Lloyd earns Excellence in Teaching Citation

January 30, 2020 - MSU Music Communications Office


Excellence in Teaching Citations are awarded to graduate teaching assistants who have distinguished themselves by the care they have given and the skill they have shown in meeting their classroom responsibilities. Supported by the Office of University Development, Zachary Lloyd is the only master's level graduate student to earn this award in 2020.

Zachary Lloyd is exactly the kind of teacher that all undergraduates hope to have in their music theory courses: student-centered, dynamic and engaging, clear and endlessly supportive, both in and outside the classroom.

In a subject that is difficult, even drudgery, for many students, Lloyd empowers students to succeed by putting them at ease and problem solving with them. By explaining musical ideas in multiple ways, including through musical sound itself, Lloyd brings complex musical structures to life.

Lloyd centers his students — and their comfort— during each of his classes by fostering a positive learning environment; classes are busy but unhurried, productive yet relaxed. 

Students work individually, in pairs and actively at the board on tasks that allow Lloyd to ask them guiding questions and lead them in the right direction, as needed.  

In this atmosphere, students participate willingly, comfortably and happily in the learning process. As one student stated, “Mr. Lloyd made the class a place of comfort, without judgment. The atmosphere so welcomed discussion and questions that I always felt safe expressing when I didn’t understand something.”

Lloyd’s teaching is equally impressive outside the classroom. During the 2018 to 2019 academic year, he served as a tutor in the Music Theory Learning Center, a drop-in clinic for undergraduates to get help in understanding difficult music theory concepts. He has a knack for putting students at ease and quickly developed a regular set of clients at the center because of his positive impact on student understanding.

Lloyd’s research interests span rhythm and meter, Broadway musicals, music perception and cognition and, of course, music theory pedagogy. Although a master’s student, Lloyd has research accomplishments more typical of Ph.D. students in the discipline. He presents actively at conferences, won a best-paper award at an international conference, and has a forthcoming article in "Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy."

For his skill and dedication as a teacher and his promise and accomplishment as a scholar, Zachary Lloyd is a most deserving candidate for the Michigan State University Excellence-in-Teaching Citation.