Bienen School of Music’s music education program

Whether an elementary or high school student is studying, music teachers can change children’s lives. This episode of NU Declasified provides an opportunity to delve into what is the specialty of music education of the Bienna School of Music and what opportunities it presents to future music educators.

[music, Violin Concerto Vo. 2 in d minor by Henryk Wieniawski, performed by by Felix Garkisch on violin]

FELIX GARKISH: People have a stereotype of a musical specialty. It’s like, “Oh, they don’t need to do much. All they need to do is practice their tool, otherwise they don’t need to do real work, ”which, in my opinion, is just – it’s completely, completely wrong.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: It was Felix Garkish, a freshman who entered the music education program of the Bienen School of Music. Felix’s main instrument is the violin.

[music, Violin Concerto Vo. 2 in d minor by Henryk Wieniawski, performed by by Felix Garkisch on violin]

ERIKA SCHMIDT: While some Bienen students plan to play their instrument professionally, others, like Felix, are working to become teachers themselves.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: From The Daily Northwestern I am Erica Schmidt. It’s a declassified NU, a look at how Wildcats thrive and survive in the Northwest. I don’t know much about Bienen, but I always thought that music was a really cool field to study in college. So in this episode, I spoke with students and faculty of the music education program about the unique opportunities and challenges in the major. Felix said that the specialty of music education is a little different from other specialties of Bienen.

FELIX GARKISH: We have many classes that we have to go through until we graduate to not only teach students but also get a teaching license. So it’s just like all other music majors. I would say that our classes are, in general, more academic. Of course, there are a few more practical or performance-based classes, such as the classes of different techniques that I have to go through.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Risha Hussein is a first-year student who receives a dual degree in music education and chemistry. One of the first classes she took in the music education program was Music Education 260-0, or an introduction to music education.

RISHA HUSSEIN: We attend many of Chicago’s middle, middle, and elementary schools, and we can observe teachers and their different styles. Teachers who are more knowledgeable, teachers who allow children to take the initiative more, and we write a lot of observation reports and discuss in class.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Risha said she learned a lot about the different teaching styles in her class.

RISHA HUSSEIN: When it comes to teaching, we talk a lot about existing teachers, so we will play with being teachers who allow students to do absolutely whatever they want. We call it a music venue. This way, you do not leave anything forbidden, for example, you are sitting on the floor with your children when they are sitting on the carpet and not standing over them. As body language, this is something we have talked about a lot.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Felix said he likes that in the music education program he likes small class sizes.

FELIX GARKISH: Most of my professors are really, really, really accessible. And it also means that even during classes they can see your progress, so even if you’re behind or anything, they can really, really, really easily help you.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: For Rishi, the small size of the program creates a sense of community and consistency.

RISHA HUSSEIN: I feel like my professors actually know me, which I guess can be said to be a bit more like high school, at least for the standard high school experience where you have these consistent professors. Like, when I study theory for two years and it’s like I have a small cohesive group of people because you usually take the same time. And it seems you are just from one group. This way, you manage to make a friend and you feel comfortable around everyone. And then you will not be surprised to ask questions and the like. It’s really nice to settle into this.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: In these classes, students must learn many different instruments, as well as the composition of voice and music, to prepare for the pedagogical environment. But in addition to this, students also specialize in a particular instrument – or voice.

RISHA HUSSEIN: So we need to take classes like percussion, string and woodwind to accustom ourselves to music that can be taught in elementary school. And then you come into concentration.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: The music education program also has three different curricula that students choose: general music education, instrumental music education, and choral music. Felix said the common track prepares students for –

FELIX GARKISH: We go to a primary or secondary school class (s) and teach a music class.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Felix is ​​engaged in instrumental music track.

FELIX GARKISH: Usually this includes a band or orchestra, but this can also be extended to other things. Like, I know some music teachers who teach guitar classes or love music production classes. So it’s not just like traditional things. There’s so much, it’s so open. And that’s right, I can shape it as I see fit, which I think is very cool.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Risha on the choral track.

RISHA HUSSEIN: The greatest person who influenced me was my choral leader. And just watch how she watches how all these kids grow and learn, and uses music as a means to talk not only about what you know, music is beautiful, but it can be a means of informing a wide audience about things like social justice and it can lead to awareness of many things.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Like Risha, Felix said he was

FELIX GARKISH: Really, really looked at my school music teacher. And the experience I got in that class made me think, “Okay, I want to give this to my students someday.” So music education seems to me to be the right choice.


ERIKA SCHMIDT: All music education majors must participate in a student education program where they often work with faculty who have graduated from Northwest. Each student works with two teachers while teaching students. To learn more about this, I spoke with Professor Stevie Marx, coordinator of student faculty and assessments at Bienen.

STEVE BRAND: Therefore, to obtain a license in Illinois, you must be prepared for conscription at all levels of the class. So that means, say, Erica, you came up to me and said, “Boy, I’m really curious, I want to get an experience in high school. But I love young children, I would like, you know, to run an initial program where I first introduced the kids to the tools and then maybe rehearsed them in the junior classes and then got the high school experience. ” So I would look for something like that.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Teachers guide specialties of education through the learning process in a practical environment. Marx said that she combines students with teachers on the basis of various factors, asking the following questions:

STEVE BRAND: Who can we compare you with that will work well for you? Do you have a car or do you rely on public transport? What impressions do you want? Do you want an orchestra? Do you want marijuana? Do you want to work with a show choir or want to help direct a musical? We try to find a position for our students that will be profitable, and really, really move them to another level as a teacher.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Felix said he had a high school teacher on the band’s program.

FELIX GARKISH: I remember she was a student of Northwestern Music Education and she was a phenomenal teacher.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Although a music education program is full of opportunities, it can be an intense workload. For some students, the dual degree program may take five years.

RISHA HUSSEIN: I think mine is a little heavier because I have a four-year plan instead of a five-year one, but now I had 5.8 units. And for the rest my plan is about 6.3 to 6.8 units each quarter. And most of them are Bienen.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Marx said the program has made some changes to their curriculum over the past few years to ease the workload of students.

STEVE BRAND: We know that music students need to take more credit than anyone, I think almost, at university. So we looked for ways to consolidate some of these coursework. And so I included some technical stuff about singing in my coursework on choral techniques that all students must go through.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: I asked Felix about his experience with the workload in music education.

FELIX GARKISH: I mean, I love them. But they are designed to be sophisticated. And I appreciate that. It’s not that you can just bypass them all, you have to make an effort to get a quality product.

ERIKA SCHMIDT: Ultimately, Marx said her goal was to motivate students to stay as passionate about student learning as she always had.

STEVE BRAND: Music education enables every child to express himself in a way he will not find in any other discipline. And so this is the most worthy pursuit. And we need great music educators, and I’m proud to be able to serve in that capacity. It scares the hell out of me, Erica, it’s a high responsibility. These fabulous young people are going to go out and they are going to have their own class. And God willing, they will make a difference, like someone made in their life, a positive difference. And that’s what I think of every time I go to class.


ERIKA SCHMIDT: From The Daily Northwestern I am Erica Schmidt. Thanks for listening to the next NU series: Declassified. This episode was reported and made by me. The editor of The Daily Northwestern is Will Clark, the digital editor is Jordan Mangi, and the editor-in-chief is Isabel Sarraf. Be sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more similar episodes.


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ eschmitt318

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