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Nan L. McDonald

Professor of Music, Music Education

Coordinator, Music Education and Professional Studies

Office: M212
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Ed.D, University of San Diego
MA, Music Education, San Diego State University
BA, Music Education, San Diego State University


Nan L. McDonald, Ed.D., is currently Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance. With over 30 years of teaching experience in preschool, K-university level music education, integrated arts for classroom teachers, music and early literacy development, and classroom discipline and management, Dr. McDonald is actively involved in training both future and practicing music and classroom teachers. She coordinates the Music Education Fellowship Program and is the Project Director for the SDSU Performing Arts Troupe (partnered with Young Audiences of San Diego), a group of Music Education students who create and perform original shows for children and families in community and school settings.

In 2003, Dr. McDonald was awarded the prestigious “Monty”, the SDSU Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to the University for the SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. She has twice been designated as the Outstanding Faculty Member in both Liberal Studies (1999) and School of Music and Dance (2005) and has been honored as the California Outstanding University Music Educator (2000) by the California Music Educators Association. As one of five recipients campus-wide, Dr. McDonald received the 2011 SDSU President’s Leadership Award for her body of work that “exemplifies innovation, excellence, and entrepreneurship connecting SDSU to the community.”

Dr. McDonald is the author of numerous scholarly articles in national and international publications. She was a Program Author for Pearson Education/Scott Foresman, Silver Burdett Music’s K-8 national basal text series in music, Making Music © 2002, 2005 and Making Music With the Arts Across the Curriculum © 2008. She recently was part of a national author team for Pearson/ Silver Burdett Music/ Alfred Publication’s most recent all digital program in K-8 music, Interactive Music © 2013.  Dr. McDonald and SDSU colleague, Dr. Douglas Fisher, have written two books for classroom teacher education entitled Teaching Literacy Through the Arts: A Guidebook for Teachers by Guilford Publications © 2006, and Developing Arts-Loving Readers: Top Ten Questions Teachers are Asking about Integrated Arts Education published by Rowan & Littlefield © 2002. Her most recent solo publication is Handbook for K-8 Arts Integration: Purposeful Planning across the Curriculum, Pearson/ Allyn & Bacon © 2010. 

In addition to her writing and teaching background, Dr. McDonald co-authored and performed professionally in over 350 performances of Literature Alive, a music, dance, and drama performance series to promote reading in the elementary school. She was twice elected the Executive State Vice President of the California Music Educators Association (1994-1998) and continues to collaborate with many school districts and universities nationwide in professional growth offerings and curriculum development for practicing arts specialists and classroom teachers.