Selection and preparation in music education is based upon an important yet extremely simple premise–it is, that every person involved as a learner ought to have the best instruction possible.
This premise implies that every teacher ought to be committed to the subject of music and its use with people. The strength of this commitment is evidenced by the academic and social behaviors of the prospective teacher in life, both in and out of the university environment, and is characterized by diligence in the pursuit of musical and academic excellence and active dedication to the improvement of the quality of life.
For those who value knowledge, the learning process is perpetual throughout life’s time. To be an effective music educator, one must develop:
1. the ability to think, and therefore, value and discriminate,
2. the ability to feel, and therefore, become sensitive to aesthetic qualities in music and life, and
3. the courage to act, and therefore, translate those abilities to think and feel into overt behaviors.
Successful music educators evidence personal qualities of leadership, intellectual curiosity, and social commitment. They approach life, music, and the teaching profession in a positive, imaginative, and enthusiastic way.
The music teacher attempts to create a respect and desire for musical experiences, teaching people to react positively, listen responsively, and participate in a musically sensitive manner by providing a variety of musical experiences for those who will be consumers of music and those who will be music professionals.
Toward this goal, music educators are stimulated by current research in music to seek, evaluate, and appropriately implement current ideas and developments in teaching music. They promote positive relationships with students, colleagues, and others. They are empathetic with people of differing social and ethnic backgrounds, and demonstrate mature attitudes and values in the operation of the instructional program.
They consistently maximize student opportunities and accomplishments, and minimize self-aggrandizement and teacher dominance. Their public performances are part of instructional programs geared to helping students become sensitive to aesthetic elements in music.
Music specialists must be prepared and eager to teach music to every child: the poor, ethnic minorities, children of the inner cities, the handicapped, and the highly gifted.
In addition to personal competencies in music performance, improvisation, conducting, applied music, composing, arranging, analysis, history, repertoire, and other musical skills, they must have competencies in the teaching of music on all levels, nursery school through adult and continuing education programs. They must be exposed to techniques of teaching in the humanities, related arts, and general music areas, as well as, directing performance groups, studio teaching and group applied music lessons.
Musicians are most successful as teachers if they understand current structures, systems, and practices in education. Concurrently, the music educator in this age of educational change and accountability must be able to express knowledge of teaching and learning, through verbal communication (oral and written) and through overt, demonstrable music and teaching behaviors.
A general knowledge and understanding of history, science, art, philosophy, and communication serves to enhance one’s ability to function effectively in contemporary society and facilitates greater understanding of the human condition. The final report of the Music Educators’ National Conference on “Teacher Education in Music” states that general education should:
1. help the student understand him/herself as a person,
2. assist in the development of positive attitudes and penetrating insights toward others and the world,
3. encourage acceptance of change and enable the student to approach new ideas with an open mind,
4. provide the ability to apply appropriate evaluative techniques and establish an attitude of curiosity, and
5. provide another dimension for the pre-service music educator by helping the student relate his/her own art to other related disciplines.
The task of structuring and managing a musical environment in which individuals, regardless of ability level, may positively experience, successfully achieve, and hence, come to value the art of music, demands a breadth of knowledge and skills, as well as high levels of perception and sensitivity on the part of the music educator.
The acquisition and development of these abilities requires an intellectual commitment that is realized in daily living and is maintained and strengthened during the years of training and throughout the professional career.