a. All courses in the Division of Education and Recreation must have been satisfactorily completed before undertaking the professional student teaching experience.
b. All professional courses in the School of Music must have been satisfactorily completed before undertaking the student teaching experience. This specifically includes all Theory and Aural Skills courses (including successful completion of Aural Skills exam*), at least three of the four Music History courses, all music methods courses, all required conducting courses, and all required instruments courses (exceptions may occasionally be made in this last category to resolve scheduling conflicts).
c. Field Experience – Music Education majors entering the Fall of 2000 and after: According to New York State Regulations (est. 1999), music education majors who will plan to apply for State Certification after February 1, 2004 will have to document 100 clock hours of observations of professional music teachers and practice teaching in schools in order to be approved for student teaching. 75 of these hours will be acquired by taking either MED 210, “Field Experiences in Music Education,” or EDUC 240, “Teaching in Urban America” during the Mayterm of either your freshman or sophomore years. The other 15 hours will be fulfilled as part of requirements for methods classes.
d. Field Experience – Music Education majors enrolled prior to Fall of 2000: The field experience regulation described above applies to any music education graduate that does not complete all requirements and applies for State Certification before February 1, 2004. Otherwise, the old Observation/Practicum requirement explained below applies.
*The music ed sight-singing exam will be given as a part of the final exam in Aural Skills III. If not passed, the exam must be repeated each semester until passed. Music ed majors MUST take sight-singing for credit until the exam is passed. (Faculty action, 03 SEP ’90)
Student Teaching Length
The student teaching experience will consist of a full semester in the field, a half-semester in an elementary-level placement and a half-semester in a secondary-level placement. A required component will include the annual NYSSMA Conference just following Thanksgiving weekend.
a. Student Teaching Orientation is on the first day of classes. You will officially start your placement the day after Labor Day. You may have Seminar meetings the week before.
b. Placements will run until the end of the fall semester (music student teaching is not permitted in the spring semester, except in rare circumstances).
c. Seminar will generally meet on Tuesday evenings on the West Seneca campus. Some of the sessions will be held in conjunction with Education Department Seminar. The Seminar syllabus will explain these dates.
d. Attendance at the NYSSMA Winter Conference is required. Details will be explained in Seminar. The conference begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day. You will need to return from Thanksgiving break in time to attend the conference on that Sunday.
e. Following the NYSSMA Conference, Seminar will continue to meet in West Seneca.
a. Arrangements for housing and necessary travel for student teaching experience are your responsibility. This is a pre-professional experience: one aspect of professional life is taking responsibility for one’s own housing and transportation. The Music Education Coordinator and the Education Department will assist you as much as possible in making these arrangements. It will be necessary for you to return to the campus for periodic meetings of the student teaching seminar, Artist Series, possible weekend research, etc. Therefore, access to private transportation of some sort is most useful. We endeavor to so place students so at least one of the group of students teaching near one another will have a car. Should that not be possible, we will endeavor to insure a safe and reliable means of transportation to and from the campus.
Housing may often be obtained in the area of the school where you will be interning through a church in the area, through alumni in the area or through teachers in the school. This rarely proves to be a problem.
c. On-campus housing
In the event that you need to be on the campus for a brief time before the start of school, and for the week and a half to 2 weeks following the conclusion of your student teaching experience, the following guidelines apply:
1. The housing office of the college will endeavor to house you in a dormitory room on a cost-per-night basis both before students return for the beginning of school and at the end of the semester. It is unlikely that the housing office will be unable to accommodate you in a dorm room. Normal drop-out, unexpected illness, etc. all contribute to the availability of beds near the end of the semester.
2. In the unlikely event that all dorm beds should be full, the college has guest housing, both in the dorms and in homes in the community, which will be made available to you at a most reasonable rate. You will still have a private place to call your own for the brief period of time that you will be on the campus.
It is important for music education students to have opportunities to observe first-hand experienced practicing professionals early in their training in order for them to: (a) understand the nature and practical realities of the profession, (b) be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not to pursue a career as a music educator, and (c) gain insight regarding techniques, strategies, methods, etc. To that end, the School of Music has initiated an observation/practicum requirement for all music educator majors.
Observation: An observation involves attendance in a formal music class, rehearsal, or lesson taught or directed by a professional music teacher. The observer may participate in activities, but the purpose is to simply observe the teacher’s strategies, methods, techniques, etc.
Practicum: It is important for music education students to not only observe, but to also gain practical experience as a music teacher. “Practicum” involves the actual teaching or directing of a lesson, class, or rehearsal under the supervision of a professional music teacher. For instance, a music education student may be asked by a professional teacher to work with a section, ensemble, or individual in an orchestra or choir. The student could be asked to teach a private lesson. In such situations, the music education student is always answerable to the professional teacher.
Observation or Practicum Unit: A “unit” of observation or practicum experience is considered to be an entire class, lesson, or rehearsal. These situations will vary in time from 15 minutes (as in the case of some in-school private lesson) to an hour or more for a rehearsal (band, choir, orchestra, musical, etc). In order for the music education student to obtain maximum benefit from an observation, it is important that the entire instructional period be observed. However, a student could observe a class or rehearsal and, during the course of it, be asked to teach a portion of the class or lead a sectional rehearsal while the remainder of the ensemble continues to rehearse, thus obtaining practicum experience also. While there is no specified requirement, students are strongly encourage to seek a balance between the number of observation and practicum experiences. In other words, a student should not only observe, but also seek opportunities to gain “hands-on” experience. Items on the documentation form will direct the student to indicate whether the situation is either observation, practicum, or both.
Requirement Terminology & Definitions
Each music education major will be required to document (see “Documentation” below) 100 units of observation/practicum before they can be approved for student teaching. This amounts to 10 observations per semester beginning with the first semester of the freshman year. Students transferring into a music education major from either another school, or another major will be required to fulfill the full 60 units even though they will have less time to do so.
Qualifications for Observation/Practicum Experience: Any formal music class, lesson, or rehearsal in a formal educational elementary or secondary institution (i.e., public school, Christian school, parochial school, etc.) taught by a professional music educator qualifies for observation/practicum experience. Observation/practicum experiences are assigned in methods classes in both the Music and Education Departments. These experiences can be documented for the music education program requirement as well as for the classes. For example, an observation submitted in fulfillment of a requirement for the Foundations of Education class (EDUC 217A) may also be documented and submitted toward the music education program requirement provided that it meets the qualifications explained above. Similarly, observation/practicum submitted in fulfillment of a music education methods course such as Elementary School Methods (MED 405A) may also be submitted for this requirement. Any questionable situations should be approved by the Music Ed Coordinator before they are submitted.
Documentation: Official documentation forms must be obtained from the Music Ed Coordinator. They are to be filled out completely and in duplicate; one copy is to be given to the Music Ed Coordinator to be kept on file, and one copy is to be kept by the student. Both copies must be signed by the teacher being observed or supervising the practicum experience. (Completed and signed forms may be photocopied). It is the student’s responsibility to see to it that his/her file is accurate and up to date. The student may contact the Music Ed Coordinator to examine his/her file.
Scheduling Observation/Practicum: Observation/practicum experiences are to be scheduled by the student. Schedules and telephone numbers for teachers in the Houghton area are available from the Music Ed Coordinator. The teacher may be contacted directly no less than two days prior to the anticipated observation/practicum. (Three to five days are recommended). Students are strongly encouraged to schedule experiences in their hometown areas during Houghton vacations. If a student intends to be absent from a Houghton College class or large ensemble rehearsal, permission must be obtained from the teacher or director of the class or ensemble before it is scheduled. Permission to be excused is entirely up to the discretion of the teacher or director. An observation/practicum experience should not be scheduled such that a student is absent from a rehearsal within two weeks of an ensemble’s performance. The student is expected to exercise responsible early planning and discernment in the scheduling of these experiences.
Time-frame: All 60 units must be documented and on file with the Coordinator of Music Education by the end of January the semester before student teaching. When the Teacher Education Committee meets in January (generally at the end of the month) to consider approving students for student teaching approval, this requirement for music education majors will be considered along with other criteria. At that time, students will be notified regarding their observation/practicum requirement status.
Unfulfilled Requirement: If a student lacks the required number by the time the Teacher Education Committee meets, the Committee will defer approval for student teaching until they are notified by the Coordinator of Music Education that the requirement has been met. Depending upon the number of remaining observation/practicum experiences needed, the student may need to submit a formal Letter of Petition to the Coordinator of Music Education. It must contain the following information: (a) an explanation as to why the requirement has not yet been met, and (b) what the student intends to do to remedy the situation. The school of music will review the decision and make recommendations accordingly.