Professor of Music Education
Don Ester, professor of music education, joined the Ball State University School of Music faculty in the fall of 1992. A 1980 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, he holds a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University, where he studied choral conducting with Lloyd Pfautsch, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Ester has taught in the public schools as well as at the university level and has served as a full-time church musician. He was previously the director of choral activities in the Bloomington, Illinois, Public Schools; instructor of music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and director of music ministries at the Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, Illinois.
Dr. Ester is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for choirs of all ages. He has conducted All-State Children’s Choirs in Indiana, South Dakota, Colorado, and Florida. Since 1990 he has presented over 125 clinics throughout the nation and served as guest conductor for over 75 festival choirs. He founded and directed the White River Youth Choir from 1994 to 2008, leading them on performing tours in the US, Brazil, and Japan. His research and publication focuses on music literacy pedagogy, the adolescent voice, and instructional strategies. Dr. Ester’s publications include articles in the Music Educators Journal, Choral Journal, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Contributions to Music Education, and Journal of Research in Singing. He is co-author of The Evaluation of Student Teachers Guidebook and a contributing author to Strategies for Teaching: Guide for Music Methods Classes and Spotlight on Transition To Teaching Music. Dr. Ester is also the author of Sound Connections: A Comprehensive Approach To Teaching Music Literacy.
Dr. Ester has served as coordinator of music education since 1998. His present responsibilities also include teaching undergraduate and graduate music education courses. He received the 1998 Ball State University Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2006 Indiana Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year Award, and the 2011 Ball State University Outstanding Faculty Academic Advisor Award. He has served on the board of the Indiana Choral Directors Association and the Indiana Music Educators Association. He is a past National Chair of the Society for Music Teacher Education. In 2020, Dr. Ester was named an Outstanding Hoosier Musician by the Indiana Music Educators Association.