Dr. Kuntz Discusses the Importance of Diversity in Music Education
Today’s music teachers often exhibit two critical qualities to stay active in the field. First, they should be flexible, with diverse skills to pivot their career when necessary. Second, they should remain passionate about music. Dr. Tammy Kuntz, adjunct professor for Kent State University’s online Master of Music in music education, said this program helps you foster both.
That’s what drew her to join the faculty. Here’s what initially attracted her to music education: “I enjoyed being with my instrument. I enjoyed seeing the music on the page and knowing there was something behind all those dots. When you put all the sounds together, it was very unique, and that was something I wanted to be part of forever.”
The Need for a Wider Range
Starting in 1981, Dr. Kuntz’s expansive career led her to work in both public and private schools. She conducted varied classes, including band, orchestra, guitar and general music. That’s why she advocates the dual focus of the Master of Music in music education. Students can become more flexible by pursuing two of three areas of study: general, instrumental or choral.
For Dr. Kuntz, her versatility has carried over into her Kent State career. She teaches a range of courses: Foundations of Music, Technology for Music Teaching and Learning, and the final capstone course. This means she gets to see students’ progress from start to finish. She’s most inspired by how students grow when they engage one another.
“These online students have a chance to connect with people all over the world, so that’s important,” Dr. Kuntz said. “They’ve got to be open-minded to do that, to get out of their own box and see what else is out there.”
Perks of Working in Concert
Dr. Kuntz said her courses lead to a culture of learning from one another. In the technology course as an example, students share innovative tools and how they use them. This inspires others to test them in their own classrooms – often as soon as the next day. It encourages an attentiveness that’s often heightened during the capstone course.
“Master’s-level students are paying more attention to what’s happening in their own communities,” Dr. Kuntz said. “They’re gaining an awareness of who their students are, what that demographic is, the diversity that they have in their classrooms and the richness that comes from that diversity that can then be brought into the music.”
The Crescendo to Progress
For engaged music educators, the passion for teaching equals the passion for music. That’s why the online Master of Music in music education stands out, Dr. Kuntz said. The future of music depends on the strength of music education programs like this one to promote innovation in music classrooms. It’s a necessary cycle that sustains a vital part of culture.
“Our faculty uses the top folks in the field, whether it’s theory, music history or world music, we have the best of the best in these courses,” she said. “Everybody understands that these are working teachers who are our students. Our students want success in their classrooms, so they need to be prepared as best they can. Our faculty looks to advance our students’ skills and knowledge. We want to have that student succeed.”