While at SRU, music education majors participate in a four-stage field experience process that begins during the freshman year. Field Experience 1: Observation involves 20 hours of observing in five areas of music education - elementary general music, elementary instrumental music, secondary general music, secondary vocal music, and secondary instrumental music. Field Experience 2: Exploration involves 20 hours of assisting in the field of music education. In this experience, students work with one music educator to assist him/her, for example, by running sectionals, demonstrating motions for a song, providing extra support to a student who needs assistance, or sharing a special musical talent with the students. Field Experience 3: Pre-Student Teaching is the traditional field experience, where students are placed in area K-12 schools to observe, assist, and teach in partnership with a practicing music educator. Finally, Field Experience 4: Student Teaching is a 16-week experience, which includes two eight-week placements, with practicing music educators in both an elementary and a secondary placement. Field experiences provide benefits both to the pre-service music educators and to the schools in which they complete their field experiences. Pre-service music educators benefit by having the opportunity to practice their teaching skills in real teaching situations and by learning from a variety of experienced music educators. The schools benefit by having a lower student-to-teacher ratio in their classes, as the field experience students take on some of the work typically done by the teacher, and by having the new perspective of the pre-service music educator.
Santa Fe Field Experience Immersion in Music
Music education majors travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a Field Experience Immersion in Music. Santa Fe is part of a " tri-cultural tradition," including Native American, Spanish, and Caucasian traditions, which is quite different from the diversity experienced in western PA. The first day in the schools was an overview of a variety of schools and music classes throughout the district. The students spent the remaining days in their field experience placements with the exception of the two days spent at the New Mexico Music Educators Association conference and one day where we saw two other area music programs. In the evenings, we had guest speakers relevant to music education, including arts partners and a teacher in the Santa Fe Public Schools who had dramatically increased the number of students in the choir in a very short amount of time. On the weekends, we engaged in sight-seeing and cultural exploration in Santa Fe. Students completed daily guided journalism, group reflection, and an impact paper as part of the course. Each student was formally observed by the instructor of the course while teaching through our university music field experience form and received a written final narrative evaluation at the end of the course. As a result of this course, students came to profound and frank realizations about hidden prejudices they had, the reality of socio-economic diversity, the differences in music education, the cultural differences that made New Mexico feel like a different country at times, and the aspects of music education and people that are the same everywhere.
1:1 Online Teaching Partnership
Students in the Flute, Oboe, and Bassoon Methods and Instrumental Methods courses Woodwind Methods course at SRU are paired with students in grades 7-12 to teach 1:1 instrumental lessons asynchronously through video. The partnership began in 2015 with the Karns City Area School District, under the direction of Mrs. Amanda Walters, and has grown to serve more than 175 different students in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Delaware, and Virginia, and more than 70 different music education majors since then.
Through this partnership, SRU music education majors have developed essential skills for teaching instrumental lessons through distance-learning and the students in grades 7-12 have received had the opportunity to develop their musicianship through a one-on-one lesson experience. Following the eight-week teaching experience in the teaching partnership, students are invited to SRU for a day to experience activities in music and physics and to tour the campus.
If you a 7th-12th grade instrumental music educator who is interested in getting involved in this partnership, please contact Dr. Melago at firstname.lastname@example.org.