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Deborah Perkins

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Education

Deborah Perkins, Ph.D., is known for her love of teaching diverse musical styles and for her ability to have fun by creating an encouraging atmosphere that challenges students as they achieve mastery of musical skills beyond their age level.  She received her B.M.E. degree from State University College at Potsdam, N.Y.; M.M.E. degree from the University of South Carolina; and a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas.  Also known for building programs, Perkins has built and reinforced public school orchestra programs in Florida, South Carolina and Texas.  She has served in a leadership position in ASTA (American String Teachers Association) and TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) and is serving a two-year term as “Member at Large” on the national ASTA board.

Perkins currently teaches string pedagogy and string techniques, and conducts "Mustang Strings," a string orchestra at Southern Methodist University founded fall 2011 that is open to non-majors. She is the co-founder of the internationally travelling Texas Youth Orchestra, which has performed in Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and the United Kingdom; trips to Spain and France and planned for 2015.  A hallmark of her teaching is making music that expresses and touches the heart of the students and audiences alike.  Fondly referred to as the “Pied Piper of Strings” by her friends, her dissertation focused on the motivation of students enrolling in orchestra. 

Perkins maintains an active schedule as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor throughout the United States and serves as a performing artist and clinician for Eastman Strings. She is married to Steve Perkins, and they have one daughter, Kayla.


B.M.E. SUNY Potsdam, N.Y.; M.M.E. University of South Carolina; Ph.D. University of North Texas

Professional Experience

Taught in 27 schools, in three states and five school districts; teaching at SMU since 1999


String Techniques (upper and lower); String Pedagogy I and II; conducts Mustang Strings (SMU's community string orchestra)


Numerous articles in the American String Teacher

Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



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