Music Education Research

November 1, 2012

Technology in Music Teacher Education

Filed under: Teacher Education, Technology Based Music Instruction — Tags: , — Rick Dammers @ 11:39 am

It feels good to be returning to this blog!  The arrival of twin daughters and assuming the post of department chair put new demands on my schedule. However, I’ve found that I’ve missed this process of reflecting on research through blogging and I’ve been pleased to see that this blog still attracts regular traffic, so I’m adding blogging back to my schedule.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the role of  technology in music teacher education. I’m working with Bill Bauer of Case Western Reserve University on a national survey on this subject. We’ll be presenting the results of our survey at the ATMI/CMS conference later this month.

So prior to our current study, what do we know about the role of technology in music teacher education?  This topic received a flurry of attention just over a decade ago, when the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) added a technology standard.  In perhaps the most direct published study, Price and Pan (2002) surveyed  69 music education programs in the southeastern United States. They found that 39% of these programs had a music technology class for music education majors, and that 30% had a required music education technology course. With the benefit of a historical perspective, it is fun to see that the top topics taught in these courses were 1. notation, 2. MIDI, 3. Internet, 4. sequencer, 5. hardware, and 6. software.  At that time 63% of these schools were planning on expanding the role of music technology in their curriculum. However, 55% cited lack of personnel and financial resources and 40% cited lack of training as inhibiting their efforts.

Looking at the role of technology in teacher education in general also provides helpful information.  Kliener et. al. (2007) conducted a survey of all of the initial teacher licensure programs in the United States through the National Center for Education Statistics – NCES. (It turns out that being associated with Title IV funding really boosts your survey response rate – they received 95% back!)  Fifty-one percent of the responding schools had three or four credit stand alone technology courses, while 34% had one or two credit courses. Ninety three percent of the respondents reported addressing technology in methods courses, 79% reported addressing technology in field experiences, and 71% reported addressing technology in content courses.  When addressing outcomes, 67% agreed strongly, and 32% agreed somewhat that their graduates possessed the needed to skills to integrate technology into their classroom instruction.

Kleiner et. al.  found that all programs addressed technology to some extent, and that 88% taught using technology to assess student achievement regarding state standards,  82% addressed using technology for digital portfolios, 79% addressed using technology to assess and evaluation student progress, and 52% addressed the use of technology for distance learning.

The recent removal of the NASM music technology standard has sparked a number of  recent studies and discussions.  At the 2011 ATMI/CMS, David B. Williams and Peter Webster presented the results of survey which focused on identifying music technology competencies in music programs (not specific to music education) based upon music faculty responses.  The top eight competencies were: 1. Use a notation program; 2. Record and mix a performance with digital audio; 3. Understand copyright and fair use; 4. Burn a CD or DVD; 5. Edit digital audio; 6. Basic understanding of acoustics and audiology; 7. Use presentation software and connect to projector or smartboard; 8. Set up a computer music workstation and troubleshoot problems. It is interesting to note that more competencies were rated highly for music education/therapy majors than any other music major. I’m looking forward to hearing the results of David and Peter’s follow-up survey at ATMI/CMS, which will examine at how these competencies are being addressed in the music curriculum.

Based on these studies, and your knowledge of technology in music teacher education, what do you think that we will find in our study?  I’d be curious to hear your predictions!

Kleiner, B., Thomas, N., & Lewis, L. (2007). Educational technology in teacher education program for licensure (NCES 2008-040). National Center for Educational Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education: Washington, D.C.

Price, H. and Pan, K. (2002). A survey of music education technology at colleges in the southeastern USA. Journal of Technology in Music Learning, (1). 55-66.

Williams, D. and Webster, P. (2011). Music Technology Skills and Conceptual Understanding for Undergraduate Music Students: A National Survey. Presentation at ATMI/CMS 2011, Richmond, VA.


August 30, 2009

Choosing to Teach Music

Filed under: Teacher Education — Rick Dammers @ 8:31 am

Thornton, L. & Bergee, M. (2008). Career choice influences among music education students at majors schools of music. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education (177) 7-17.

Linda Thornton and Martin Bergee conducted an interesting survey exploring why students choose to major in music education. Their sample included 242 undergraduate students from music schools at 12 large research universities in the United States.

Participants were asked to indicate the  influences that led them to choose music education.  The results for the top influences were: influence of ‘important others’ 24%; love of music 20%; love of teaching 11%; and  participation in a musical organization 10%. These results mirrors what I see in my interviews of prospective music education students at Rowan University. While music is a central component in their decisions, the social factors play a critical role as well.

Another interesting aspect of the study explored the students’ post-college plans. The respondents’ plans included:  70%  teaching, 13% graduate school, 5% leave music, and 4% music (non-teaching). When asked how to best recruit future music teachers, the respondents’ top two suggestions were: providing opportunities to teach (18%), and demonstrations of job satisfaction (15%).

Recruiting future music teachers has been a topic of concern across the country. It is certainly an ongoing priority of NJMEA here in New Jersey.  This study points to the important role that music teachers play as our best resource for recruiting future music teachers.  As ‘important others’ and professional role models who have daily contact with potential music majors, they have a great deal of influence. Ethically, teachers need to provide counsel that is in their students’ best interest, of course. However, by accurately reflecting their job satisfaction to their students and by working to provide opportunities for peer and cadet teaching, teachers can share their excitement for music teaching and help their students make a more informed career choice.

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