Josh Palkki

Choral Music Education
Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
Cal State Long Beach


Joshua Palkki joined the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach as Assistant Professor of Vocal/Choral Music Education in Fall of 2016. At CSULB, he leads the University Choir, teaches courses in music education (including choral repertoire and pedagogy), interfaces with the College of Education, and mentors graduate students in music education. Dr. Palkki is passionate about teacher education and preparing preservice teachers to be competent and caring teachers with the knowledge and skills to address issues of social justice through music education.

Palkki earned a PhD in Music Education (Choral Conducting cognate) from Michigan State University in 2016. His dissertation, advised by Dr. Cynthia Taggart, explored the experiences of transgender students in high school choral programs. In 2016, he received a university-wide Emerging Progress Toward Excellence in Diversity award as well as the MSU Council of Graduate Students Disciplinary Leadership Award for his work on LGBTQ inclusion in music education. He was also a recipient of the MSU Dissertation Completion Fellowship. During his tenure at MSU, he studied conducting with Dr. Sandra Snow, Dr. Jonathan Reed, and Dr. David Rayl. In addition to his membership in university choirs, Dr. Palkki has performed with professional and semi-professional choirs including The Choral Project (San José, CA), Cantate Chamber Singers (Washington, D.C.) and the Sedona Academy of Chamber Singers (Sedona, AZ) and can be heard on the Clarion and Raven labels with these ensembles.

In 2011, while earning a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Northern Arizona University with Dr. Edith Copley, Palkki was a finalist in the graduate division of the 2011 American Choral Directors Association national conducting competition. In 2011, he was named Outstanding Graduate Student in the Northern Arizona University School of Music. An active guest conductor and clinician, he conducted the Nevada Middle School All-State Choir in 2016 and has served on the faculty of both the Northern Arizona University Curry Summer Music Camp and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Dr. Palkki has served as guest conductor or clinician in California, Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and Nevada.

In 2001-02, while completing his undergraduate degree in Vocal/General Music Education at Ball State University, Joshua was a guest student at San José State University where he studied conducting with Professor Elena Sharkova and Dr. Charlene Archibeque. Palkki served as choral director at Hoover Middle School and Lincoln High School, two performing arts schools in San José, California. He also taught choir and handbells at Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland. During his tenure at Norwood he prepared a choir to perform in the American Ballet Theatre production of The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center and was selected as a conducting fellow for the 2013 Chorus America Children’s/Youth Choir Conducting Master Class at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. In 2012, Norwood granted him funds for travel to Kenya, which enabled collaboration with Children of Kibera Foundation (now part of the Kenya Education Fund) and Red Rose School.

A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Joshua identifies very closely with Garrison Keillor’s tales of Lake Wobegon. In addition to great choral music, he has a keen interest in all things Finnish, LGBTQ and gender issues in music education, culturally relevant teaching, and broader issues of music education and social justice. Dr. Palkki has presented at state and national research and practitioner conferences including the NAfME National In-Service National Conference, the Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium, LGBTQ Studies in Music Education III, and the ACDA National Conference. His writing appears in the Choral Journal, Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, Journal of Research in Music Education, Research and Issues in Music Education, and Research Studies in Music Education. Joshua currently serves on the editorial board of TOPICS, a practitioner journal published by the May Day Group.