Christopher Kendall Award

2020 Recipient

Ryan Hourigan (PhD ’07, music education)

Ryan Hourigan staking behind grand pianoDr. Hourigan holds degrees from Eastern Illinois University (BM), Michigan State University (MM in wind conducting), and a PhD in music education from The University of Michigan (’07). Dr. Hourigan currently teaches music education and is the director of the School of Music at Ball State University. He joined the faculty at Ball State in the fall of 2006 after nine years of teaching music at the secondary and university level. In 2010, he was named the Indiana Music Education Association Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year.

Currently in its fifth printing, Dr. Hourigan is the co-author (Alice Hammel) of Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach. 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. Dr. Hourigan and Hammel’s second book Teaching Music to Students with Autism was released in the fall 2013.

In 2009, Dr. Hourigan co-founded the Prism Project. This program provides an opportunity for Ball State students to gain skills in the area of teaching students with special needs. In 2013, Dr. Hourigan, along with Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans, expanded the Prism Project to the city of New Orleans and will be expanding to other cities around the United States in 2015.

Starting 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 now on the national roster of presentations through the Kennedy Center. He has since been added to the National Speaker’s Bureau for the John F. Kennedy Center.

Dr. Hourigan has been published or is in press in most of the major music education journals. His article (along with Amy Hourigan) entitled “Teaching Music to Children with Autism” was the most downloaded article for the Music Educators Journal for 2012.


Vulfpeck (Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss, and Joe Dart)


Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (Shannon McGinnis, Nicholas Hutchinson, and Nicholas Phan)


Christopher Koelsch


PRISM Quartet