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Interdisciplinary efforts in graduate education
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UD introduces new graduate program in music education
UD instructor in classical guitar Christiaan Taggart teaches Guitar for Music Teachers in this year's Summer Institute for Music Education. [Photo by Kathy Atkinson]
This summer, UD's Department of Music introduced a new graduate program in music education that students can complete in four summers. The first Summer Institute for Music Education ran from June 20 through July 29 this year, offering three graduate music education courses and three professional education workshops.
"The purpose of the Summer Institute is for music educators to earn a master of music, or to attend professional development workshops taught by well-known clinicians to further their pedagogical competence, supplement their careers and ultimately enhance music education for their students as a whole," according to Suzanne Burton, associate professor for music education and director of graduate studies in UD's Department of Music.
The institute is open to all music education professionals throughout the United States. Graduate fellowships are available, which cover partial tuition. In addition, Delaware Educator Scholarships are available to teachers in Delaware public elementary and secondary schools.
Summer format provides accessibility for teachers
"The Summer Institute allows teachers to maintain their jobs and earn a degree over four summers," adds Burton. "Moreover, they may take specialized workshops and seminars during the summer when there is less likelihood for conflict with their busy teaching and performance schedules."
Patrick FitzGerald is a band and orchestra teacher at two elementary schools in Prince George's County, Md. " The main reason I chose this program is that it is one of the few schools in the area to offer a summer-only music education master's degree program. Being able to take classes over summer break is very helpful, in that I can focus more on both grad school classes during the summer term and then focus back on my teaching job during the school year."
"I'm involved in music education because of the opportunity to pass down and share musical traditions, knowledge and experiences with young children, and I enrolled in classes this summer with the intention of finishing up my master's degree," commented music teacher Sarah Aherne. "For me as a Delaware teacher, the course pricing, summer schedule and high quality faculty were the deciding factors in choosing this program."
Music faculty share their expertise
The Summer Institute for Music Education includes degree specializations in choral, general or instrumental music. Courses, seminars and workshops. Ranging from beginning guitar and song writing to music technology, conducting and brushing up on practical skills are taught by highly experienced UD faculty and visiting professionals in music education.
Professor of music history and literature Russell Murray taught one of the graduate courses this summer. "Making music history relevant to the in-service music teacher is a challenge. But since part of my research deals with how music was taught and learned in the Renaissance, it gave me a chance to teach this material to students who, as teachers, had an immediate connection to it. It was fun to see their reaction to issues from the past that aren't that far removed from those they deal with on a daily basis."
"I had a wonderful experience with my summer classes," commented music teacher and performer Jane Cannon, who teaches elementary orchestra in the Brandywine School District. " The songwriting class was outstanding, and the guitar class was excellent as well. Since I already have a master's degree in music, I enrolled for the professional development classes, and will take more."
Associate professor Suzanne Burton with graduate students in her Materials and Methods of Research class. [Photo by Kathy Atkinson]
Adds Burton, "I love to teach teachers because they have classroom experience. Their experience in the classroom makes course material more relevant as they make connections between what they learn with what they teach. It enriches the learning experience for everyone."
"I became a teacher because I love music and wanted to share what I know with young musicians," adds FitzGerald. "I feel that I will be a better teacher for having been involved with this program and I look forward to next summer for my upcoming classes."
"The development of this program," comments music department chair Paul Head, "is an important step forward in bringing our nationally and internationally recognized faculty before a new audience that will undoubtedly raise our institutional profile throughout the entire northeast region. Our goal is to connect with outstanding teachers from Virginia to Vermont!"