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Ph.D. Studies in Choral and Vocal Pedagogy


Ph.D. Program in Music Education

Our Ph.D. degree emphasizes research and scholarship. At the same time, doctoral students are expected to have and continue to hone excellent musicianship skills, including those in performance and conducting. Persons who aspire to careers in research and graduate-level teaching often seek this degree. 

Degree requirements help the student develop broad and profound understanding of musical behaviors, sophisticated skill and extensive experience in pursuing new knowledge of such behaviors, and a rational system for evaluating the relationships between the specialty and other areas of human understanding. The program culminates with a substantial piece of original research. 

Course requirements are flexible for this doctoral degree. Each student's program is planned specifically in light of his or her background and to meet the demands of the anticipated academic and professional career. Each student is expected to achieve, however, a broad understanding of human musical behaviors and to become skilled in researching such behaviors. Scholarly and professional competence, not hours of credit per se, are the underlying requirements for conferring the degree. For further information on the structure and procedures of this Ph.D. degree program, please consult the MEMT Doctoral Handbook.

Ph.D. Emphases in Choral Pedagogy and Vocal Pedagogy

Students with backgrounds, defined interests, and career goals in choral singing pedagogy or voice pedagogy may, in consultation with an advisor and program planning committee, structure their coursework, practica, and research endeavors to reflect emphases in these areas within the stated requirements for the Ph.D. degree. In so doing, students may take advantage of opportunities available within the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy, the Voice Division, the Choral Division, the Department of Music & Dance, the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, other schools and colleges of the University, and off campus study such as that offered by the National Center for Voice and Speech, the Voice Care Network, and the Voice Foundation. 


Unique aspects of such emphases within the Ph.D. degree in music education at the University of Kansas include an orientation to evidence-based voice knowledge and teaching practices, a Vocology Laboratory offering state of the art resources for research-based approaches to real world singing contexts, close affiliation with consulting laryngologists and speech therapists, and opportunities to participate in ongoing research projects of the Singing Pedagogy Research Group. KU is on the leading edge of contemporary dialogue among voice scientists, choral conductors, voice teachers, physicians, and other professionals who desire to learn from one another and thus forge mutual understandings between musicians and scientists that advance knowledge and practices in choral pedagogy and voice pedagogy to the benefit of many millions of human beings worldwide who sing daily, both formally and informally, either in choirs or as soloists. 

In addition to such opportunities, both the Choral Pedagogy and Vocal Pedagogy Ph.D. Emphases encourage students to refine singing, conducting, and musicianship skills through graduate music courses, private lessons, and ensembles. 

For additional information about the Ph.D. emphases in choral pedagogy and vocal pedagogy, please follow the hyperlinks to the left. Should you have further questions, please contact Dr. James F. Daugherty, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Pedagogy and Director of Graduate Studies in Music Education & Music Therapy (jdaugher@ku.edu). 

Ph.D. Emphasis in Choral Pedagogy

Students pursuing the Ph.D. emphasis in choral pedagogy typically enter with significant background and experiences in conducting choral ensembles and teaching choral music, along with a curiosity about advancing the profession's knowledge base and practices in these endeavors. Most entering students typically have earned a master's degree from an accredited university in music education, choral conducting, or vocal performance. Among their career goals are (a) college or university teaching, either as choral conductors, professors of choral pedagogy, professors of music education, or a combination of the three; (b) leadership positions in a variety of community, civic, or church/synagogue choral singing contexts, including those focusing upon such specific populations as children, adolescents, adults, senior citizens, incarcerated or hospitalized persons, and choruses of persons who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgendered; (c) music teachers or fine arts administrators in public or private schools; (d) directors or researchers affiliated with private or public foundations and research institutes; or (e) careers as self-employed choral conductors or choral music clinicians who possess deep knowledge of vocal anatomy, physiology, acoustics of the singing voice, choir acoustics, and lifespan vocal development, along with evidence-based understandings of effective teaching and learning strategies in a variety of contexts. 

Choral singing phenomena and behaviors may be studied through various lenses and by means of an array of investigative methodologies, including historical, philosophical, quantitative and qualitative research orientations. Our doctoral students are expected to gain facility in research methods and to demonstrate such by producing, prior to the dissertation, a series of three doctoral projects deemed of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed journal. Students holding master's degrees that did not require a research-based thesis comparable to that expected of our own master's degree graduates may be advised to undertake and complete a faculty-mentored research project prior to or during the aspirancy semester to demonstrate equivalent skills. 

Admission to the Ph.D. program is provisional, pending passing of an aspirancy examination near the end of the first semester of fulltime study. Aspirants who pass that examination then become fully-admitted doctoral students. At that time, in consultation with a chosen advisor and program-planning committee, doctoral students plan their entire doctoral program, including course requirements and residency. 

Ph.D. students pursuing a Choral Pedagogy emphasis, in consultation with their advisor and program-planning committee, may elect coursework and practica geared both to their particular academic and career goals and the meeting of overall requirements of the Ph.D. degree, from the wide range of possibilities available at a major research university, including work within the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy, the Choral Division, the Voice Division, the Department of Music & Dance, the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, other schools and colleges of the University, and off campus study such as that offered by the National Center for Voice and Speech, the Voice Care Network, and the Voice Foundation. In addition, individually designed independent study and individual research hours are both possible and encouraged. 

A vibrant summer session also affords opportunity to undertake coursework and/or independent study and individual research. If desired, students may use the summer session in addition to a contiguous spring or fall semester to satisfy the fulltime residency requirement. 

Students applying for the Ph.D. program may also apply for Graduate Teaching Assistantships and University Fellowships. Please note the deadlines for these various applications. Assistantships and fellowships typically are awarded for a regular academic year (fall-spring semesters); they are not available for summer study. 

For more specific information about the Ph.D. emphasis in choral pedagogy, please follow the hyperlinks to the left. Should you have further questions, please contact Dr. James F. Daugherty, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Pedagogy and Director of Graduate Studies in Music Education & Music Therapy (jdaugher@ku.edu).

Ph.D. Emphasis in Vocal Pedagogy

Students pursuing an emphasis in voice pedagogy typically enter with significant background and experiences in voice performance, vocal music education, and teaching voice, along with a curiosity about advancing the profession's knowledge base in these endeavors. Most entering students typically have earned a master's degree from an accredited university in vocal performance, music education, or vocal pedagogy. Among their career goals are (a) college or university teaching, either as studio voice teachers, professors of vocal pedagogy, professors of music education, or a combination of the three; (b) music teachers or administrators in public or private schools; (c) directors or researchers affiliated with private or public foundations; (d) affiliation with voice centers or medical practices as knowledgeable voice teachers who function as members of an interdisciplinary team that may include a laryngologist, speech therapist or pathologist, voice teacher, and other professionals; and (e) careers as self-employed vocal performers and voice teachers who possess deep knowledge of vocal anatomy, physiology, acoustics of the singing voice, and lifespan vocal development, along with evidence-based understandings of effective teaching and learning strategies in a variety of contexts. 

Singing phenomena and behaviors may be studied through various lenses and by means of an array of investigative methodologies, including historical, philosophical, quantitative and qualitative research orientations. Our doctoral students are expected to gain facility in research methods and to demonstrate such by producing, prior to the dissertation, a series of three doctoral projects deemed of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed journal. Students holding master's degrees that did not require a research-based thesis comparable to that expected of our own master's degree graduates may be advised to undertake and complete a faculty-mentored research project prior to or during the aspirancy semester to demonstrate equivalent skills. 

Admission to the Ph.D. program is provisional, pending passing of an aspirancy examination near the end of the first semester of fulltime study. Aspirants who pass that examination then become fully-admitted doctoral students. At that time, in consultation with a chosen advisor and program-planning committee, doctoral students plan their entire doctoral program, including course requirements and residency. 

Ph.D. students pursuing a Vocal Pedagogy emphasis, in consultation with their advisor and program-planning committee, may elect coursework and practica geared both to their particular academic and career goals and the meeting of overall requirements of the Ph.D. degree, from the wide range of possibilities available at a major research university, including work within the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy, the Voice Division, the Choral Division, the Department of Music & Dance, the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, other schools and colleges of the University, and off campus study such as that offered by the National Center for Voice and Speech, the Voice Care Network, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the Voice Foundation. In addition, individually designed independent study and individual research hours are both possible and encouraged. 

A vibrant summer session also affords opportunity to undertake coursework and/or independent study and individual research. If desired, students may use the summer session in addition to a contiguous spring or fall semester to satisfy the fulltime residency requirement. 

Students applying for the Ph.D. program may also apply for Graduate Teaching Assistantships and University Fellowships. Please note the deadlines for these various applications. Assistantships and fellowships typically are awarded for a regular academic year (fall-spring semesters); they are not available for summer study. 

Vocal Pedagogy emphasis students are strongly encouraged, as part of their doctoral programs, to take studio voice lessons with members of our distinguished voice faculty. Doing so requires a successful graduate audition with the voice faculty, in addition to admission to the Ph.D program.

For more specific information about the Ph.D. emphasis in vocal pedagogy, please follow the hyperlinks to the left. Should you have further questions, please contact Dr. James F. Daugherty, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Pedagogy and Director of Graduate Studies in Music Education & Music Therapy (jdaugher@ku.edu).

Download and then follow the Graduate Application Procedures document (pdf) in preparing and submitting application materials. 

The Graduate School Application Form itself may be obtained from the Graduate Application Processing Center». Initial application for graduate studies may be done online or by paper (note directions on the Graduate Application Procedures document for submission of paper applications).

Ph.D. applications require: 

  1. Completed Graduate School Application Form.
  2. Application Fee 
  3. One official set of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts mailed direcly from your previous colleges or universities.
  4. Master's degree GPA of 3.5 or better.
  5. Documentation of Experience: 18 months or more of successful full time experience as a choral and/or vocal music educator. 
  6. Three letters of reference. 
  7. DVD. 
  8. Official GRE Scores for the three basic aptitude subtests (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing). 
  9. Your resume (not required, but encouraged).

Please note that the graduate application form, application fee, and transcripts should be submitted directly to: 

  The University of Kansas
Graduate Application Processing Center
Strong Hall 
1450 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm 313
Lawrence, KS 66045-7535
Office Staffing, Attn: MEMT

​GRE Scores, Letters of Recommendation, DVD, and other supporting documents should be submitted directly to: 

  University of Kansas
Division of Music Education and Music Therapy
Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Dr., Rm 448
Lawrence, KS 66045-3102
Attn: MEMT Graduate Director

The Application DVD for the Choral Pedagogy Emphasis should contain (a) you singing, playing, and/or conducting three contrasting pieces of your choice, 12 minutes maximum; and (b) a 15 minute maximum segment showing you in action as a teacher, either in a rehearsal or another type of music class. Please consult the Graduate Application Procedures document for full details.

The Application DVD for Vocal Pedagogy Emphasis should contain (a) you singing three contrasting pieces of your choice, 12 minutes maximum; and (b) a 15 minute maximum segment showing you in action as a teacher, either in a studio voice lesson or in a rehearsal. Please consult the Graduate Application Procedures document for full details.

A live audition for the KU Voice Faculty is also required for vocal pedagogy applicants once all application materials, as described above, have been received and reviewed. Applicants will be advised if and when they should schedule a live audition.

Application Deadlines: December 15 for priority consideration for students interested in also applying for University Fellowships or Graduate Teaching Assistantships. Application for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship is additional to the application for graduate study. This application (pdf) should be returned as indicated on the form to the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy. Information on University Fellowships may be obtained from the Graduate School web site». February 15 for consideration for Graduate Teaching Assistantships if positions are still available. May 15 is the final deadline for consideration for admission in the summer or fall terms.

Note: Full admission into a Ph.D. program is contingent upon passing a diagnostic examination scheduled during the first regular semester of study. Initial admission is to "doctoral aspirant" status, which changes to "doctoral student" status upon passing the diagnostic examination.

For more specific information about the Ph.D. emphasis in either choral pedagogy or vocal pedagogy, please follow the hyperlinks to the left. Should you have further questions, please contact Dr. James F. Daugherty, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Pedagogy and Director of Graduate Studies in Music Education and Music Therapy (jdaugher@ku.edu). 

Ph.D. students pursuing the Choral Pedagogy or Vocal Pedagogy Emphases have opportunity to work with outstanding faculty members from across the University. Faculty from the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy, the Voice Division, and the Choral Division of the Department of Music and Dance will be primary contacts. For brief biographical sketches of these folks please follow the Division links to the left. 

In addition, choral and vocal pedagogy graduate students benefit from close collaboration with laryngologists from the KU Medical Center and the Kansas Voice Center, appropriate coursework in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing, and outstanding visiting professors who come to campus each year in connection with our programs in choral and vocal pedaogy. Dr. J. David Garnett, laryngologist, has a joint faculty appointment with the School of Music and the KU Medical Center. Several faculty members from the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing regularly lecture in School of Music vocal/choral pedagogy courses and mentor our graduate students pursuing particular research projects. They have served as well on dissertation and thesis committees for graduate students in vocal and choral pedagogy. 

Laryngology 

J. David Garnett, M.D., F.A.C.S.»
Associate Professor, Otolaryngology, KU Medical Center
Associate Professor, Voice Science and Laryngology, School of Music 

Lee A. Reussner, M.D.»
Otolaryngologist 
Director, Kansas Voice Center

Speech-Language-Hearing 

Stephen M. Barlow, Ph.D.»
Professor
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing

Edward T. Auer, Ph.D.»
Assistant Professor
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing

Sarah H. Ferguson, Ph.D.»
Assistant Professor
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing

Jennifer Cannady, M.A., CCC-SLP»
Speech Pathologist
Kansas Voice Center

Recent Visiting Professors: 

Steven Demorest, Ph.D. (Summer 2010)»
Professor of Choral Pedagogy and Music Education, The University of Washington

Alice-Ann Darrow, Ph.D. (Summer 2009)»
Cooper Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy, Florida State University

Dwayne Dunn, Ph.D. (Summer 2009)»
Director of Choral Activities, Olathe East High School

Andre Thomas, D.M.A. (Summer 2008)»
Director of Choral Activities & Professor of Choral Music Education, Florida State University

Janice Killian, Ph.D. (Summer 2007)»
Professor of Choral Music Education, Texas Tech University

John Nix, M.Mus, Cert. Vocology (Fall 2007)»
Associate Professor, Voice and Vocal Pedagogy, University of Texas San Antonio

Hilary Apfelstadt, Ph.D. (Summer 2006)»
Director of Choral Activities, Ohio State University, President American Choral Directors Association

Judy Bowers, Ph.D. (Summer 2005)»
Professor of Choral Music Education, Florida State University

Sten Ternstrom, Ph.D. (Fall, 2004)»
Professor of Music Acoustics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

For more specific information about the Ph.D. emphasis in choral pedagogy, please follow the hyperlinks to the left. Should you have further questions, please contact Dr. James F. Daugherty, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Pedagogy and Director of Graduate Studies in Music Education & Music Therapy (jdaugher@ku.edu). 


Friends of the School of Music

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Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
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