The Art of Teaching Orchestra

This informal yet inspirational workshop will tackle many of the challenges that face school orchestra directors on a regular basis. Clinicians, 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 24-26
  • Times: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Noncredit Cost: $250
  • Credit Cost: Additional $500 for 1 hour of graduate credit (Paid separately to SMU after following instructions in the workshop registration confirmation email.)
  • 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 

Register Here

The Art of Teaching Orchestra Faculty

Jeffrey Grogan is an internationally-acclaimed conductor and teacher, currently serving as Director of Orchestral Activities at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University and Artistic Director of the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras. Recent work includes conducting at the Musikverein in Vienna, Sydney Opera House, Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland, and in Bangkok and Singapore. Grogan serves as a Master Educator for the Yamaha Corporation of America and also on the Advisory Committees of the Midwest Clinic and Music for All. For several summers, he was invited by the LA Philharmonic to conduct alongside Gustavo Dudamel at Disney Hall, a part of the Youth Orchestras of Los Angeles National Festival. Following his passion for performing and helping to create new music for orchestras, he has collaborated with many composers such as Omar Thomas, Amanda Harberg, Lowell Liebermann, Michael Colgrass, Eric Whitacre, Steven Stucky, and Scott McAllister – as well as soloists Richard Stolzman, Stefan Hoskuldsson, Julian Schwarz, and the Canadian Brass. Grogan worked in studio and on several projects with violinist and composer Mark O’Connor. Grogan recorded O’Connor’s March of the Gypsy Fiddler with the Ahn Trio and New Jersey Youth Symphony on OMAC Records, which is played on classical music radio throughout the country. He previously served eleven seasons as Education and Community Engagement Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and as Conductor and Artistic Director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and the New Jersey Youth Symphony. He was founding Artistic Director of two El Sistema inspired program in New Jersey, CHAMPS and the Paterson Music Project. Grogan taught for over a decade at the University of Michigan, Ithaca College, and Baylor University.

Deborah Perkins, Ph.D. 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 co founded 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.

She is the co-founder of the internationally traveling Texas Youth Orchestra & Choir who has traveled to Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK, Spain and France, Amsterdam, Holland and 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.  In 2018, Dr. Perkins retired from teaching string pedagogy and string techniques at SMU where she worked since 1999.  Dr. P maintains an active schedule as a clinician, adjudicator and private cello lesson instructor. She is married to Steve Perkins, and they have one daughter, Kayla.

Susan Younghans is currently in her eighteenth season conducting the Dallas String Ensemble and the Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra program, working with exceptional musicians ranging in age from Grades 8 - 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. She has been published in the ASTA journal for string educators.

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 6th 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 5th year at SMU where she is an instructor of string techniques, string pedagogy, and supervises student teachers and interns as they embark on their careers. 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 Director Julie Scott, Lisa Beyer, and Courtney Wilson at