Ryan M. Hourigan Ph. D.


Ryan Hourigan (2010 Indiana Music Educators Association Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year) joined the faculty at Ball State University in the fall of 2006 after nine years of teaching instrumental and vocal music at the secondary and university level. A native of Illinois, Dr. Hourigan holds degrees from Eastern Illinois University (B.M.), Michigan State University (M.M. Wind Conducting) and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of Michigan. Dr. Hourigan currently teaches music education and is the Associate Director of the School of Music at Ball State University.

Currently in its fifth printing, Dr. Hourigan is the co-author of Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach (2011).  This is a comprehensive text written by practicing music educators, music teacher educators and researchers in the field of teaching music to children with special needs. Hourigan and Hammel’s second book Teaching Music to Students with Autism was released in the summer of 2013 with Oxford University Press.

In 2009, Dr, Hourigan co-founded the Prism Project (prismprojectbsu.org). This program provides an opportunity for Ball State students to gain skills in the area of teaching students with special needs. In 2012, Dr. Hourigan, along with Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans expanded the Prism Project to the great city of New Orleans Louisiana. The Prism Project is one of the first-ever Immersive Learning Award winners at Ball State University. Recently, Dr. Hourigan was awarded the College of Fine Arts Immersive Learning Fellowship and is in charge of fostering immersive, interdisciplinary courses from across campus at Ball State University.

In 2012, Dr. Hourigan provided a series of presentations for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His workshop: Reaching Students with Autism Through the Arts: Implications for Inclusive Arts Classrooms is being considered for the National Roster of Presentations.

Dr. Hourigan has been published or is in press in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Arts Education Policy Review, The Journal of Music Teacher Education, The Journal of Research in Music Education, Contributions to Music Education, Teaching Music, The Music Educators Journal and The Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education. His article (along with Amy Hourigan) entitled Teaching Music to Children with Autism: Understandings and Perspectives was the most downloaded article for the Music Educators Journal for 2012. In addition, Dr. Hourigan has presented at state and national conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), The Society for Music Teacher Education, and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC now NAFME).



B.M. Eastern Illinois University

M. M. Michigan State University

Ph. D. The University of Michigan

    Current Position

Director, School of Music,

Associate Professor

Ball State University

National Workshop Leader/National Speakers Bureau- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts




(765) 285-5402

Ball State University



2010-2011 College of Fine Arts Dean’s Teaching Award

2010 Indiana Music Educators Association Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year