Matthew Garrett, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences
Director of the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education
Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies in Music Education

Matthew L. Garrett, Associate Professor of Music Education, Director of the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE), and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies in Music Education, joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 2009. In the Department of Music, he teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in music education and coordinates the music education licensure program. Garrett has been involved with UCITE programming since 2016, having served as faculty facilitator for the Learning Fellows Program, and as interim director of the center. Now as UCITE director, Garrett draws on his background in education and learning pedagogy with more than 20 years of classroom teaching experience to help faculty, staff, and students explore the art and science of teaching.

Garrett’s research interests include LGBTQ issues in music education and the development and utilization of critical thinking skills in music classrooms. His most recent publication, Honoring Trans and Gender-Expansive Students in Music Education, with co-author Joshua Palkki will be published by Oxford University Press in August 2021. Garrett 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. He has been nominated twice for the CWRU Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. 

Garrett has served on the CWRU lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer-questioning/ally (LGBTQA) Committee and he was a founding member of an interdisciplinary LGBTQ Research Group. He has spoken on the CWRU Power of Diversity Lecture Series and, most recently, on the Social Justice Institute Research Lunch Series. In 2016, he was honored with a CWRU Prism award, for outstanding contributions to the campus LGBTQ community. Garrett is currently chair of the planning committee for the 4th National Symposium for LGBTQ Studies and Music Education.

Garrett has been interviewed regarding his research on developing critical thinking skills for articles in the national music education journal Teaching Music. His strategies for incorporating critical thinking skills in choral rehearsal environments were published as part of a hybrid print/online music text series from Hal Leonard and McGraw Hill Education, Voices in Concert.

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.

Originally from South Carolina, Garrett holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a PhD in Choral Music Education and Conducting from Florida State University. He earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting from Boston University, where he was awarded Music Division Honors in Choral Conducting.

Garrett 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 state, national, and international music education conferences. While Director of the Case Concert Choir, he commissioned new choral music and frequently conducted masterworks in collaboration with the Case/University Circle Symphony Orchestra and professional musicians in the greater Cleveland community. Garrett currently serves as Music Director at Church of the Covenant, in University Circle. He continues to work with students and teachers in school music programs across the country, as a clinician and guest conductor.


Teaching Information

Courses Taught

Choral Methods and Materials
Student Teaching
Sociology of Music Education


Choral Music Education and Conducting
Florida State University
Master of Music
Boston University
Bachelor of Music Education
Florida State University