Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?

Meet Clayton, a Doctoral student teaching and performing in the School of Music

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Today we are thrilled to introduce you to Clayton Dunaway, who is working to complete a Doctor of Arts degree in Clarinet Performance and Music Theory. Clayton spent some time sharing with us about how his experience at Ball State University has prepared him to be an expert teacher and has given him the chance to grow as a performer. Clayton, who is originally from Joplin, Missouri, had heard about Ball State’s strong reputation from several of his mentors while working on his Masters degree.

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo credit: Ball State University Photo Services

The deal was sealed after he attended a recital at the International Clarinet Association annual convention given by Dr. Elizabeth Crawford, associate professor of clarinet at Ball State. She gave a spectacular performance of the Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Sonata (a piece he was preparing for his Masters degree recital) and he knew that he wanted to meet her and learn from her.

On what makes Ball State a great place to earn a graduate degree:

“Ball State University is a great place to earn a graduate degree due largely to the quality of its instructional programs as well as the expertise of the faculty. The Doctor of Arts in Music allows graduate students the opportunity to develop skills in research, scholarship, and teaching through the advanced coursework and internship and externship placements. This allows students like me the ability to develop the skills, experiences, and feedback necessary (within realistic educational settings) in preparation for a future career as a music educator and professional musician. Additionally, I feel that the Doctor of Arts degree (one of only a few programs in the country to offer this) will help me to enhance my marketability and knowledge/skill set by completing both a primary and secondary area of emphasis rather than solely one. This additional component will allow me the opportunity to broaden my abilities and be capable of pursuing additional career opportunities.”

 On the benefits of his graduate assistantship: 

“I am the recipient of a full doctoral teaching assistantship where I teach applied clarinet lessons, rehearse and perform with the Ball State University Graduate Woodwind Quintet, coach chamber music ensembles, and assist Dr. Crawford with creative endeavor projects. My assistantship duties with the Graduate Woodwind Quintet have been especially important for developing my musicianship and character. The opportunity to play challenging repertory with other graduate student performance majors is a wonderful experience and is a constant challenge. We meet regularly to rehearse great literature for this performance medium and each member is invested to contribute the highest levels of musicianship.”

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On his teaching internship: 

“I am currently completing an internship experience teaching with Dr. Ann Hicks (Assistant Professor of Music Education). Dr. Hicks has given me the opportunity to help prepare and implement class lectures as well as actively participate in student assessment and curriculum decisions. She has challenged me to enhance my classroom presentation skills, leadership, as well as develop my ability to explain concepts and diagnose student performance. I feel confident in my ability to contribute positively within this class, and enjoy the ability to collaborate and work closely with a Ball State master teacher like Dr. Hicks. Through participating in this experience, I have been provided a ‘real-world’ view of teaching an academic course in higher education which will prepare me for my future career.”

On how Ball State has prepared him for a career after graduate school:

“The experiences both inside and outside the classroom are helping me to develop the necessary expertise to prepare myself for a career as a performer and educator. I am blessed with the opportunity to learn from, interact with, and perform for faculty who are leaders in their field. My instructors have offered challenging and memorable experiences that have stretched me as a student and have impacted my views and abilities in this field.”

Clayton Dunaway Graduate School

Photo Credit: Ball State University Photo Services

On how graduate study at Ball State has transformed his life: 

“Through pursuing a doctorate at Ball State, I am increasing my marketability by augmenting my skills and experiences. Additionally, I am increasing my professional network through interactions and experiences with Ball State School of Music faculty and fellow students. I have developed as an educator through my teaching responsibilities, pedagogical experiences, internship experience, as well as direct supervision by my faculty mentor. The teaching responsibilities have probably been the most impactful to me – I am developing skills in diagnosing and refining student performance and my own teaching abilities through both individual applied music lessons and group ensembles. Everyday (and every class) is a new experience and I am enjoying the opportunity to teach and learn from my students!”

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Clayton!

If you’d like to learn more about graduate programs in Ball State University’s School of Music, visit the department’s website or contact Dr. Linda Pohly, the coordinator of graduate programs in music.


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