Friday, December 26, 2008

Semester Five of a Music Ed Student: Part I

This by far was my strangest semester - Three of my classes took the last month off, and I had five juries. Let me explain:

Juries first: my major and minor instruments each had one (trombone and organ, respectively), I had a jury for my percussion methods class, I accompanied someone's jury, and I had a conducting final. (sure, these last two might not really count as juries, but the conducting was for a grade, and the accompaniment was during an official jury time)

Now, the three classes that took the month off were two education classes and a counterpoint class. For Counterpoint, the month was to be spend composing a two-part Bach invention that followed a long set of guidelines and, naturally, followed all the rules of eighteenth-century counterpoint.

The ed classes, however, require some explanation to make my next point.
  • Students were to log all their clinical hours during the semester, and the scheduling would have to work around their already-existing classes
  • The instrumental methods course was one block long. That means that everything about how to teach band and orchestra and jazz band, marching band, and everything else, in half a semester.
The new system proved to be much more accommodating to the needs of your average college student:
  • Half of the clinical hours are done in the summer; nonetheless, most people I talked to actually logged two to three times the required ammount for various reasons.
  • For the remaining hours, the last month is set aside not only to give the students some breathing room in their schedule, but also to go more in-depth with planning for and following through with instruction
  • The instrumental methods course was expanded to a whole semester, to allow not only for that last month, but also to spend more time on everything, to talk about music ed advocacy and to write a personal philosophy of music education, and to give more time for all this information to sink in.
The moral to all of this, for all the teacher educators and all those in charge of scheduling, is that the best gift you can give a music ed student is the gift of time. This post is dedicated to the people responsible for making this transition possible; my hat goes off to you.

A restful break to everyone, and best wishes for this next semester,

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