Darrin Thornton believes music plays a universal role in our humanity and everyone has the ability to be musical throughout the course of life. His professional career has focused on teaching toward lifelong musical engagement in the public schools and providing leadership that fosters the musical engagement of adults from college students to retirees.
Dr. Thornton is currently an associate professor of music and serves as an assistant director of the Penn State School of Music. He teaches music education foundations, secondary instrumental methods and techniques courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels; and formerly served as an assistant director for the Penn State Marching Blue Band. His research interests include teacher preparation and continued professional development, educational access and outreach, learning in ensemble settings and lifelong music engagement. Dr. Thornton further contributes to the field of music education as a performing percussionist, conductor, church musician, adjudicator, clinician, guest lecturer, and consultant, while providing professional and administrative service to the school, college and professional organizations. He was appointed Musical Director and Conductor of the State College Area Municipal Band in 2018.Prior to his School of Music appointment, he taught band/instrumental music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in the state of New York; served on the conducting faculties at the University of Missouri and SUNY-Fredonia; and held administrative posts at the University of Missouri, SUNY-Fredonia, and Penn State.