Online Master of Music in music education
Kent State University
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Band director composes new teaching career
Kristin Coen-Mishlan had followed her dream to become a school band director, but after five years of teaching, she desired to advance her knowledge and earning power with a master’s in music education.
Now, as a graduate of Kent State University’s Master of Music in music education online program, she has channeled her passions into her doctoral studies and graduate assistant position, where she trains student preservice teachers to change the world with music.
“At the time I began, Kent State was one of the few universities that had an online music education program,” she said. “I read some reviews and talked to some friends, and decided it was the best choice.”
Finding her academic rhythm
As she considered pursuing an advanced education, Kristin did not want to leave her career teaching band members in grades 6 through 12 to become a student again. She discovered that Kent State’s online Master of Music was not only flexible, but also synced with her passion for teaching and learning. The master’s in music education also prompted an “a-ha” moment that would forever change Kristin’s career perspective.
“I realized that being a band director was not the reason why I chose this profession; I chose this profession to be a music educator, and that means teaching students,” she said. “I believe that a successful music educator is able to meet students at their level and build musicianship.”
Knowledge applicable in the classroom
The music master’s presented education in a way Kristin had not experienced before. The master’s curriculum includes a capstone project which allows students to demonstrate knowledge through the development of a project around the student’s area of interest. Kristin used the capstone to implement a new way of teaching in the classroom and provide her students with a broader music education.
“It was useful because it forced me to think about what I am teaching and what I am not teaching,” she said. “As part of my curriculum design for the capstone, it focused on a different topic for each day so that I was addressing different parts of music each day. It was something I implemented into the classroom, typically for the warm-ups.”
As she grew and applied the program concepts, she was better equipped to transfer her knowledge and empower students with music.
“The master’s degree teaches you how to do all these really exciting things in the classroom,” she said. “It was so exciting to learn new things and be able to go to school and use what I learned. That was the best part of it.”
Kristin has seen so much benefit from her online music education degree that it led her to enroll in Kent State’s Ph.D. program, where she is a published graduate assistant and is assisting future teachers.
“I am able to touch more lives because of the position I am in now,” she said. “I am assisting and encouraging students who will go out in the world and make a difference in music education.”
She credits her master’s degree experience with broadening her career options and expanding her passion. “I highly recommend it,” she said. “It will make you a better teacher.”