Jon McCollum, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Music; Director of Ethnomusicology Minor

Jon McCollum

  • M.Div., Shogaku Zen Institute 祥嶽禅宗, 2022
  • Shihan 師範, Shakuhachi Master’s License, 2015
  • Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, University of Maryland, 2004
  • MA, Music (Ethnomusicology), Tufts University, 2000
  • BA with Honors, magna cum laude, Music Performance and History, The Florida State University, 1997


Research and Performance

Dr. Jon McCollum is a full Professor of Music at Washington College. His research rests at the intersections of music, ritual performance, and identity. McCollum has a keen interest in historical ethnomusicology and was the founding Chair of the Historical Ethnomusicology Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology. McCollum is the author/editor/co-editor of Cultural Diplomacy and Ethnomusicology (Lexington Books, 2022), Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology (Lexington Books, 2014), and Armenian Music: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Discography (Scarecrow Press, 2004). In addition, he and David G. Hebert (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences) are presently writing the book, Viking Music through the Ages: Myths and Realities (Bloomsbury Publishing, expected 2022). McCollum has published numerous chapters in edited volumes, and articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and encyclopedias.

Dr. McCollum serves as co-editor of the Lexington Series in Historical Ethnomusicology: Deep Soundings of Rowman and Littlefield. He also sits on the board of the Mindfulness-Based Wellness and Pedagogy Program at the Jacob School of Music at Indiana University and editorial board of various journals. He has previously served as a Senior Research Fellow with the Armenian Museum of America and consulted for the Smithsonian Institution and Folkways Alive! at the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta.

Dr. McCollum holds a Shihan 師範 (Master’s license) in shakuhachi and is recipient of transmission through the lineages of both Katsuya Yokoyama and Yoshinobu Taniguchi through his primary teacher, Dai Shihan (Grand Master), Michael Chikuzen Gould. McCollum was awarded the accredited master performance name (natori) Kenzen 研禅. The character “ken” 研 comes from the Japanese “togu,” meaning to “polish, sharpen, or study.” This, with “zen” 禅, means to continue to sharpen one’s knowledge of shakuhachi performance in relation to Zen Buddhist aesthetics.

Dr. McCollum’s current research lies in the music and liturgy of Zen Buddhist practices, especially that of the Sōtō-shu and White Plum Asanga. He is an active professional musician, regularly performing recitals on the trombone, Japanese koto, and shakuhachi throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Whether serving as artist-in-residence at various universities or performing for local centers for the arts, performance remains at the center of Dr. McCollum’s work.