Kayleen Justus is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and World Music at Kennesaw State University.
Her primary research interests center on the role of music in memory and personhood,
Trinidadian steel band in the Caribbean and beyond, and American music history. Dr.
Justus has presented her academic work at various international and regional conferences,
including the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Percussive Arts Society International
Convention, the American Anthropological Association, Eastern Caribbean Islands Cultures
Conference, and the National Society for Steel Band Educators. Her work has recently
been published in Caribbean Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (2020), the SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (2019), the Society for American Musicology Bulletin (Spring 2018), Pan Magazine (2016), and The World of Music Journal (2014).
Kayleen earned a Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University in 2014, after completing two years of interdisciplinary field research with the Alzheimer’s Project. Her dissertation, “Music, Dementia, and the Reality of Being Yourself,” is grounded in the ethnographic method of participant-observation and explores the relationship between music, consciousness, and human subjectivity. Dr. Justus also holds a M.M. in Ethnomusicology, which she earned in at Florida State University in 2008 after completing her thesis, “Memetics, Media, and Groove: Musical Experience in Two Florida Steelbands.”
Dr. Justus is the Director of Steel Bands at Leon High School in Tallahassee, FL, where she instructs the beginning, intermediate, advanced, stage side, and community ensembles. She also performs and records as a pan player and percussionist in the United States and the Caribbean. She has performed with notable musicians, including the calypsonian Willard “Lord Relator” Harris, Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman, jazz pannist Andy Narell, Trinidadian arranger Ray Holman, drummer Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and bassist Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big. She has recorded several world music albums, including Sasa Nifanye Nini (2012), which featured members of the Tanzanian group Mlimani Park Orchestra, and two albums by the Miami University Steel Band – One More Soca (2003) and Burnin’ (2001). Kayleen has also been featured on two recent “Pan Rocks!” album and documentary projects: Pan Rocks! Project L.A. (2017) and Pan Rocks! RUSH (2018). Dr. Justus currently performs with the Atlanta Steel Collective and is a member of the Atlanta Percussion Group.
At Kennesaw State University, Dr. Justus teaches MUSI 1107 - “Arts in Society: Music,” MUSI 1107 - “World Music,” MUSI 3311/2 - “History of Western Music I and II,” MUSI 4490 “Music of the Caribbean," MUSI 4490 "African Soundscapes," MUSI 4490 "Traditional and Popular Music of Latin America," and MUSI 4490 "Ethnomusicology Seminar: Historical and Contemporary Practices in the Field."