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College faculty and the MTNA Professional Certification Program.

MTNA college and university faculty members have been asking why the final certification examination is required of all candidates for MTNA Professional Certification, and why they should even become a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. These are good questions, worthy of good answers. A brief historical review of the MTNA Professional Certification Program, as it relates to college and university faculty members, could provide assistance with understanding the answers.

It would not be an exaggeration to say the history of MTNA Professional Certification, dating from 1886, has been complicated, difficult and confusing for MTNA members. The MTNA leadership has struggled to establish a successful professional certification program that meets the needs of its membership and the public it serves. The MTNA membership is composed of music teachers who may or may not hold college or university degrees, teach from one to hundreds of students and may teach age groups ranging from preschool to adults. These members may either operate a professional music teaching business, teach music part-time to supplement a partners income, teach music in a public or private school system or teach music at a college or university. Most members reside in one of the fifty United States, a few abroad and many in a variety of cultural settings. Developing a successful MTNA Professional Certification Program to meet the needs of a membership with such a wide diversity has not been an easy task. In addition, public demand for certified music teachers has not yet reached the level that makes certification a necessity for those who teach areas of music performance.

Establishing a sound and successful MTNA Professional Certification Program was very much on the minds of Edward Bowman, MTNA president, and the members of a subcommittee in 1885. He and the subcommittee met to redefine the goals of and redevelop the American College of Musicians (ACM), the name of the first MTNA Professional Certification Program for music teachers. The main goal of ACM, Bowman and his subcommittee determined, was raising the standards for the profession.

Fast-forwarding over approximately the next 100 years, the MTNA Professional Certification Program went through many changes in its approach, components and goals. No historical records can be found that reveal within the content of the program, any differentiation between college and independent music teachers until 1988. At that time, the College Faculty Certificate was implemented. It could be obtained simply by verifying one's status as a full-time college faculty member for a specific number of years, paying the certification application fee and re-verifying one's status every five years with no fee. The development and implementation of this certificate were ostensibly an effort on the part of MTNA leadership to meet the needs of the college faculty members, and to garner their support for the MTNA Professional Certification Program.

During the decade of the 1990s, the MTNA Professional Certification Program continued to provide the MTNA leadership with formidable, philosophical and political challenges. The types of certificates offered (Professional, Permanent Professional, Associate, College Faculty, Master Teacher and Emeritus) left the program open to possible legal liabilities with regard to the IRS, antitrust laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The teaching video component of the Professional Certificate requirements implemented in 1994 proved to be very unpopular with the MTNA membership. The number of certificates offered (six) was confusing to the state and national leadership responsible for administering the program, for NCTM and for those considering the certification process. Neither the numbers, nor types of certificates offered, resulted in overwhelming support for the program from the entire MTNA membership. The MTNA Professional Certification Program was at a crossroads.

In 1998 a committee chaired by Joan Reist, MTNA president-elect at the time, reviewed the MTNA Professional Certification Program. Upon the recommendation of that review committee, then President L. Rexford Whiddon appointed an ad hoc Certification committee to develop and recommend an MTNA Certification Program with criteria that are reasonable and applied fairly to all candidates.

The new MTNA Professional Certification Program developed by this committee was implemented in 2000. It is based on a set of five standards for what a music teacher should know and be able to do:

* Standard I: Professional Preparation

* Standard II: Professional Teaching Practices

* Standard III: Professional Business Management

* Standard IV: Professionalism and Partnerships

* Standard V: Professional and Personal Renewal

Upon fulfillment of these standards applicants are granted the MTNA Professional Certification credential with the NCTM designation. The credential and designation are granted without bias, discrimination or favoritism between MTNA members or nonmembers or any other arbitrary differentiation.

Since the new MTNA Professional Certification Program issues only a Professional Certificate, holders of the College Faculty Certificate slowly are being grandfathered into holders of the Professional Certificate. All candidates for the MTNA Professional Certification credential must now demonstrate their ability to fulfill the Standards and requirements of the program, regardless of where, who or how many they teach, or their professional preparation. That includes, among other things, successfully passing the final certification examination. To do otherwise would place the validity and integrity of the program in serious jeopardy. No credible certification program, whether it be for hairdressers, lawyers or music teachers, would grant its professional credential and designation to candidates who have not first fulfilled its standards and requirements.

Would a college or university teacher award passing grades for a semester's pedagogy study to a student who has not fulfilled the requirements of the coursework? Would a college or university studio teacher award a passing grade for performance study to a student who has not met the performance standards of a jury? Would a college or university award a bachelor of music degree to a student who has not fulfilled the college or university requirements for that specific degree? The answer to each of these questions should be a resounding "NO." Otherwise, the validity and integrity of the pedagogy coursework, the private performance study and the college or university degree is in serious jeopardy. That also should answer the question "Why should college or university faculty members be required to take the final certification examination to become an NCTM?" The validity and integrity of MTNA Professional Certification must be preserved, or it will have no meaning.

So, why should a college faculty member become an NCTM, and support the program? It is important for college faculty members to do so because they are responsible for teaching and transmitting standards of the music teaching profession. It is more important than ever, now that the MTNA Professional Certification Program is based on a set of teaching standards. Professional teaching standards taught in college faculty studios and classrooms, especially those of the MTNA Professional Certification Program, have everything to do with the professional standards of independent music teachers and the musical education they transmit to their students.

The new MTNA Professional Certification Program Standards unite college faculty and independent music teachers in ways multiple certificates with arbitrary requirements could not. By uniting and supporting one another, the music teaching profession serves to have a stronger philosophical and political voice and, as a result, the standards of the music teaching profession can be raised.

Patricia Dyer Tuley, NCTM, chairs MTNA's Certification Commission. A former member of MTNA's Board of Directors, she taught piano for thirty-six years prior to retiring in 1996. She is an active member of MTNA, the Hattiesburg [Mississippi] Music Teachers League and Mississippi MTA.

BONUS BYTE

Find a complete text of the MTNA Professional Certification Program's Standards for music teachers on the MTNA Certification website at www.mtnacertification.org or contact Melissa Ferrell at mferrell@mtna.org or (888) 512-5278 ext. 237 for a copy.
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Title Annotation:Music Teachers National Association; Forum focus: college faculty
Author:Tuley, Patricia Dyer
Publication:American Music Teacher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:1271
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