Music Engineering Faculty

An important part of any educational program is the faculty. They are the ones who create assignments, give you feedback on your work, and help you bolster your strengths and address your weaknesses. If you could teach yourself everything alone, schools wouldn’t exist at all. Faculty are what make schools work. This is why you should consider the qualifications of the faculty as a prime area of importance as you begin to decide which programs to apply to.

What Should I Look for in Faculty?

Faculty should be accomplished, approachable, collaborative, knowledgeable, and connected. Talking to the current students in the program is one of the best ways to get an idea of how faculty members interact with and support the students in their program. Do the faculty have connections in the community outside of the program? Are they entrepreneurs, researchers, consultants? Do they bring this knowledge and insight back into the classroom?

What Kinds of Qualifications Do Faculty Need to Teach?

Each program is different, and the qualifications faculty need change over time. In some fields, faculty simply need a master’s degree, while other fields require a doctorate. In certain cases, equivalent experience in the field will suffice for a faculty member who does not have advanced degrees. The bottom line is this: you want to find a department with a mix of faculty with different interests and qualifications. Though you may already have a good idea of your interests, your focus may slightly change during your studies as you familiarize yourself with the particulars of the field. As you approach graduation and begin to conduct your own research, you will want to be able to have access to faculty who can give you quality feedback on your work no matter what kind of specialization you choose.

Who Teaches Music Engineering at The Frost School?

The Frost School of Music employs a solid team of qualified and friendly faculty in the Music Engineering program. Because ours is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, we have had plenty of time to develop our curriculum, infrastructure, and personnel. Some of the faculty you will encounter during your time in the Music Engineering program may include the following:

Joseph Abbati

Joseph Abbati is a lecturer at the University of Miami in the Frost School of Music. He is currently the Studio Director of Contemporary Media Performance. With a track record of more than 20 years of electronic music experience, Mr. Abbati works with students in the Frost School to combine the elements of electronic music production with traditional musical performance. Mr. Abbati is an alumnus of the Frost School and began his career working in the field of game development and software. He has performed live electronic music at the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival and has served as an instructor in the Frost School’s Music Engineering Program since 1998.

Christopher Lee Bennett

Christopher Lee Bennett, PhD has a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, a master’s of science degree in Music Engineering Technology, and a BSEE in Audio Engineering. At the Frost School, you may find yourself working with Dr. Bennett if you decide to take Psychoacoustics, Transducer Theory, Audio Signal Processing, or iOS Audio Programming. Much of Dr. Bennett’s research has to do with biofeedback technology and its ability to aid in patient rehab situations. He has published and presented extensively, including at Audio Engineering Society Conventions in New York and San Francisco, and in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Bennett is a founding partner of Oygo Sound LLC, which consults in both musical and medical contexts.

William Pirkle

Professor Pirkle serves in the Frost School of Music as an Associate Professor. He is also the Program Director of Music Engineering Technology. An author, researcher, and consultant, Professor Pirkle has a wide range of experience which he brings into the classroom. He has created compositions for the “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius,” “SpongeBob Square Pants,” “SpongeBob Square Pants II,” and “SpongeBob Square Pants III” computer games. Previously, he served as a senior digital audio consultant for Tritone Systems, Inc., a division of XM Satellite Radio. He’s been involved in headphone analysis, frequency response, software engineering, architecture and algorithm design, and much more. Professor Pirkle is interested in helping students play to their strengths, identifying which niches they will shine in the most.

Dana Salminen

Instructor Salminen serves as an Adjunct Faculty of Music Engineering Technology at the Frost School. He is an alumni of the school. Salminen founded his own sound engineering firm, Aesir Sound, in 2008. In this capacity, he’s worked with many notable musicians like Sting, Pitbull, and Bobby McFerrin. Salminen lived all over the world until settling in Miami to begin his involvement with the University of Miami, where he teaches to this day.

What Else Do I Need to Know Before I Apply?

As a music engineering applicant, you will need to submit many of the regular application components the university requires. These may include letters of recommendation, grade transcripts, a personal statement, and more. You may also be asked to submit a portfolio of your previous work in the music engineering field. Typically, this portfolio can contain video, photographs, writing, or a combination of the three. Your program personnel will be happy to talk to you before you submit your application about what kinds of qualities and achievements the admissions committee will be looking for.

What Else Do I Need to Know About the Frost School?

The Frost School of Music is the only school that uses the unique Frost Method. Using this approach, instructors work with small groups of students in the classroom to achieve a high level of personal attention and quality collaborative work. The Music Engineering faculty are committed not only to attaining the latest technology, but also to excellence in teaching. At the Frost School, you are far more than just a number. The faculty and the school itself are invested in helping every student succeed.

Christopher Lee Bennett

Associate Professor


(305) 284-2226
Quote “Music and sound are foundational to the human experience, and at Frost our students learn both the creative and technical, the art and science, of music engineering.” Biography Christopher L. Bennett, Ph.D. is Program Director and faculty within the Music Engineering Technology program at the Frost School of Music. He...

Tom Collins

Assoc. Professor


Quote "Music moves people involuntarily, even subliminally, and yet by means of the most apparently precise and rational techniques. If a few combinations of pitches, durations, timbres and dynamic values can unlock the most hidden contents of our spiritual and emotional being, then the study of music should be the key to understanding...

Dana Salminen

Director, Production Services


(305) 773-1052
Biography Dana Salminen is the Director of Production Services and an Adjunct Faculty of Music Engineering Technology at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. In 2008, he founded the sound engineering company, Aesir Sound, currently employing more than a dozen engineers in South Florida. He handles clients ranging from iii Points music...