Section 10.B: Music Education Licensure

Music Student Handbook

Section Contents

Music Education Licensure

Students wishing to teach music in the public schools must major in Music Education in order to ultimately receive their teaching license from the State of Minnesota. Students who seek to become Music Education majors must also apply to and complete interviews with the Department of Education. This application process is normally completed during the sophomore year. Music Education majors must complete all Music major requirement and all additional courses required for licensure by the Music and Education departments, including practice teaching.

Because of the number of courses involved in becoming certified as a music educator, it is imperative for students to seek assistance from an advisor in the Department of Music as early as possible. The sequencing of courses, program changes due to State requirements, etc., necessitate an advisor’s assistance. Any student interested in double teaching licensure, a semester abroad, or who begins the major after the freshman year should be prepared to consider additional ninth and tenth semesters for completion of program requirements.

For the Major in Music Education there will be a formal interview with members of the music education faculty at the time of the Sophomore Review (See: Sophomore Review in Section 10.E). In addition, the Audition for a Music Major conducted at the conclusion of two semesters of study on the primary instrument, will be assessed before admission to the Music Education major is granted.

Student teaching is required in every area in which licensure is desired; this will necessitate an additional January Interim Experience or partial semester of student teaching if double licensure is elected. Lessons and ensemble participation are not usual during the student teaching semester; exceptions to this rule are allowed only by petition to the Education Department.

Regarding Education Courses

Music Education majors need to be aware of the Education Department standards for admission to their professional program. Formal application is made as part of the course Social Foundations of Education (EDU 230). Special attention is directed to the Career Experience requirements: of the two required course possibilites in this area, the Career Orientation to Teaching (EDU 268) is preferred. If this is done, then the other required January course may not be career exploration or internship experiences, since there is a limit to one course of this type. One should confer with the Education Department to understand the “blocks” of courses (2.25, 1.25, and 1.75). In addition, two music education courses are taken concurrently (EDU 360 and MUS 378).

Program Requirements

Please note that all techniques courses are offered in alternate years, so the individual course of study should be arranged with this in mind. Music of World Cultures (MUS 102) is required of all music education students and is best taken during the spring semester of the first or second year. The courses Music Methods (EDU 360) and Classroom Music Methods K-12 (MUS 378) are only offered during the spring semester. In addition, those seeking licensure are required to include a course in dance in their preparation. Approved courses include Social Dance, Aerobic Dance, Modern, Ballet, and Jazz Dance. Two of three required Writing (WRIT) courses are provided in the major program for those choosing the education emphasis. Those, together with the student’s WRIT credit from his or her First Term Seminar, complete the writing requirement for General Education. In addition, students must complete the Piano Proficiency (through the music theory sequence) and Improvisation (through a course, logbook, or jazz ensemble participation) requirements for the Department of Music.

Piano Proficiency Policy

All students majoring in music must take piano proficiency instruction as part of the normal course load for Music Theory (MUS 103-104, MUS 211-212).

For All Music Students:

  • All Music Theory students are required to take piano proficiency instruction as part of the normal course load of the theory sequence. This is part of a separate course sequence in the first year (MUS 103-104) and incorporated in the MUS 211-212 courses in the second year. Skills are developed in basic technique, chord progressions, harmonizing, improvising, transposing, and sight-reading. Weekly assignments are made and weekly checks are graded for points. All grades earned for piano proficiency are figured into the semester’s grade for the courses.

For Music Education Students:

  • Students who pass each semester’s work in Keyboard Skills for all four semesters of Music Theory automatically satisfy the Piano Proficiency requirement for the Music Education emphasis.
  • Students pursuing Music Education who do not earn an average grade of at least 80% for piano proficiency during any one semester will be required to demonstrate an adequate skill level by passing an alternate Piano Proficiency Exam for that semester. These checks must be taken in sequence, as material builds from one check to the next.
  • Every effort is made to advise students of the need for remedial instruction at whatever point in the Music Theory sequence where the need becomes apparent. Music Education students who choose not to seek additional instruction and complete the Piano Proficiency requirement make a decision for which they alone assume responsibility; they will be unable to pursue education licensure at Gustavus.
  • Both the Statement of Intent to Major in Music and the Sophomore Review process check on the status of the student in regard to the Piano Proficiency requirement. These checkpoints should indicate progress toward successful completion of the requirement.

Improvisation Requirement

One of the requirements of the State of Minnesota is that persons seeking music education licensure be creative musicians, comfortable with improvisation as an essential teaching tool. It is highly desirable that music educators be enough in command of their performance idiom that they are able to make music without reading from notation, that they are able to perform in a musically satisfying manner while improvising. The results do not have to be in a particular style or genre (jazz for the trumpet player, country fiddling for the violinist, baroque ornamentation for the oboist, and chorale preludes for the organist); rather, the individual should be able to use the instrument of choice to improvise in a stylistically appropriate fashion.

As musicians, it is important that we all become confident in expressing ourselves without depending on written notation. Improvisation causes one to think in a “creative” manner, making musical sense without the usual stimulus provided by the written page. At the beginning, this may not be a natural process, but as experience and successes build upon each other, one’s musicianship will grow and the individual will become more confident as an all-around musician. The chance to create multiple responses to musical situations will provide the student with new insights into composition, and as one analyzes what is played, one will improve the ability to recall material and identify key elements aurally.

At Gustavus, there are several avenues to develop and demonstrate one’s skill in improvisation: coursework, ensemble participation, and independent study approach. It is also possible for a student to demonstrate improvisation skills and establish proficiency in a private audition; such auditions are usually arranged during the Sophomore Review process. Otherwise, participation for a full year in one of the jazz ensembles will provide this experience as will completion of Jazz Improvisation (MUS 117), January Interim Experience courses, and individual work under guidance of a private instructor. A workbook on improvisation is available from the Department of Music Office and, if selected for use by Music Education students, should be completed in time for the Sophomore Review.

Improvisatory work is also included as part of several courses including MUS 103, 104, 211, 212, 207, and 378. In addition, a form verifying primary instrument Instrumental Competency by one of the above avenues must be completed by each Music Education student and filed in the Department Chair’s office before the Application for Student Teaching can be signed by the Department Chair.

Advising Sheets for Music Education

Revised: August 2011