Melissa Murchison Murray
Senior Lecturer, Music Theory
Melissa Murchison Murray, aka “m3,” is a Senior Lecturer in Music Theory, an Associate Director in the Music Division at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and a pianist and singer.
The various forms of her teaching career have spanned the private studio for piano, voice, theory and composition; the junior and high school classroom; the college classroom; and the kitchen table. The ultimate challenge for Murray as an educator was home-schooling her three children through grades K-12. She considers her greatest achievements to be her extraordinary children, her relationship with them and her happy marriage to Tom, her husband of 28 years.
Motivated by an enthusiasm for exploring the world and developing her gifts, Murray has freelanced since leaving college in 1982. Having delight in languages, she has been fluent or near-fluent in four languages.
In addition to playing music and singing in the Dallas area, her performances as an improvising jazz/cabaret pianist/singer have spanned the globe from the U.S. to Europe to Asia. She has also performed considerable church music, including playing, singing and directing musicals and choirs. Recent recordings include m321.
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. American composer Warren Benson once described Murray as the “consummate doer.” She enjoys all aspects of music-making including performing, conducting, recording, adjudicating, directing musicals and teaching.
Tom Booth, Assistant Principal, Trumpet, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and a colleague at SMU Meadows, 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. She is author of Keyboard Musicianship, a textbook for the musicianship classroom that specifically employs the piano to gain a thorough understanding of theory and musicianship concepts.
Murray holds a B.M. from the University of Oklahoma and a M.M. from Southern Methodist University. Her D.M.A. (University of North Texas) remains incomplete. Other studies include three years at the Aspen Music School as well as private instruction at the Juilliard, Mannes and Manhattan schools of music.
Lastly, she likes to throw Beanie Babies at her students and make them laugh both at and with her.