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The Art of Teaching Orchestra

This informal yet inspirational, IN PERSON workshop will tackle many of the challenges that face school orchestra directors on a regular basis. Clinicians, Dr. Mark Laycock, Dr. Deborah Perkins and Susan Younghans, will address aspects of teaching specific instruments, rehearsal techniques and preparation, conducting at all levels, plus opportunities to share teaching practices, favorite orchestra charts as well as daily reading sessions.

  • Dates: July 26-28
  • Times: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Noncredit Cost: $200
  • Credit Cost: Additional $500 for 1 hour of graduate credit (Paid separately to SMU)
  • Housing: There is no on-campus housing available for this workshop. For a listing of local Dallas hotels near the SMU campus and out-of-state discounts, go to

The Art of Teaching Orchestra Faculty:


Dr. Mark A. Laycock, Headline Clinician, is a Professor of Music at Wichita State University, where he holds the Ann Walenta Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship.  He has been recognized with the WSU Excellence in Creative Activity Award (2012) and the College of Fine Arts Excellence in Teaching Award (2007).  Dr. Laycock serves as Director of Orchestras and Coordinator of Strings, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic and serves as Chair of Orchestra Activities.  He was recently appointed Conductor of the Wichita Youth Symphony.  His work as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator spans 27 states; recent and upcoming engagements encompass Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas.  He has conducted all-state, region, and district orchestras throughout the country.  Dr. Laycock has presented clinic sessions for numerous state education conferences, as well an invited music education panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, evaluating grant applications from institutions throughout the country. 


Dr. Laycock earned a Doctor of Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Northern Colorado as well as a Master of Music degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and literature from the University of Southern California. An experienced educator, he was an instructor of strings and orchestra at the middle and high school levels in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Deborah Perkins, Ph.D. is known for her love of teaching diverse musical styles and her ability to have fun by creating an encouraging atmosphere where students are challenged, yet achieve mastery of musical skills that defy the age level of the students playing.  She received her BME degree from State University College at Potsdam, NY; MME degree from the University of South Carolina; and a Ph. D. from the University of North Texas.  Also known for building programs, Dr. Perkins built and rebuilt public school orchestra programs in Florida, South Carolina, and Texas.  In the fall of 2003, she cofounded CTYO’s Elementary Strings which directly led to the orchestra programs in McKinney and Lovejoy ISDs. She has served in leadership positions in professional organizations of SCMEA, FOA, TexASTA, ASTA and TMEA and served a two year term of “Member at Large” on the national ASTA board.


In 2018, Dr. Perkins retired from teaching string pedagogy and string techniques at SMU where she worked since 1999.  She is the co-founder of the internationally traveling Texas Youth Orchestra & Choir who travelled to Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK, Spain and France, Amsterdam, Holland, Germany and Austria. A hallmark of her teaching is how to make music that expresses and touches the heart of the students and audience alike.  Her dissertation focused on the motivation of students to be enrolled in orchestra and she is fondly called by her friends the Pied-Piper of Strings.  Dr. P 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.


Susan Younghans is currently in her 16th season conducting the Dallas String Ensemble and the Young Performers Orchestra in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra program, working with exceptional musicians ranging in age from K - 12. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Susan Younghans is recognized as an accomplished teacher, conductor, and performer in the Dallas area. Susan received her Bachelor of Music Violin Performance Degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia where she studied with Charles Joseph and a Master of Music Education Degree as a violin major with a concentration in piano from the University of North Texas where she furthered her studies with Mary Nan Mailman, Philip Lewis, and James Lerch.


Susan founded the string orchestra program in Lewisville ISD in 1993 and directed middle and high school strings for seven years where her focus was program building. As an outreach of the GDYO program, Susan is in her 3rd year assisting in the Dallas ISD where she mentors teachers and students. She maintains a private teaching studio, and her students have won numerous contests at the local and state level. Susan is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician and has guided many students to careers in music performance and education. Susan also performs regularly in regional orchestras, string quartets, and other freelance ensembles. She is in her 3rd year at SMU where she is an instructor of string techniques, string pedagogy, and supervises student teachers as they embark on their careers. She is in her 15th year teaching general music weekly at A Child’s Garden Montessori School and is in her third year at Epic Learning Community teaching guitar, ukulele, piano, and violin. Instilling the love of music in the next generation has always been where she finds her greatest joy.

For further information about SMU Music Educators Workshops, or to register for one of these classes, visit; or contact Julie Scott, Lisa Beyer, or Courtney Wilson at; or call the SMU Music Office at 214-768-1951.

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2021 SMU Meadows Music Educators Workshops

The Art of Teaching Orchestra

Culturally Responsive Teaching in Music Education

The Elemental Style: Composing and Arranging, Part I

Instrument Repair for the Band Director

The Art of Teaching Music: A Workshop for Band Directors

Orff Schulwerk, Levels I, II, and III

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Songworks In Action: Playful Teaching, Vibrant Learning!

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