Individuals looking to enter the field of education often begin by selecting a college or university to complete undergraduate studies. Some college and university programs include the elements for a teaching license while other programs only meet the requirements of a Bachelor’s degree. The list of variations between university programs is extensive and often depends on the individual professors. An individual must decide which program will fit their personal needs and which program will best prepare them for a career in the music classroom. An educator’s training does not stop with a degree, once they enter the classroom music educators attend hours of professional development that is specific to their district, administration, and personal requests. The purpose of this literature review is to determine how music teacher training both pre-teaching and during their career affect retention of music educators.
Effective Music Education
The ultimate goal of an individual’s education is preparation for a career, but it is hard to determine what preparation is needed without defining the ideal career for the music educator. An effective classroom environment for the music educator would include the teacher developing a method to assess, evaluate, and communicate student achievement (Kay, 2000). Many elementary methods such as Kodaly, Orff Schulwerk, Dalcroze, and Gordon provide detailed approaches for general music instruction that can be adapted to teach many musical concepts across grade levels and disciplines. Kay (2000) continues to stress the importance of teachers improving the way music is taught and learned in the music classroom. This increase in music standards for students would mean an increase in standards for music teachers. If standards are increasing for teachers then undergraduate studies need to change as well. Kay (2000) sights Susan Knight’s survey of 257 vocal music teachers in Canada and the United States which reports 78 percent claim they were not trained adequately in understanding children’s vocal development. This deficit in training started with the undergraduate degree plan and the individual professor’s choice of curriculum.
The Undergraduate Degree
The undergraduate degree in music education varies depending on the campus and some attempt to cover general, vocal, and instrumental music all in the same degree plan. Many times there is only one college course in general music methods which vary depending upon the instructor’s background (Spurgeon, 2004). The effectiveness of this preparation is inconsistent and hard to measure, because “there is no universal agreement, in spite of state and national standards, on what should be taught to children” (Spurgeon, p. 29). As a result of the lack of agreement among music educators, dialogue began in 2002 between the leaders of MENC and other leading music methods organizations to create a curriculum for undergraduate studies. From these discussions,...