Melissa Murchison Murray
Lecturer, Music Theory and Associate Director of Music Recruitment
Melissa Murchison Murray is a Visiting Lecturer in Music Theory in the Music Division at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University. Murray began her teaching career at the age of 13. She professes to being incapable of not teaching. (Ask her children for verification.)
The various forms of her teaching career have spanned the private studio for piano, voice, theory, and composition, the junior and high school classrooms, and the college classroom. The ultimate challenge for Murray as an educator was homeschooling her three children for their entire educations until they left home for college. She considers her greatest achievement to be her three extraordinary children, her relationship with them, and her happy marriage to Tom, her husband of 25 years.
Motivated by an enthusiasm for exploring the world and developing her gifts, Murray has free-lanced since leaving college in 1982. Her performances have spanned the globe from the U.S. to Europe to Asia as an improvising jazz and cabaret pianist and singer. Having delight in languages, she has been fluent or near fluent in four languages.
Murray has numerous compositions and arrangements that have been performed by large and small ensembles at the churches and private schools where she has conducted, composed, directed, and performed. Warren Benson once described Murray as the “consummate doer.” She enjoys all aspects of music-making including performing, conducting, adjudicating, directing musicals , and teaching.
Having just completed her first solo album, Rough Around the Edges, she plans to release it this fall. Tom Booth, fellow colleague at SMU, describes her as having “intonation many great singers would kill for.”
Murray, Coordinator of Keyboard Musicianship for the Theory Department, is highly motivated to develop the whole musician, using the keyboard as a strong visual and kinesthetic tool for teaching theory and musicianship skills. Keyboard Musicianship is the first draft of her efforts to develop a text for use in the musicianship classroom, specifically employing the piano to gain a thorough understanding of theory and musicianship concepts.
Murray holds a BM from the University of Oklahoma, a MM from Southern Methodist University. Other studies include three years at the Aspen Music School as well as private instruction at the Julliard and Manhattan Schools of Music. Her DMA remains incomplete.
Lastly, she likes to throw Beanie Babies at her students and make them laugh both at and with her.
TeachingMusic Theory and Class Piano