Dr. von Rueden's research interests lie in the areas of interdisciplinary choral programming, the use of figurative language in choral music rehearsal, and choral music as an agent of social change.
In November 2017, Dr. von Rueden presented her research on the benefits of interdisciplinary choral music programming for students, choral programs and conductors, audiences, and institutions. Based on interviews of collegiate level choral directors, she found benefits to all constituencies when extra-musical collaborations are a part of choral music events.
At Hampden-Sydney College, Dr. von Rueden offers a course on Music and Social Change, which highlights the use of diverse musics, but especially choral music, as a tool for affecting social change. Among the social movements discussed in the course are the Civil Rights movement in the United States, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the "Singing Revolution" of Estonia.
At UC Santa Barbara, Dr. von Rueden researched the pedagogical use of figurative language in collegiate choral rehearsals across four choral conductors and their ensembles. She found that when teaching about vocal technique and musical expressivity, conductors more often used figurative language, whereas they employed narrative or storytelling for the purposes of developing personal and/or emotional connections amongst rehearsal participants or to the music being rehearsed.