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Changes in music education curriculum

Students hanging out in the main lounge of Hvidsten, the usual perch for music peers. Photo by Maddie Malat.

Music education majors will experience a curriculum change next year when the Choral Literature course will change into Teaching Choral Music.

Dr. Julie Hagen, assistant professor and coordinator of Music Education, said that these students currently have had only one methods course to inform them how to teach music to their future students.

“It’s too much content in a four credit course,” Hagen said.

To disperse this content, the department decided to split the course into two classes: one would focus on Kindergarten-fifth grade classroom music and the other would address choral music education.

Dr. Michael Culloton teaches the current Choral Literature class, which encompasses the study of choral works throughout history.

“It’s not a methods class, so there’s not a teaching component,” Hagen said. “They’re studying the material they will be teaching.”

Teaching Choral Music will keep the Choral Literature material but will also incorporate how to teach the material. Students will also have to obtain their clinical hours with this course. Culloton and Hagen will team teach the course.

“Anecdotal feedback has told me that they’re really excited about this,” Hagen said. “Even our juniors and seniors have said, ‘wait, I’ve wanted this.’”

Sophomore Caleb Heaton, majoring in Vocal Music Education, has not heard from faculty that there has been changes made. He has heard from his peers, who obtained little information from their theory teachers.

“That’s not who we should be hearing it from,” Heaton said.

By changing this course, it will move from being a two-credit course to a four-credit course.

“Our instrumental kids have been doing it and handling it,” Hagen said. “I don’t know if our vocal education students will notice a huge difference in their workload. It will be worth the extra two credits.”

Adding more credits to the major worries Heaton.

“It adds another stress,” Heaton said. “I am a little nervous credit wise, but I think it’s a good thing because it gives us more experience.”

Current juniors are grandfathered in, sophomores and freshmen will be required to take the new course.

“We’re just making sure our kids are getting what they need for when they graduate,” Hagen said.

Heaton does not doubt the decision to add more to his course load.

“People love Dr. Culloton and Dr. Hagen,” Heaton said. “They look up to them, and they’re great leaders of the program. I don’t think they would have made the decision without considering the options. We trust them enough, and I think we will respond well to it.”

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