Adolescent Vocal Music Education Workshops


Don L. Collins, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Choral Music Education, University of Central Arkansas


VITA: Music educator, administrator, conductor, author, clinician, arranger, church musician, and publisher describe the many facets of Don L. Collins' professional career. Known nationally for his expertise in several of these areas, he has dedicated himself to the advancement of these professions through writing, teaching, composing, holding workshops, conducting, and research.

Educated in Texas, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in voice from Wayland Baptist University in 1961. Two years later he received the Master of Church Music Degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary after which he served several years as a Baptist minister of music in Florida. He continued his education at Florida State University where he received the degrees of Master of Music Education in 1968 and Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education in 1970.

While at Florida State he studied with the late Dr. Irvin Cooper, clinician, arranger, composer, and recognized authority on boys' changing voices. It was under Cooper's tutelage he wrote a master's thesis entitled "A Survey of the Status and Function of Boys' Changing Voices in Youth Choirs of Florida Baptist Churches". With the assistance of Dr. Jack Swartz as major professor, he completed his doctoral dissertation on "Principles and Practices in Church Music Education Programs of Selected Protestant Churches in America". He studied the best church music education programs in five major Protestant denominations: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Episcopal.

While earning his doctorate he began publishing with Broadman Press. He since has been active in this area with both sacred and secular publications released by Broadman Press, Cambiata Press, Lawson-Gould Music Publishers, Plymouth Music Co. and Prentice-Hall, Inc.

He was on the music faculty at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas from 1970 until 2007. He taught undergraduate classes in choral music education, elementary and secondary music education, music appreciation and choral arranging. Further, another of his primary teaching assignments was graduate music education which included two music education seminars and directed individual studies for the students. He was coordinator of graduate music studies from 1984 until 1991.


He was the conductor of the UCA Chorale and Bel Cantos (a madrigal and show choir) for five years from 1970-75. In the spring of 1975, Bel Cantos toured Europe and the Azores for a period of nine weeks for the United Service Organization presenting sixty-three concerts to service men in Germany, Holland, Belgium and the Azores. In the fall of 1975 he founded and became the conductor of the Arkansas Boys Choir. By the end of his tenure with the choir they had received national exposure when in 1978 they sang for both the Music Educator's National Conference in Chicago, and the regional meeting of the American Choral Director's Association in Lawton, Oklahoma, and released recordings distributed nationally by Cambiata Press. He conducted the University Chorus at UCA from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2004.

In 1979 he founded the Cambiata Institute of America for Early Adolescent Vocal Music, a non-profit organization dedicated (1) to the advancement of early adolescent music education, and (2) to supporting the educators and church musicians who teach these young singers. The primary purposes of the Institute are to provide a framework for research in music education and to promulgate proper teaching technique through workshops and online services to early adolescent music education instructors and church musicians throughout America and abroad. Under the auspices of the Institute he founded and directed the National Cambiata Chamber Chorale whose members came together from various states throughout the nation during the summer of 1980 to provide a series of music education lectures and demonstrations in the schools of Great Britain.  The Institute is currently under the auspices of the College of Music at the University of North Texas and directed by Dr. Alan McClung.  As the founder, he is still fully engaged in the activities of the Institute.

Dr. Collins' research has resulted in the publication of several books: The Cambiata Concept, a Comprehensive Philosophy and Methodology of Teaching Music to Adolescents; The Adolescent Reading Singer, a sight-reading method which includes a set of teaching charts, the instructor's manual and a student literature booklet (the second edition released in 2005, presents the method in PowerPoint format); and The Changing Voice Choral Library, a set of five volumes of literature for adolescent singers. The second edition of his textbook, Teaching Choral Music released in 1999 by Prentice-Hall, is being used in music education methods classes throughout the United States.

Dr. Collins is married to the former Peggy Ann Smith, (Bachelor of Music in Piano, UCA, 1974, and Master of Music Education, 1990, UCA) an organist, pianist, and music educator, and they have three children and six grandchildren.


Contact Dr. Collins by email