Review of CFF Conference Session. (College Faculty Forum)

By Lehrer, Phyllis Alpert | American Music Teacher, June-July 2002 | Go to article overview

Review of CFF Conference Session. (College Faculty Forum)


Lehrer, Phyllis Alpert, American Music Teacher


At the MTNA National Conference in Cincinnati, much enthusiasm was generated by the CFF-sponsored panel discussion, Training the Future Teacher: A Look at Present and Future Programs, prompting us to summarize the fine presentations here. We hope readers will send responses as well as suggestions for future conference sessions.

Our first speaker was Richard Green, director of music at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. He directed us to contrast our seemingly universal expectation that musicians will teach with questions about how educating teachers is valued, particularly on the graduate level. Are music administrators more interested in their new concert halls and famous faculty "stars" than in quality teaching and student learning?

Many of us were surprised to learn that the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) has required that undergraduate curricula in music performance include pedagogy instruction, yet the guidelines for M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in performance only show pedagogy studies to be "optional."

Observing that this was indeed the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the D.M.A. degree (by a committee of musicians and scholars who represented NASM and MTNA), Green reminded us that the degree was clearly created for "musicians who intended careers in higher education-that is, those who intended to dedicate their careers to music making and, equally important, teaching." Yet of the 580 schools or departments of music in the United States accredited by NASM, only 156 offer the D.M.A. degree. Of these, only three schools offer the D.M.A. in pedagogy, and another six offer the degree in pedagogy and performance. It is quite ironic that we in higher education recruit D.M.A.s to teach undergraduates the NASM-required pedagogy they themselves have not studied. As a member of a group who will assess the fifty-year-old D.M.A. degree at the next NASM national meeting, Green pledged that he "will argue that it is time to align the content of the curriculum with the goals of the profession by placing the study of pedagogy firmly within the core values of the degree."

Nelita True, NCTM, former chair of the piano department at the Eastman School of Music and a distinguished member of its artist faculty, described new plans in the works at Eastman for a certificate in the "Art of Teaching." This certificate would be available to members of all applied departments who are presently putting together a curriculum suitable to their particular discipline. The hope is that a bridge can be built between performance and pedagogy, with students learning about general issues in music education (Learning styles is one example.) as well as particular facets of teaching and its relationship to performance.

True worries that performance majors often enter the world of the beginning student without preparation, expecting instead to leap into a class of advanced students. Yet she and her colleagues know that conservatory students want and need to be concerned with advanced literature, and high performance standards must be maintained.

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