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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Questions on Pursuing a Doctorate Degree

Hello all,
I have a Bachelor of Music Education (choral and instrumental emphases), and am on track to complete my Master of Music Education (choral emphasis) at the end of next summer. I have a thesis that my graduate dean says could be published nationally. I am going to pursue a doctorate degree someday. I want to get a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting, a D.M.E. (Doctor of Music Education) or a D.M.A. in Music Education someday (no Ph.D.). I'm still deciding on what I would like to do. This wouldn't be for a few years but I'm planning now.
Just a little bit about me: I've been a choir director since I was 17 (I'm 26 now; I started directing my church choir in high school, no joke!). I'm also a very accomplished and in-demand piano accompanist. I'm in my 3rd year successfully teaching public school choir and general music (high school for 2 years, currently in my first year in middle school). I also am an accomplished percussionist, organist and vocalist. I have guest conducted, judged for contests and serve on an ACDA board. I am looking for all and any advice on how to pick a school, what to expect, and about auditions.I have directed musicals for a summer theatre group, and at my current job. I also directed a small student-run college choir at a different college than my own while I was completing my undergraduate degree. It was one of the most successful jobs I've ever held. My specialities are choral conducting, students with special needs (my master's thesis will be specific on this), voice lessons, piano sight-reading, church music, and piano accompanying. 
I feel like having a B.M.E. and M.M.E. would be a better precursor to a D.M.E. or D.M.A. in Music Education but am very eager to improve my skills and learn more about Choral Conducting. I would like a more hands-on type of program which is why I'm not considering pursuing a Ph.D.
I would like to teach in a Christian university or collegiate setting someday (choral, voice and piano classes and lesson preferably). I've done a LOT of research on programs and auditions around the country but I'm looking for first-hand advice.
Thank you in advance!
on March 18, 2016 4:49am
Hello Sean-
Since you have done lots of research on programs, etc...I am assuming that you have also done a lot of RESEARCH in Music Education and/or Choral Conducting.  I feel it is a very easy decision in our field...find the person who best inspires you and study with them.  It is not about the institution as much as it is about the person you choose for your mentor.  I went for and received my PhD in Music Education from New York University because I wanted to study with David Elliott.  Keep your eyes on the prize and be taught by the person or persons who best inspire you, as the Doctoral process is long and, at times, grueling. Be certain that you are with the individual who will push you to do your absolute best work and question your every decision.  I feel very fortunate and am forever grateful that I was able to study with my philosophical idol in the field of rethinking the current paradigm of Music Education.  Best, Casey
on March 20, 2016 3:28pm
I am also pondering the notion of earning a doctoral degree in music education - after I retire from teaching public school music. I am currently in my 27th year of teaching general music and beginning choir, having returned to school after 18 years of teaching to earn my masters degree.
The most valuable aspect of my masters program experience was the wealth of teaching experience I had prior to beginning graduate school. And, the graduate school experience had a significant impact on my teaching.
Teaching is an art and something that requires lots of time to master. I believe those who enter the teacher training field owe it to their students to have had a plethora of firsthand teaching experience themselves.
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