The way music teachers are recruited, trained and evaluated is evolving, and in the middle of the conversation about its future are the music education faculty, students and alumni at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Last month, five members of the music ed department, along with four PhD students, attended the Society for Music Teacher Education’s Symposium on Music Teacher Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Assistant Professor of Music Education David Rickels—who is on the national board for SMTE—says the information and experiences shared at this conference are crucial in keeping music education relevant.
“This is the only conference on teaching music teachers,” he says. “Others are more broadly related to music education, but this one is so influential because it brings together researchers and pedagogues to share—even shape—current thinking about music teacher education.”
And that, Rickels explains, is core to the mission of the music ed department at CU-Boulder. It’s why our faculty, students and alumni have made it a point to have a strong presence at the biennial gathering. This year, CU-Boulder led 16 sessions over the course of three days, running the gamut on everything from mentorship to licensure.
Associate Professor of Music Education Margaret Berg presented on the Middle School Ensemble program during a poster session, sharing lessons learned and discoveries made. “It’s great to be able to go to sessions designed to share ideas about the programs and different practices of other universities,” continues Rickels. “I heard from people who have used the same kinds of classroom technologies that I’ve been researching and incorporating.
“It’s very current, and that’s what I like most about it.”
Rickels says the conference also offered an opportunity for faculty to reconnect with alumni, who continue to be a part of the conversation about music teacher education. “Our graduates were there presenting, influencing the dialogue.
“We also had current students—who aren’t even in the field yet—already getting involved. That’s exciting.”
Among music education programs nationwide, Rickels says CU-Boulder had one of the biggest groups of current students, alumni and faculty in attendance at the SMTE conference.
To read about the other sessions presented by our attendees, visit the SMTE website.