College of Music program encourages tomorrow's music teachers

The Trying on Teaching program at the College of Music is a continuum of teaching and mentoring experiences in which middle school band students are taught by high school students, who are mentored by undergraduate music students, who in turn are advised by graduate music students.

Developed in 2008 by James Austin, professor of music education and associate dean of undergraduate studies, and Peter Miksza, assistant professor of music education, the goal is to attract the next generation of music teachers.

High school music students receive hands-on teaching experience to give them a better understanding of music education as a career. They receive a $350 stipend for their participation. Middle school students receive individualized instruction that supplements the instruction they receive in their school music programs. Trying on Teaching also provides CU-Boulder music education undergraduates and graduates, like CU music student Derek Hebert (pictured above), with mentoring experience.

The goal is to begin reversing a nationwide shortage of quality music teachers, especially in K–12 grades. Data is collected from the student teachers about a variety of factors—motivation, commitment, and teaching effectiveness—to fine-tune the program. “Music is one of the most beautiful things on earth, and teaching is one of the most noble activities,” said Miksza. “When you combine the two, music education makes a great career.