Matthew Garrett

Associate Professor | Director of Choirs | Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies in Music (BA) and Music Education (BS)

Haydn Hall 304

Other Information

Classes: Case Choirs, Choral Music Education, Conducting, Student Teaching, Sociology of Music Education

Degree: PhD, Choral Music Education and Conducting, Florida State University. MM, Conducting, Boston University. BME, Florida State University.

Education: PhD, Choral Music Education and Conducting, Florida State University MM, Conducting, Boston University BME, Florida State University

Specialty: Music Education

Expertise: Choral Music Education


Matthew L. Garrett, Associate Professor of Music Education, Director of Choirs and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies in Music and Music Education, joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 2009. He teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in music education (Conducting, Choral Methods and Materials, Student Teaching Seminar and Sociology of Music Education) and he directs the Case Concert Choir. Garrett also facilitates a vocal skills and pedagogy course, University Chorale, and he supervises undergraduate and graduate student teachers Garrett also serves as faculty advisor for the Case Men’s Glee Club, the oldest student organization on campus (founded in 1897 at the Case Institute of Technology). Most recently, he has worked with the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE) as Faculty Facilitator for the Learning Fellows program.

Originally from South Carolina, Dr. Garrett holds a Bachelor of Music Education, cum laude, and a PhD in Choral Music Education and Conducting from Florida State University, where he studied with Judy Bowers and André Thomas. He earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting from Boston University, where he was awarded Music Division Honors in Choral Conducting while studying with Ann Howard Jones.

Dr. Garrett is an active member of the CWRU lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer-questioning/ally (LGBTQA) Committee and founding member of an interdisciplinary LGBTQ+ Research Group. In spring 2016, he served as a member of the planning committee for the third national symposium on LGBTQ Studies and Music Education, held at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Garrett was recently awarded a CWRU Prism award, for outstanding contributions to the campus LGBTQ+ community.

Dr. Garrett’s research interests include the development and utilization of critical thinking skills in music classrooms, and LGBTQ+ issues in music education. He has published in Journal of Research in Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, Research Perspectives in Music Education, Choral Journal, TRIAD: The Official Publication of the Ohio Music Education Association, Florida Music Director and Journal of the Society for American Music. Garrett received a Glennan Fellowship to support his instructional work (2013) and a W.P. Jones Presidential Faculty Development Award to support his research (2013) at CWRU. In 2012, he was a nominee for the CWRU Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Dr. Garrett has been interviewed regarding his research on developing critical thinking skills for articles in the national music education journal Teaching Music. His work incorporating critical thinking strategies in choral rehearsal environments was published in a music text series from Hal Leonard and McGraw Hill Education, Voices in Concert. Sequential sight-singing and musicianship skills are combined in an ability-appropriate, comprehensive approach to learning in this print/online resource.

Before joining the Case Western Reserve faculty, Garrett was a music educator in Central Florida and Southeast Massachusetts public schools at the middle and high school levels. While in Boston, he was the conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society Children’s Choruses. Under his direction, the Youth Chorus was selected to perform in the 2006 American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference in New York City. Garrett worked closely with the Society’s educational outreach program for six years to shape a comprehensive musicianship curriculum for students in the Vocal Apprenticeship Program and he founded a new ensemble specifically for students working through their adolescent voice change.

Dr. Garrett is an active clinician/adjudicator and has conducted choruses in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Ohio. In 2009 he was a conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he studied with Helmuth Rilling. Garrett has presented at local, state, and national music education conferences in the areas of developing critical thinking skills in music classrooms, choral pedagogy, pre-service teacher assessment, music education advocacy, developing students’ musical creativity, and diversity in public school and higher education learning environments. An advocate for contemporary music, he has commissioned new choral music and worked with members of the Cleveland Composers Guild to perform contemporary works created by local artists. He is a member of American Choral Directors Association, College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.