Professional Certification: What Is Your Teaching Philosophy? Part II

By Wallace, Deborah | American Music Teacher, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Professional Certification: What Is Your Teaching Philosophy? Part II


Wallace, Deborah, American Music Teacher


Even before Part I of this column, which appeared in the October/November AMT, went to print, requests for presentations at local association meetings and sessions at state association conferences were pouring in to the MTNA National Certification Commissioners. A philosophy statement is the first required element in the MTNA Professional Certification Program final comprehensive examination and in the portfolio. The commissioners had been wondering how to address the issue because it seemed to be a weak point for many NCTM candidates.

Teaching philosophies, mission statements, declarations of responsibility ... whatever we may call them, are deeply personal and reflect our individual intent and define the reasons at the core of our decision for becoming music teachers. Yet, every one of the eight NCC members granted permission for their publication, without exception. As the NCC member who was asked to compile these philosophies for the MTNA membership, I extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation for such generosity, cooperation and commitment.

It has been my experience that people continue to explore and study subjects that inform their individual value system and enrich their lives. As a university faculty member, it is my privilege to share my artistic value system and enthusiasm for music and the arts with my students during studio lessons and lecture classes. My goal during these brief moments is to help the student value music and choose to make music a part of their life through time spent practicing the art of music making and by attending arts events. With these goals in mind, I attend arts events with my students and work diligently to ensure students have meaningful musical experiences during their lessons or lecture classes. I believe these values are transferable to life, as I have observed students attending arts events long after the grade has been submitted and have even found students practicing that "special" moment from the lesson, as well as listening to a recording in the library of a piece they heard for the first time during a concert. When students seek these musical opportunities, they have taken ownership of their own edification and have become life-long learners as well as human beings who value the rich artistic experiences available to us all."

--Michael Benson, NCTM

East Central Division

Music is a wonder! Since the ancient Greeks, people have believed that music can and does influence human behavior. The study of music and participation in music activities can enrich the joy, sense of self and confidence with which we face each day. Studies indicate that students benefit in many other subject areas, develop self-esteem and self-discipline, and are ultimately more successful in general when they pursue the study of music. All these are good reasons to include music in our regular routine, but most importantly, we should have music in our lives because it is beautiful. Music touches each individual in a very personal way, and it adds depth and richness to our very existence.

The study of music should be a positive experience. It should be fun! The best experiences are achieved through confident, well-prepared, technically strong performances and activities. We will study note reading, rhythm, music form and history. Sight reading, ensemble performances, memorization, solo performance and group activities will add to our competence and enjoyment.

Ultimately, we will gain musical skills, social skills, organization and time management skills. We will build strong relationships with music friends and teachers. Most importantly, we will experience music and the joy and richness it brings into our lives.

--Elaine Dyches, NCTM

Southwest Division

Education is my primary concern, not necessarily limited to the topic of music.

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