Saint Mary’s orchestrates opportunities for music education majors
Martha Reilly | Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Saint Mary’s membership to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which provides professional development opportunities and resources for those intending to teach music, proves that without the fine arts as a part of core curriculum, students would fall flat.
Visiting assistant professor of music Dawn Farmer, who initiated the Saint Mary’s chapter during the 2014-2015 school year, said the organization helps students prepare for life after graduation.
“Students gain access to publications, research and teaching materials,” Farmer said. “They are also given considerable networking opportunities. We can connect with other music education students all over the country, with practicing music teachers in multiple fields and with professional musicians.”
The club travels to workshops and conferences, where students refine skills from their music and education classes as they learn what exactly their future career entails, according to Farmer. She said traveling to these events benefits not only members of the club, but also the Saint Mary’s community, because it gives students the chance to demonstrate leadership qualities.
“I feel that students who intend on being music teachers should start participating in the expectations for the field,” Farmer said. “Other local music education programs respect us and know us to be positive, prepared and knowledgeable. At these music events, people may know of Saint Mary’s College, but we set the bar for what Saint Mary’s is, and we represent with pride.”
Junior Allie Kroehler, who serves as treasurer of the club, said she is grateful she can develop her knowledge of her future profession.
“I have access to a lot of different music education journals, which I have used many times for research for my classes,” Kroehler said. “Saint Mary’s has given us a great opportunity to be able to major in this specific field, so it is important to acknowledge and appreciate that.”
Kroehler said this organization gives students studying music education somewhere to belong, as it allows them to interact with like-minded peers who share similar aspirations.
“We are kind of caught between two departments — music and education,” Kroehler said. “We are such a small population, and sometimes it can feel like we don’t have a place in either department. NAfME has provided us place where we can come together and have any specific music education questions answered.”
Kroehler said she enjoys working with others and learning about how to effectively advance and preserve music education’s spot in the core curriculum of U.S. schools.
“It is really important for teachers to collaborate and work with others in their field,” Kroehler said. “NAfME gives me the opportunity to work with other future music teachers and learn from them. We also have the opportunity to discuss how the music education field is changing and how it impacts us.”
Farmer said she is happy this organization became active at Saint Mary’s last year because it plays an integral role in catapulting students careers and in promoting a sense of unity among members.
“We continue to look for ways in which to bolster music education and music awareness within the community,” Farmer said. “It gives us an opportunity to bring music education into other parts of the Saint Mary’s community and beyond.”