Darrin Thornton is an assistant professor of music. He started his Penn State administrative career in 2002 then later joined the School of Music faculty in 2010. Currently, Thornton teaches music education foundations, methods and techniques courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels while advising freshmen and sophomore music education students and serving on masters and doctoral thesis committees. His research focuses on pre-service teacher training, educational access and outreach in music and music education, learning in ensemble settings and lifelong music engagement. Thornton remains active as a performing percussionist, conductor, church musician, adjudicator, clinician, guest lecturer, and consultant, while serving as a volunteer assistant with the Penn State Marching Blue Band.
Prior to this appointment in the School of Music, 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. Thornton holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, Master’s degrees from National Louis University and the University of Missouri, and a doctorate from Penn State. Professional affiliations include: College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), College Music Society (CMS), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.