Meet a Graduate. Get to Know the Capstone Experience.

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Facilitator: We will be highlighting some of the details form the program and also definitely going through the capstone structure and of course have Connie, our graduate, speak to her experience and share her capstone project highlights with us. Now the webinar is intended to last for about an hour but to be respectful of your time this evening if by the one hour mark we have any unanswered questions I will collect all of them for a panel to answer offline and our enrollment advisor will then follow up with the answers.

So, let me just – first of all let me introduce today’s speakers, so Connie McCardel and also Dr. Patricia Grutzmacher thank you both for being with us here today. So, Connie has been a middle school band instructor in the state of Georgia since 1986. Connie completed undergraduate studies in music education from the University of Georgia in 1985. And is a recent graduate of the Master of Music in music education program at Kent State University. Now since 2008 she has been Director of Bands at the McClure Middle School in the Cobb County Georgia school district. The band maintained an annual enrollment of 485 students consistently receiving superior ratings at large group performance evaluation. And Connie has conducted GMEA honor Bands in numerous districts throughout the state of Georgia.

She has taught private clarinet lessons and master classes for numerous middle and high schools in the metro Atlanta area. She also serves as a guest concert band clinician and educator throughout the state.

And now we have Patricia. Patricia is actually one of the developers of this Master of Music and Music Education online program and serves right now as the capstone co-ordinator. She has an extensive music education background. For over 25 years she was the Director of Instrumental Music at Kent State University Stark campus where she taught courses including music education and world music. She directed chamber ensembles; and founded conducted the Kent State Stark Concert Band.

And prior to her work at Kent State, she was teaching elementary general and instrumental music in Wooster, Ohio. She’s a diplomat of the Sudler Order of Merit presented by the John Phillips Sousa Foundation to recognize her contributions to the excellence of bands and band music performance. Patricia has also conducted high school honour bands for the OMEA districts. So, without further ado Patricia, I’m going to hand it over to you to speak about the program.

Patricia G: Well good afternoon or good evening to everyone. So, happy so many people could join us. Our Master of Music and Music Education Program has been in existence since spring of 2010. And it is designed to accommodate music educator’s demanding schedule. And what we found is it really serves very well to not only everyone’s schedules but to teachers who really live a long distance from a university. And here they have access to quality courses, quality instruction from their own homes.

One of the distinguishing features is there are three separate advanced teaching methods courses and you have a choice of taking two of these. So, that if you are an instrumental teacher and you’re discovering you need more background in teaching general music because your teaching assignment has changed, then we have this course that’s available to you, same thing with the coral, the advanced coral course. And all of these have been developed by highly experienced music educators who are specialists in those specific areas.

All of the courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and require you to develop projects that are suitable for your classrooms. It’s very important to us that these courses provide you with practitioner based learning. And that’s what we aim to do with each course. So, projects are designed for that and also to help prepare you for the capstone which is the final project and the final course in the program.

There are 31 credit hours, each course is three hours except for the core stone which is a four credit hour course because it’s a little longer in length. Our courses are seven week courses. Essentially what you have is a full semester course which is condensed into seven weeks. But it’s delivered in such a way that you have multiple opportunities during the week to complete course week.

You have specific deadlines that remain consistent for each course. And I think that’s an important part of it is that consistency. You know that this is a seven week course and you know that there will be specific assignments do on Friday on Saturday on Sunday and then you start the next week. And the projects are all described well in advance. Our syllabuses are consistent in the way they look and where you look to find information. So, I think that provides the student with a little more access to time because you know that each course is going to be set up even though it’s different content, it’s going to be set up visually in the same way. I think that’s quite helpful. You always start with foundations that are entry level course and the student always finishes with the capstone. That’s the course that is like a master’s thesis. I think we can go to the next slide.

The master’s thesis or the capstone, again what we’re looking at is a project that is designed for the practitioner, it’s designed for use in your program and there are several different options you can choose from. The literature review allows you to go in depth in an area that you may have an interest in and you need to learn more about it. Perhaps you’re looking at reconstructing a curriculum or a part of a curriculum in your school district. But you really need more knowledge of an area that you wish to include in that curricular structure. So, some students really choose to do this literature review as a first step in that direction.

Some choose to do a curriculum project and what those means and what we aim to do with that is you are actually creating a very complete in depth curricular structure including all the lesson plans. Usually it’s a long unit of six to eight weeks in which you’ve created all of the objectives, all of the goals, you’ve gathered all of your materials, you’ve explained what the purpose of the project is, you’ve provided a rationale for why it’s important. And when you are done with this you have something that you can immediately take back into your school and begin to implement.

We do have also for those who want to do [instrumental] work, who would like to do action research in the classroom, you can do that kind of [unintelligible [00:08:38] quantitative or qualitative nature that would incorporate your students or colleagues. There are many different kinds of action research projects that you could do. Now those take a little more time because you have to go through the university and gain IRB approval, that is approval from our review board. But we’ve had a number of students who have done wonderful quality projects in that regard. Could you go onto the next slide please?

Actually there were two left out from that pervious so let me tell you about the other two. The other two one would be a project that would be a program study project and that’s kind of the category where you can, if it doesn’t fit in the other categories it might be something like you’re developing a hand book or you’re looking at developing a K-12 curriculum, which would be a larger scale curricular project but it wouldn’t involve the specifics of writing lesson plans and so forth. So, that is another project that we find to be fairly popular with our students.

And the last one I think the one that we find most of our students really love to do is a professional presentation in which you are putting together an hour presentation on a topic of great importance in a field and you’re preparing it as if you’re going to present it at a conference. So, it includes a PowerPoint presentation, it includes the scrip that you will speak with at the event and that has become a very popular format that our students choose.

So, those are the choices that you have and these choices all of our students know about from the very first course they take in the program. So, as they’re going through all of these courses leading up to capstone, they have in mind ideas for what they’d like to accomplish. And so by the time the students get to capstone, they’re ready, they’re raring to go, they have the topics that they’re interested in from all of their previous courses they have gathered knowledge that they can use for this one. This really is a great opportunity to design a project around your area of interest. And so, I think it’s quite successful in that respect and it’s a little different from your traditional master’s thesis in that this is so practitioner based and so focused on what you need in your teaching situation. Alright, we can go on to the next one.

Alright, so what you’re going to discover is as you’re going through the course work, you will be every course that you take, you will be going into your own e portfolio and submitting your projects from each course and you will be journaling about your journey towards capstone. You’ll be discussing topics that you’re interested in; you’ll begin to organize your thoughts about a particular topic so that all of this becomes a documentation of your journey through the program.

And when you get to that capstone course as co-ordinator I look at what you’ve written and I assign a capstone advisor to mentor you through your project. We have a wonderful staff of capstone advisors who work with our students on regular basis. And so, your advisor will be chosen from that group of advisors and based on the area of your topic for your capstone.

I think the research component has been very, very important because you learn as you’re going through the courses what you need to do to accomplish your work on the capstone. So, you learn how to research, you learn where to look for materials, you learn how to organize your thoughts, so this becomes I think very helpful. There’s so much of an emphasis throughout this program on reading and on writing, which has to be since it’s not a face to face program. But that also helps you prepare for this thesis. I think I’m done with that slide.

Facilitator: Alright, thank you Pat. That’s really informative and it’s great to hear from a faculty side structure and how that experience will be like. So, now I’d like to welcome Connie to be on the call and kind of share her thoughts from the graduate side, her experience, her capstone project. Connie are you there?

Connie: Yes, good afternoon everyone. I’m so excited that you’re considering the Master of Music and the Music Education degree from Kent State. I can honestly say that this master’s program has completely changed my approach to my classroom. And it’s been the most beneficial I have ever done for myself as an educator. This program has strengthened my understanding of how students learn music. As a result I can tell you that in the past two years since being enrolled in the program, my bands have performed with a much greater sense of beauty, expression and certainly intonation. Colleagues who have known me and judged my bands for years have commented on the noticeable difference and the quality of performance in the past two years. While this is a true testament to the value of this degree, what has been most important to me are the new approaches to my teaching and I’ll discuss those further as we actually talk about the specifics of my capstone project.

One of my favourite aspects of this program is the focus on your own classroom and the various ways that you can apply principles from the course work with your students. As Pat stated, every course has a major project due by the end of week seven. Every project is approached from the perspective of your own classroom. In my case from the very first course, the foundations in music education, I was introduced to the sound before music approach to music learning. This was a new theory for me. I quickly realized that I had spent the bulk of my career relying on the method book, as many band directors do, as the basis for my curriculum. I was completely married to the idea that a major focus of my job was to teach students to visually focus on sight reading.
The sound before symbol approach is the complete opposite of what I had been doing all those years. This approach can best be explained using the analogy of a toddler. We teach young children to speak words and then sentences before they ever attempt to read a book. I had been teaching students the visual aspect of reading music before focusing on the oral aspects. Teaching my students to hear rhythmic and tonal patterns before seeing the written notation made perfect sense to me.

My topic for the foundation’s research paper was motivation. I found research articles suggesting that motivation can become intrinsic when the classroom promotes student collaboration and rotation of parts. This was going to be very important later on in my capstone project. I also found journal articles suggesting that chair placement auditions can have a negative effect on students. The instrumental techniques and the general music techniques classes are fabulous. And they go very in depth into the sound before symbol approach to teaching. And the general music class my project was a literature review on the advantages and challenges of implementing Gordon’s music learning theory, which is based on the sound before symbol approach.

My research for this particular paper focused on finding a balance in teaching oral and visual skill and comparing Gordon’s approach with the traditional method book approach and ways that sound before symbol can actually improve student’s sight reading ability by helping students to predict how the notation should sound. The implications of my literature review suggested that educators examine the unique range and executive skill requirements for each instrument and then design sound before symbol activities to accomplish these goals within the large ensemble setting. This was an ah ha moment for me. At that moment I knew what my capstone project was going to be based on. And I was completely sold on this idea.

Another important strength of the master’s program is your capstone advisor. I have a very close colleague who is also working on his masters in music online during the past two years. He did not attend Kent State. He was impressed when I told him that Kent State pairs students with an advisor to guide you through the capstone project. My friend stated the he really could have used the guidance during such an important component of the degree program. Dr. Grutzmacher truly carefully chooses the advisors. She will pair you with a professor who is an expert on your particular topic. You will participate in weekly conversations with your capstone advisor either through Skype or phone call. These conversations became valuable pedagogical lessons for me. My advisor talked me through ways to improve my implementation of the sound before symbol approach. This was based upon her own teaching experience band as well as the research that she has conducted on the topic.

We had wonderful conversations about effective ways to use column response activities and daily warm up. And she stressed to me that when I’m introducing new literature to the ensemble, I should teach all of the rhythmic and tonal patterns in the piece before students ever see the sheet music. And this way when students read through the piece they have greater comprehension of what they’re actually reading. You will have 12 weeks to complete the capstone project. You turn in chunks of the project to your advisor every week. The weekly feedback from your advisor helps to keep your progress manageable and it prevents you from getting bogged down or side tracked into an area that won’t be productive.

My capstone advisor gave me great advice on a proper research approach to my project. Initially I was very excited and I began brainstorming ideas for specific research such as breathing exercise or articles on embouchure for each instrument. She let me know that this approach was way too narrow and focused and would result in a dead end very quickly. She re-directed me to topics that were more suitable such as teaching expression in the ensemble, incorporating aspects of the private lesson into the large ensemble class where you’ve got 10 different instruments that you’re teaching simultaneously. And ways to move from teacher dominated instruction towards student directed instruction. My project has taken on new life since my conversations with her about research. My project was no longer just about developing range, it was now about teaching my students to become real musicians, independent musicians.

The research component of a capstone has been so influential in my teaching approach. One of the articles that has been so beneficial to me is by [unintelligible [00:21:00] and was written in 2011 and it’s called the Habits of Musicianship, a Radical Approach to Teaching Beginning Band. The idea in this article is we should strive for beautiful tone quality in each lesson from day one as opposed to waiting for [unintelligible [00:21:17] muscles to develop. Students may unknowingly accept the awful first sounds they make as characteristic unless we as teachers clearly delineate what is appropriate tone quality for the instrument. And I found that this especially true when you’re developing range. I found wonderful articles on classroom pacing.

Anyone who has ever taught middle school band knows that students in middle school need to be busy and engaged. However it’s just as important to provide daily individual feedback so that students again don’t just come to accept the tones that they’re producing but they know what the target is they’re trying to hit.

I also found research on the importance of singing in rehearsal. And I have found that singing greatly impacts intonation and [sight] reading. Another interesting area of research focused on incorporating aspects of a general music curriculum into the ensemble classroom. This is so important because without that general music aspect your students will never learn music they’re only learn just how to play an instrument.

The next topic our research may be controversial, teaching composition in a large performing ensemble. I will admit I was guilty of neglecting this area of music learning. My excuse was easy. I had too many performances to prepare and way too many students to deal with. I have learned through this master’s program that composition helps students to become real musicians. Research that I found demonstrated ways to scaffold and structure these assignments to build student confidence. Composition can be exciting to some students and frightening to others. I have found ways to gradually build assignments so students can have success.

Alright, we’re going to move on now and talk about my actual capstone project. My capstone project was entitled Supplemental Range Exercises, Facilitation of Individual Musicianship in the Middle School Band Program. And this is a curriculum design project and it was designed for my seventh grade students who are second year instrumentalists.

When students are traditionally assigned a part to play, either first, second or third and these assignments are traditionally based upon chair placement auditions. I have found that psychological roles appear to be associated with part assignments. You have students who become melodic leaders and you have students who become the harmonic supporting players, so, my question was if you’re always playing the third clarinet part or the third trumpet part, are you having the same music experience as the student who plays first part? And the answer is probably not. This project utilized supplemental range exercises in an effort to provide an equitable experience for every member of the ensemble by rotating parts. The goal of the project was to motivate all of the students to develop the full range of the instrument so that everyone has the capability to play first part.

The playing range of the students determines not only their part assignments but also the difficult level of the repertoire that the band can perform. As a director I can program challenging repertoire for my ensemble by selecting only my more advanced players to play first parts. While this may achieve my goals for the ensemble, this does not ensure that all students are going to have an equitable experience.

Now for my project I created 31 lesson plans that increased the playing range on the instrument without the use of a method book. These plans take about six to nine weeks to fully implement. In my plan students are introduced to new pitches in the upper and lower range by learning to play familiar tunes by ear. Students work in pairs to learn the tunes after we sing them and after we listen to my modeling the tunes on various instruments. Students are then responsible for ensuring that both they and their neighbour can play the tune accurately. Our focus was on characteristic tone quality and intonation for each new pitch. Specific exercises were devoted to development of the lower range.

For instance we learned to play the Darth Vader theme that year and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I was able to incorporate expression into these lessons by teaching accented style for the Darth Vader theme and we talked about how Darth Vader would not sound ominous if we played it in legato style. In Somewhere Over the Rainbow we introduced melodic contour and tempo rubato. We would have the entire ensemble play the first phrase and then the second phrase we would let various soloists play the phrase and be as expressive as they wanted to be, slowing down the temp wherever they felt it was appropriate.

Upper register exercise included learning bugle calls by ear. I have found that the tune Taps is wonderful for increasing range. We learn Taps first in the key of F and then we went a little higher to the key of G and then to the key of A flat and then to the key of B flat.

I also wrote a slur exercise for wood winds players to be uses as a daily warm up to develop their upper register. Flutes, double reeds and saxophones play octave slurs while clarinets play register slurs. The daily focuses for these exercise was to anticipate the sound of the upper note. We sing the patterns and then play them. Brass students listen to the wood winds and then evaluate whether the lead sounds in tune or sounds correct.

Written notation was the last step in the process. Students kept a personal range chart in their binders where they would draw in each new pitch on staff paper. Students would also notate some of the tunes they had learned by ear on this range chart. I selected concert repertoire for the ensemble to work on that incorporates the new range students are developing. Before rehearsing the pieces in ensemble, student work in pairs to locate the measures where they see the new range. Then students work collaboratively in sections to rehearse in chunks of the piece on their own. This is my favorite part of the plans. Once we have mastered a chunk of the music, students then rotate parts. And again students teach their neighbors to learn the new parts.

Improvisation was incorporated in the project as students would work in small groups to improvise patterns that utilize the new pitches they were learning. Students also worked in groups of four to collaborate on a composition project. Groups chose to either compose a fan fair and three part harmony that include the new range we have developed or, and a lot of them love this the best, they compose a bugle call to be used as a class signal that it’s time to get out of the storage room, fully assemble your instrument, be in your seat that your band director can be happy and pleasant at the start of class.

Alright the next thing I want to talk about are all of the wonderful things that have happened since I implemented this project in my class this year. The focus on oral skill development has resulted in much earlier and higher gains in characteristic tone quality and certainly in intonation. My students sing a pitch in tune and then they sing the pitch slightly higher and then slightly lower. And then we play the exercise and they’re able to evaluate if they’re hitting the center of the pitch.

A great strategy that I learned from the instrumental technique’s class is to have your students use their hand to demonstrate the speed of vibration that they hear. I’ll have pairs of students play a pitch and the other students use their hand to show me do you hear a slow or a fast vibration? Do you hear any vibration? And this is a great technique that lets you visually see who’s actually hearing it. My seventh grade wood wind players right now are currently working on two octave scales. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider that a year ago this very week, they were beginners, learning how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb. I have found that since implementing this project students have improved their ability to detect and correct pitch, accuracy and intonation errors on their own.

The student directed instruction component has been a major shift of focus in my classroom this year. Students teach their neighbor to play a tune by ear, they collaborate in small rehearsals where they teach their section to learn the concert repertoire. And then they collaborate to teach one another to switch and rotate parts.

All of this has saved rehearsal time and what I really love about it is it places responsibility on the students. And I always say to my students that when you teach someone else it is you who truly learn and they agree with me right now.

This project has created an environment in my classroom that promotes persistence and accountability and intrinsic motivation and pride. The goal each day is progress rather than competition. I’m constantly ending each week with wow aren’t you proud of your progress? Look at what you’ve accomplished since school began. By the end of eighth grade my hope is that you won’t need my assistance, you’ll be able to choose music on your own and teach each other to play it without me.

This master’s program has really reinvigorated the way that I perceive my classroom. And I can’t say enough good things about this program. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you this afternoon and I really encourage you to consider enrolling in Kent State. It has been wonderful for my career.

Facilitator: Thank you Connie. Right now – that’s really a lot of information and this has been great really hearing about the benefits of the program from a graduate program. So, I’m going to open up the floor to everybody to see if you have any questions and if you’re not on the phone you can definitely send in questions through the chat box on the right of your screen.

And right now I do have a question actually. And I think both Pat and Connie you guys can both comment on it from each of your perspectives. So, one question is how many courses do students take at a time and what is a normal manageable load and I’ll add to that, how many hours do you think you kind of carve out as a workload per week?

Patricia: I can talk about that and then Connie you can probably fill in a little bit about how many hours you put in each week in the courses. The courses – what we do is we insist that you only take one course at a time. [unintelligible [00:32:43] foundations course and then that is for example at the beginning of the semester and so you would take that foundations course during the first eight weeks of the semester. It’s seven weeks long you have the week break, which would be the eighth week and then you start into the next course.

The reason being that this is concentrated work, it involves a lot of reading, it involves a lot of writing and with your weekly assignments it really is the kind of course that you want to just focus on one at a time. I know I’ve had students that have wanted to take more than one course and we said no, no you don’t want to do that because you’re going to learn more this way. If we have students who have heavy teaching loads and families and then they take this course, that’s a challenge in itself and we want to make certain that our students are successful.

So, we do one course at a time. But, you know, with the number of courses that you take you can complete this degree in less than two years. So, it works out very well. So if you take a course two in the fall, two in the spring, two in the summer you’re already getting quite a bit done. So, I think that works out nicely. What was the other part of this question Annie regarding the courses, how many hours you put in each week? Connie how much time did you feel that put in each week? ‘Cause I know this is going to differ from student to student.

Connie: Typically during the week I would spend about two hours each night. Sometimes more because sometimes I just became engrossed in the work. The work is so interesting and I would look up and not realize that three and a half or four hours had gone by. On the weekends, I would typically spend two to three hours on Saturday and two to three hours on Sunday. So, it was very manageable, it allowed me to still take care of all of my responsibilities in my teaching job and take care of all of my home responsibilities.
Patricia: That’s good to hear because that’s the way we designed it. We really want the students to be able to juggle and to feel that they’ve learned a great deal and to feel that they’ve been able to get into the information with some depth.

And I think that maybe I should explain that the way this is done is at the beginning of the week you have specific readings or you have specific writing assignments along with that. And then they’ll be something you have to submit on a Friday evening, they’ll be something on a Saturday and they’ll be something on a Sunday. And what happens is one of those days will be when you submit your completed assignment for the week. Another will be when you are responding to a question that everyone in the class responds to. And then the final which is on Sunday, you read all of these and you respond to those other students within your cohort.

And so, there is a feeling of being a part of a class at the same time. I know that a lot of people feel that oh I feel isolated if I’m going to take this online program. But the fact of the matter is we work very hard to try to create a community of learners online and that’s important to us. So, between the students and the faculty we promote that kind of learning community.

Connie: And I would like to also add that I learned so much from the other students in my class. Every Saturday we were all expected to do a post based on the reading for the week. And I can tell you I learned new teaching strategies, strategies from some of the posts that my classmates had put in. So, I mean you do truly feel that you are a part of the class and a part of the community. And also any time I had a question I would email the course instructor and you get an answer immediately. So, there is a big sense of community in this program.

Patricia: I notice that there are some other questions that have come in that I think what you’re saying Connie about this program really helps to answer some of the questions I see popping up. Should I, Annie I notice I have a couple of questions that were directed to me. Should I try to answer those?

Interviewer: I was just going to – depending on who they send it to. I was going to add on to what you guys were talking about, about the online system because Justin here is asking how is the online system? Was it easy to use? Was it hard? Connie, coming from a graduate can you speak to that? The online system in terms of posting things, was it easy to navigate through? And also he also has a question about the assignments, are they like kind of known in advance by the students or is it all at the beginning of the week only?

Connie: Okay, the technology components of this are so easy to use. Posting is incredibly easy. You’ll have a text box and what most of us do is we would prepare our answer to the post in advance in a Word document and then we would just copy and paste it into the text box and then submit it. And then once everyone has posted you can go through and read everyone’s post and then you choose two each week that you want to respond to. And many weeks you’re going to find that there are more than two that you want to respond to. It’s very user friendly. I always say I know enough about technology to be dangerous. And if I can navigate the program, anyone can. It’s very, very easy.

You will know the assignments for the entire seven week course from day one. Everything is in your course syllabus. And the course syllabus has a page for each week. Week one these are the assignments that you must read. These are videos that you need to watch. And you’ll know what the questions are for that week. Most of the courses you’ll have two questions that you have to answer in essay style by Friday. You’ll know what those questions are so as you’re going through the reading during the week you can highlight, you can take notes, you can jot down ideas so that when you sit down to write your essay to answer the question it’s very easy to go back and organize your thoughts and create a very thoughtful answer.

Interviewer: Thank you.

Patricia: Can I add a little bit to that? What we tried to do when we put this program together and I think we were very successful on this. I alluded to it on my initial statements is that it isn’t like you’re having to relearn each time you take a course. Because each course the way it looks on the screen is the same the way the syllabus is organized on the screen is the same. The way that you submit assignments, the deadlines for assignments all tend to be very consistent through all the courses which as I said earlier what that means is then here you are starting the next course in the series, there isn’t a lot that you have to learn technologically ’cause everything is done in the same manner for each course. Although the assignments are going to be different but the fact of the matter is you know where to find things ’cause every course looks the same.

And I think that’s a very important part of it too. It’s another time saving aspect of the program ’cause you’re not having to relearn to do things a different way for every course. And land base courses tend to be a little different that way but for the online that’s an important part of why I think our students feel really comfortable with the delivery of our courses.

Facilitator: That’s great. Yes it is very important. And the next question I have it’s about the curriculum itself. So, one questions is could I elect to take a course and step off and are the courses only provided in a specific order?

Patricia: Well, there’s two questions there. The first one is yes you can step out for a session. We’ve had students do that. We need to know when you’re going to do that and that way we make certain that we’re not going to lose you in the cracks that we know that you’re stepping out for a session or two and then coming back into the program. But that’s not a problem that happens. And we’re quite supportive when a student needs to just drop out for a semester and then come back in.

The second part of that question is we have this what we call a carousel and the carousel simply means that there are courses that are offered at specific times through the program. And so, for example foundations is offered the beginning of fall, the beginning of spring, the beginning of summer because that’s the entry course. The next course you take depends upon when you entered into the program. But by the time you get through all the courses, you will have covered all of them. They just maybe won’t be in the same order. Like if you start in the fall and your friend starts in the spring, your second course will be different from your friend’s second course. But you get through all of the courses in the same amount of time. And then the capstone is offered every term, fall, spring, summer so that you go directly into that as your last course.

Facilitator: Great. I think your answer already answered to somebody else’s. Christine was just asking can we start enrollment in the summer session with foundations or must we always start enrollment in the fall? So, I think Christine your questions are already answered but Pat I do want to kind of focus on the last part of our question about must we always start enrollment in the fall? So, want to clarify that, it’s not just a fall enrollment.

Patricia: Yeah, there are three entry points. You can start in the fall, which is in August. You can start in the spring which is in January; you can start in the summer which is May.

Facilitator: Great. And then going back to Justin had a question about does this degree require me to purchase extra software?

Patricia: Connie did you have to buy anything special because I, you know, as long as you have up to date equipment I don’t think there’s any purchase of specific software. Did you find that you had to do that?

Connie: No, I did not have to purchase any software. And as a matter of fact one of the courses, we were required to have, to download two free software. We downloaded [New Score] which is a notation program and [Notes Like] which are notation programs. But those are free downloads and actually in the course itself there were links for you click on to download both softwares. So, I mean it’s very easy. I did not have to purchase anything additionally.

Patricia: And within the program all of the requirements are listed so that you know up front what you will need if you don’t already have it with your computer. Everything is very, very clear in there regarding what the needs are. And we also have technology help. We provide links so that you can get help if you’re having a problem accessing something or if the technology just isn’t working for you there is assistance. I know in some of the courses we say if you’ve mulled over the technology issue for more than 15 minutes you need to get some help. And here’s where you click. So, do provide that back up, that assistance if there is a problem.

I notice there was a question that came in that I didn’t want to miss because this came in pretty early on and I think it was addressed specifically to me. So, I don’t know if it appears on your screen but I had someone ask, had some concerns about the general music course. And this is a person who teaches 9-12 grade band and several general music courses. So, the questions is, is there a focus on secondary general music as well? Our general music course covers all aspects of general music so it is not just focused on elementary. The middle school emphasis is also in the course. It’s very comprehensive. So, I think it’s a very solid course.

Actually one of our doctoral students who recently graduated updated the course for us and I’m just very pleased with the work that she accomplished on it. I think it’s very good course. And she now is a teacher and teaching full-time. So, it’s a course that incorporates contemporary ideas, contemporary philosophies, it’s very, very up to date. Hopefully that answers your question.

Facilitator: Yeah, I did have that question on my screen but that’s great that we covered that. And I want to go back on the support side of things; I do want to mention that there is student support throughout the program when you’re in the program. And I mean Connie I think it’s different per student. So, I don’t know Connie if you came across leveraging the student support that much but if you don’t mind, if you have any stories or just overall feedback on the student support side of things from the program?

Connie: Okay. I never had technology issues so I never had to worry about that part of it. But I can tell you the professors that you work with truly support you. For instance, when I took the music analysis course, it had been many, many years since I had music theory and music analysis. And several students in the course with me were in the same situation, it had been a long time since any of us had done that.

So, our professor had been in an online conference with us very Thursday night. And it was fabulous. She just let us ask questions, where were we struggling, where were we not understanding? And she would stay online with us until we felt like we were ready to answer the questions and do the assignments for the week. And again all of the professors are wonderful to work with you. The want to see you succeed and they want to support you. You’ll get weekly feedback from your professors on the assignments.

The assignments are very easy to turn into the program. And once you turn in the assignment, once it is graded you’ll see your professor’s comments specifically in the document and you learn so much from that and I can tell you that my writing has improved exponentially since being in this program. I mean I just can’t say enough good things about it.

Patricia: I’m glad to hear you talk about the theory course because I know that’s a challenging course and I know we have this wonderful staff of instructors that always follow up and make certain we do everything we possibly can to help the students with it ’cause most of our students have been away from theory for quite awhile. So, it’s good to hear you say that Connie. I’m really happy to hear you say that.

In regards to our instructors, we have college professors from all over the country who teach in our program. So, it isn’t just our Kent State University staff but our entire Kent State University music education staff, our history teachers, our theory teachers are all actively involved in the program, develop the courses, teach sections online and the teachers that we have from other locations in the United States love teaching in our program. So, the majority of our teachers have been with us since the program started I’m happy to say. And we’ve become very good colleagues and good friends through this degree program. And that makes me very happy. I think that collegiality among your faculty in a program like this is also of incredible importance.

Connie: Absolutely.

Facilitator: Thank you. And right now if anyone has any more questions we can still take one more ’cause actually right now we’re really good with time, five minutes to 6:30. And I promised this was going to be around one hour so if you have any other questions feel free to let me know right now or you can always email your enrollment advisor who is Michele and who is also on call today and we can get back to you with any answers to your questions.

So, I wanted to thank everyone on the call and thank you Connie and Patricia to be on the call and really giving your insights, your experience from the program directly to everyone on the call. And I really hope that we have captured most of your questions here today. And again if not and if you want to enroll in more, enroll in the program and get more details, definitely contact our enrollment advisor and the contact details are on the screen right now in front of you.

Otherwise that is it from my end. Patricia, Connie do you have anything else to add?

Patricia: I just wanted to congratulate Connie on the fine work and the program. I had the privilege of reading her project and I don’t get to read all of them. And I had the privilege of going through her project and reading it. My area is instrumental music and I just want to say what you did was a phenomenal job. I’m glad to hear that you’re using it in your program and I hope that you will share this in professional conferences or even in articles for journals because this is quality work, congratulations. And thank you for being a part of this webinar today.

Connie: Thank you so much and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed my two years in the program. I learned so much and I mean every aspect of it as so enjoyable and it’s like I said earlier, I just became immersed in the work. The instructors are so good; the curriculum is just so on target. And it’s just changed my teaching and I enjoyed my teaching so much more now. So, thank you Dr. Grutzmacher for everything you did in the program it was just one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Patricia: Thank you, I’m glad to hear that.
Facilitator: Okay, thank you both for taking your time out and speaking to everybody, to be here with us. If you have any questions let us know otherwise have a great evening. You guys have three minutes extra to the evening.

Patricia: Annie thank you so much for your work in putting this together. And those of you out there who have attended this webinar, I urge you to check into our program. We would love to see you involved in this degree program.

Connie: Thanks everyone, I was thrilled to be a part of this today and I really hope you’ll consider this degree program. It’s outstanding.

Facilitator: Great, thank you so much. And again there is a recording of this webinar. It’s going to be available through Michele and online in a couple of weeks. So, if you miss anything or if you want to rehear anything, definitely you guys can play this back. Otherwise have a great evening, thank you.


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