Music Staff

Dr. Matthew Garrett


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Matthew Garrett has been making music at the Church of the Covenant since he moved to Cleveland in 2009. He became a member of the church in 2011 and joined the staff as Associate Director of Music in 2015. In this role, he works primarily with the adult choir, although the adult handbell choir allows him to ring every now and then. Matthew and Jonathan Moyer work together to plan, organize and lead various parts of the church vocal music programs. He previously held church music positions at Presbyterian churches in Central and North Florida.

Matthew is also Director of Choirs, Associate Professor of Music Education, Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies in Music, and Interim Director of the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education at Case Western Reserve University. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education, cum laude, and a PhD in Choral Music Education and Conducting from Florida State University. He earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting from Boston University. Prior to his work at CWRU, Matthew was a music educator in Central Florida and Southeast Massachusetts public schools at the middle and high school levels. In addition to his public school teaching, he conducted the Handel and Haydn Society Children’s Choruses in Boston for six years.

Matthew’s research interests include the development and utilization of critical thinking skills in music classrooms and LGBTQ+ issues in music education. He has published in The Journal of Research in Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, Research Perspectives in Music Education, Choral Journal, TRIAD: The official publication of the Ohio Music Education Association, Florida Music Director, and Journal of the Society for American Music. His work incorporating critical thinking strategies in choral rehearsal environments was published in a music text series from Hal Leonard and McGraw Hill Education, Voices in Concert.

Matthew is an active guest conductor and clinician and has conducted choruses in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Ohio. In 2009 he was conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he studied with Helmuth Rilling. He has presented at state, national and international conferences in the areas of developing critical thinking skills in music classrooms, choral pedagogy, music education advocacy, and diversity in public school and higher education learning environments. An advocate for contemporary music, he has commissioned new choral music and worked with members of the Cleveland Composers Guild to perform works created by local artists. He is a member of American Choral Directors Association, College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

Originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, Matthew now lives in Cleveland Heights with his partner, Michael Peters and their two cats, Jedi and Milo.