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Professional certification: what is your teaching philosophy? Part II.

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. In addition to the other arts, subject areas also closely related to the study of piano include math, science, language and history.

It is my goal to help each student feel confident and self-assured, from the very first lesson. Further, it is my hope that this will not be perceived as a corrective, remedial process or drudgery. All concepts and skills will be introduced sequentially and reinforced at each student's cognitive level and physical capability, with careful and conscientious attention to individual learning styles and strengths.

Whether or not a parent or student intends music study to be serious or career-oriented, all students will receive the same quality of instruction. Lessons will include theory, technique and a wide variety of repertoire. Each student deserves the best of my efforts to prepare for the opportunity to enjoy music as a lifelong pursuit. It enriches the lives of all who understand and appreciate it.

My personal challenge is to remain positive, supportive and joyful throughout the process, while maintaining high standards of professionalism. My success as a teacher would be measured by a dual outcome: first, that each student would remember their lessons as pleasant experiences and be glad that we had studied together; second, that they would find joy, solace and reassurance through music whether played and enjoyed privately or shared with family, friends and others.

--Deborah Wallace, NCTM

Northwest Division

Now that you've read these philosophies, please find your copy of the October/November AMT, and read the NCC philosophies in that issue again. There are at least two points that all eight have in common; you may find more. One commonality is that teaching music is a joyful pursuit in which we seek to impart that abiding delight and wonderment as an integral part of teaching. The other is that we teach to inform and equip our students with the skills to allow them to pursue the enjoyment of music for the rest of their lives; not for passing grades, or winning competitions or for the elevation of the teacher's reputation, but for the enrichment it brings to each person who has benefited from careful, dedicated study. How very special and altruistic are these "ripples" that reach beyond today, promoting future supporters of the performing arts.

Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series about teaching philosophies.

Newly Certified

MTNA is proud to acknowledge the following newly certified music teachers: (As of October 2, 2006)

Arizona: Mika K. Inouye, Tucson, Piano

Idaho: Christine W. Jensen, Payette, Piano

Illinois: M. Laura Forbes, Lisle, Piano

Missouri: Ying-Yu Yeh, Kansas City, Piano

North Carolina: Frank D. Pittman, Durham, Piano

New York: Yiyi Ku, Wading River, Piano

Ohio: Rachel Kramer, Cincinnati, Piano

Oregon: Alma C. Marianos, Salem, Piano

Oregon: Crystal Renee Zimmerman, Eugene, Piano

Utah: Heather K. Smith, Centerville, Piano

Washington: Doreen Slaugh, Moses Lake, Piano

Compiled by Deborah Wallace, NCTM
2007 Conference Activities

Activity Date Time

Certification Exams Friday, March 23 8:45 A.M.-12:15 P.M.
State Certification Saturday, March 24 10:30-11:30 A.M.
 Leadership Meeting
Certification Reception Saturday, March 24 5:00-6:00 P.M.
Certification Exams Sunday, March 25 8:45 A.M.-12:15 P.M.
Certification Open Meeting Monday, March 26 2:15-3:15 P.M.
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Title Annotation:Association News
Author:Wallace, Deborah
Publication:American Music Teacher
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Previous Article:Foundation fund.
Next Article:Polyphony.

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