Texas Tech University

Lisa Garner Santa

Lisa Garner

What are your current research interests?

This summer I began a research project in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Viral Spread Mitigation and Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission in Flute Playing. Those of us in the performing arts have additional challenges, particularly in music making where wind instruments or voices are involved. When playing flute, the emission and distribution of aerosols and particulates is believed to be much higher than when speaking. There is much concern in the flute community, and in the music community at large, about how to move forward with face-to-face teaching in a way that is safe. I've partnered with Dr. Michael San Francisco (Dean, Arts and Sciences), Dr. Karin Ardon-Dryer (Atmospheric Sciences), and Dr. Emily Bailey (TTU Health Sciences) to test accessories for the flute that may mitigate viral risk when playing in ensembles. Other studies of aerosols in music making have tested the spread of particles but none-to-date have included a biological component. That's where our study differs. We are also comparing biological content specific to each flutist with gathered biological content at different distances while playing, with and without the mitigation accessories. While this is still a foundational research study, we hope it will provide valuable information about the effectiveness of mitigation devices for all instruments and voice and perhaps spark further innovation.

What types of outreach and engagement have you been involved with?

In 2018 I was selected to participate as a TTU Service Learning Faculty Fellow. The end result was the creation of a service learning section of the TTU Flute Choir. Our first outreach project was a partnership with the Carillon Life Center: "Music and You." Students worked directly with the residents to explore the relationship between performer and audience, including programming and the implementation of the logistics behind a musical production. The first stage of the outreach was a cake social at the Carillon following the evening dinner. Students interviewed residents about how music has enriched or articulated periods of their lives. The program for the first concert was selected from existing works based on the experiences of the Carillon residents; tunes from post-World War II musicals, hymns, and John Phillip Sousa. For the final concert students created new arrangements and compositions for flute choir, again based on information provided by the Carillon residents. We opened the program with an Elvis medley, presented mashups of Billy Joel and Debussy, and performed the Armed Forces Salute with each branch standing when their song was played, all arranged by the TTU students. The final piece was the Matador song – the entire audience stood up and sang along, creating a very meaningful experience. The students shared in conversation with the residents after the concert over cake. It was beautiful to see the connections across generations: music provided a platform for residents to share their life experiences thus enhancing the perspectives of the students.

Why did you choose this field?

I love music performance and I love teaching. Academia provides a wonderful opportunity for both. My job provides opportunities to play chamber music with my colleagues, be a soloist with an ensemble, and present recitals while also working closely with undergraduate and graduate music performance and music education majors. Graduates have gone on to become band directors, elementary music teachers, university professors, doctors, lawyers, and administrators. Music can inform so many professions, and for that matter, life. The variety of engagement and interactions in this field is very rewarding.

How do you define good teaching?

Good listening.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I would say my proudest professional moments have been watching first generation students from my studio walk at graduation, particularly those of color. They overcame so many challenges to get to that moment. I was also the first person in my family to graduate with a four-year degree, not to mention the graduate degrees. But I had the privilege of being white. The proudest moment wasn't related to my accomplishment; my proudest moment was their accomplishment.

How do you integrate research and outreach into teaching?

I don't know how one could not. Research in the arts includes creative activity – creative activity is expression. On some level all research is expression. When we engage in research and outreach we engage in an exchange of expression – whether through reading, hearing, watching, or for those in the culinary arts, tasting and smelling! Each moment of expression is metabolized and becomes a part of the individual. I am a big conglomerate of my experiences and they all inform each other. Too often the academy compartmentalizes research, outreach, and teaching – those are the categories we present on our annual faculty reports. The reality is that research, outreach, and teaching are integrated – each informs the other.

More About Lisa Garner Santa

Lisa Garner Santa currently serves as principal flutist with Lubbock Chamber Orchestra and is Artist-Performer and Professor of Flute at Texas Tech University where she enjoys a diverse career as a performer, scholar, and service fellow. Garner Santa's playing has been described as "the kind of tone I prefer - rich, colorful, perfectly in control, and always in tune. Her phrasing is all well-shaped and thoughtful...a truly remarkable artist with dazzling musical ability." (American Record Guide)

As a pedagogue, Lisa Garner Santa presents masterclasses throughout the United States and abroad. International exchanges include masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in London, England, and Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, as well as Peking University in Beijing, China. Most recently she has presented and performed in symposiums in Naolinco (Mexico), San Jose (Costa Rica), and Mendoza (Argentina). Appearances at various regional and national conventions include a 2020 performance as soloist on Joel Puckett's Shadow of Sirius at the Regional CBDNA conference with TTU's Symphonic Band under the direction of Dr. Eric Allen. Her research, pedagogical articles, and interviews are published in The Flutist Quarterly, Flute Talk, and The Instrumentalist. She is a recipient of the Texas Tech Big 12 Fellowship, the Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award, the President's Excellence in Teaching award, the President's Excellence in Diversity and Equity Award and was recognized in 2020 as a TTU Integrated Scholar. She has also served as an Executive Council member of Texas Tech University's prestigious Teaching Academy, as a TTU Service Learning Faculty Fellow, and is a graduate of TTU's Institute for Inclusive Excellence.

Outreach programs include partnerships with the Carillon Life Center, the East Lubbock Promise initiative, and the TCVPA's Arts in Medicine initiative. Additionally, Dr. Garner Santa is a certified Professional Yoga Instructor through the Kripalu Center and teaches Yoga and the Creative Arts: Philosophy and Practice, a core curriculum course at TTU.

Sample Publications and Presentations include:

Shades of Sound: Chamber Works for Flute and Piano – Lisa Garner Santa, flute – Nataliya Sukhina, Piano: Compact Disc released on MSR Classics.

Rêver en Couleur: French Music for Solo Flute and Piano – Lisa Garner Santa, flute – Gabriel Sanchez, piano: Compact Disc released on MSR Classics.

The Flutist Quarterly, Journal of the National Flute Association, "Ergonomic Headjoint Designs," Co-authored with Chip Shelton, DDS, Vol.44, No. 4, p. 59, Summer 2019.

The 11th Annual ACHME Conference - Radical Well-Being in Higher Education: Approaches for Renewal, Justice, and Sustainability - "Daily Wellness Practices for Educators from the Science of Ayurveda," November 2019, Amherst, MA.

Southwestern Musician, "How the Busiest People Alive Thrive: Wellness Tools to Fuel Teaching and Prevent Burnout," Co-authored with Dr. Dr. Shauna Thompson, Vol.87, No.9, pp.45-47, May 2019.

The Flutist Quarterly, Journal of the National Flute Association, "An Uncommon Woman: Celebrating the Flute Works of Composer Joan Tower," Vol.44, No.2, pp.19-23, Winter 2019.

Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership, "Faculty Voices and Perspectives on Transparent Assignment Design: FAQ's for Implementation and Beyond, Chapter co-authored with Allison Boye, Suzanne Tapp, Julie Nelson Couch, and Robert Cox, Stylus Publishing, VA, 2018.

Southwestern Musician, "Connect, Contribute and Heal Through Musical Outreach," Co-authored with Dr. Pamela Youngblood, Vol.86, No.4, pp.33-35, November 2017.

"Fluency of Self: Classical Yoga Philosophy and Performance Identity," Euroacademia 6th Forum of Critical Studies: Asking Big Questions Again, Lucca, Italy, November 2017.

The 8th Annual ACMHE Conference - Transforming Higher Education: Fostering Contemplative Inquiry, Community, and Social Action – Contemplative Teaching in the Bible Belt: Co-presented with Dr. Angela Mariani, 2016, Amherst, MA.