Music, Culture & Psychology
Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Room 318
Dr. Jones identifies strongly as an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar, and has received numerous national and local awards in recognition of excellence in teaching, professional accomplishments in psychology and music, and dedicated university and community service. He received a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Drew University in 1967, and was awarded prestigious fellowships from the Danforth Foundation and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to study clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1974 (after a three-year interruption for military service during the Vietnam War). Following graduate school he held faculty positions in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Bowling Green State University and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in addition to operating an independent clinical psychology practice for 10 years. He was recruited to a faculty position in the University of Denver Psychology Department in 1991, where he taught for 18 years before accepting an appointment as a faculty member and associate dean at DU's Colorado Women's College, where he served for seven years. From 1994 to 2000 he also served as a core faculty member in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the Union Institute and University, an accredited "university without walls," headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was appointed to a full-time faculty position in the Department of Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Theory (MET) at Lamont in September, 2016.
In the late 1980s, when he decided to re-immerse himself in his childhood passion, singing, Dr. Jones sought voice instruction that continued over a 14-year period, with private teachers in Denver, Boulder and Illinois. His renewed immersion in music performance was initially an avocation, separate from his professional work as a psychologist and university professor. He performed local recitals, sang with the Opera Colorado Chorus and toured the state of Colorado as a guest soloist with the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra. Before long, however, his academic interests in African American and multicultural psychology began to merge with his increasing interests, as a performer and scholar, in African American music, including especially the sacred songs called "spirituals," created and first sung by enslaved African Americans. His teaching and research evolved gradually to align with these new areas of interest and growing expertise. His book Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals, first published in 1993 and now in its third edition, was the recipient of a First Book Award by the Catholic Press Association of America. In 2001 he published, with his brother and colleague Ferdinand Jones, a co-edited volume entitled The Triumph of the Soul: Cultural and Psychological Aspects of African American Music.
In 1998 Dr. Jones founded The Spirituals Project, a nonprofit organization with a mission of preserving and revitalizing the music and social justice teachings of the spirituals. In addition to singing in the multi-ethnic, multi-generational Spirituals Project Choir, Dr. Jones presented solo workshop and concert programs on spirituals throughout the United States, raising public awareness of the continued relevance of the spirituals tradition in forging personal healing, community bonding, racial reconciliation and progressive social change. The Spirituals Project was awarded the Denver Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2010.
At Lamont, Dr. Jones teaches a variety of courses focused on the cultural and psychological history of African American music, as well as a course in the psychology of performance, and seminars focused on multicultural issues. Additionally, he continues his active involvement with The Spirituals Project, which is now an official program in Lamont's MET Department. Click here https://portfolio.du.edu/arjones for more information about Dr. Jones' professional history, including a copy of his full curriculum vitae.