, Cramer remained very active. He continued to teach, travel to Europe, judge trombone competitions, and took up a new musical hobby, singing. After striking up a friendship with a graduate vocal teaching assistant at FSU, Cramer began to explore the world of singing by taking voice lessons. Well known for his characteristic booming bass-baritone voice, Cramer participated in the University Choir, Tallahassee Community Chorus, and his church choir. He remained musically active and curious and continued to travel right up until his passing from prostate cancer in 1989 while participating as a judge for an international trombone competition in Weisbaden, Germany. The purpose of this study is to present an historical account of the life and career of distinguished FSU trombone and music professor, William F. Cramer so that future musicians and music educators may have a better understanding of the importance and influence that he has had on the field of trombone pedagogy, performance and music education.
Music Education, Pedagogy, Trombone, William F. Cramer
June 14, 2012.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Clifford K. Madsen, Professor Directing Dissertation; John R. Drew, University Representative; Kevin A. Fenton, Committee Member; William E. Fredrickson, Committee Member; Steven N. Kelly, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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