Bret Smith is a teacher educator, conductor, and cellist who specializes in instrumental music education. He holds degrees in music and systematic musicology from the University of Washington, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy in music education from the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in string pedagogy and methods, assessment, and the psychology of music, as well as serving as faculty advisor and Master Teacher for the CWU Preparatory Strings program, which received a National String Project Consortium grant through the NAMM Foundation in 2007.
He enjoys performing as a member of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra cello section, on electric cello with several pop, rock, and folk groups, on tenor banjo in the early jazz duo RetroPotential and the Dixieland band Crash and the Invaders, as the lead guitar player in the classic rock band Short Term Memory, and various instruments on numerous recording sessions. He frequently collaborates in other ensembles with CWU colleagues on cello, baroque cello, bass, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
Smith is co-author, with James O. Froseth, of the innovative string method Do It! Play Strings
published by GIA Publications. In addition to incorporating sequential pedagogy into authentic, diverse musical repertoire, he performed all the cello models and produced and mixed the eight CDs that define the curriculum. His research interests include student motivation and personal investment in instrumental music study, personality and music teaching and learning, and the assessment of musical learning.