L to R: Annelies Harmon, Melissa Aurand Haese, Kara Burgess, Jessica
Garrison, Savannah Bungert, Dr. David Ledgerwood - Department Chair
In today's increasingly competitive undergraduate music environment, it is always good news when we discover that we can provide additional value for our graduates. Many colleges and universities offer discrete undergraduate and graduate courses in early childhood music. Now, ECMMA has provided a way for students from these programs to graduate with ECMMA Level 1 certification, an option that should increase student marketability immediately upon graduation.
University Level 1 Certification Model
Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI, added a music teaching practicum to their existing early childhood music course to provide their music degree students with the opportunity to earn ECMMA Level 1 Certification, the first certification program of its kind for ECMMA. Five Maranatha music students earned the ECMMA Level 1 certificate this past semester, and since its implementation in 2010, nine Maranatha students have completed the certification program. Because of Maranatha’s success with their program, ECMMA is pleased to offer the option of a similar certification model to other interested colleges and universities.
Requirements for the ECMMA Level 1 Certification for Maranatha music students include:
- Successful completion of a classroom-based course in early childhood music and movement,
- Successful completion of a 4-week online early childhood music course,
- Current ECMMA Student Membership,
- 15 hours of course-related fieldwork at Maranatha Kiddie Kampus (a daycare), and
- An additional year of teaching early childhood music and movement classes at Maranatha Kiddie Kampus and/or Maranatha Piano Prep School (a community music school) – at least 50 hours of additional teaching.
By teaching in both a daycare and in a community music school, students learn how to teach early childhood music and movement classes in settings that may or may not include parental involvement.All student work in early childhood music at Maranatha is supervised by Dr. Rick Townsend, early childhood music course instructor and Maranatha’s Director of Music Teacher Education.
Benefits of Implementing the Level 1 Certification Model
Recently, Maranatha students shared four ways in which earning their Level 1 certification in college benefitted their teacher preparation experience.
Benefit 1: Immediately applying the concepts learned during class
Music education graduate, Kaitlyn Clark Hoover (class of 2012) reminisced how her assimilation of course content completely changed when she began her early childhood practicum teaching. Both Hoover and senior music education major, Annelies Harmon, stated that applying what they learned during their early childhood courses in a structured, hands-on environment had been one of their most valued, college education experiences. Melissa Aurand Haese, a 2012 piano pedagogy graduate, elaborated that she valued being able to take lesson plans she constructed in class and learn how to adapt the lessons based on student interactions and the teaching environment.
Benefit 2: Observing and teaching under the supervision of an expert
Piano pedagogy graduate, Abigail Call (class of 2011) emphasized that the combination of coursework, observation, and teaching under the supervision of experts helped her learn what would stimulate the children’s minds, what would spark their imaginations, what would develop their motor skills, and most importantly, what would prepare them for a life of making music. Adding to Abigail’s comments, Haese stated that observing and teaching under the supervision of experts allowed her to understand how to use successfully various transitions when teaching her lesson plans in an actual classroom.
Benefit 3: Cultivating a love for teaching
Abigail attributed her love for teaching early childhood music to successfully earning her ECMMA Level 1 Certification during college, and Harmon wholeheartedly agreed that the extensive teaching practicum has greatly increased her desire to have a life-long career in teaching music.
Benefit 4: Job placement for recent graduates
Several program directors within the Maranatha music department have embraced the vision for early childhood music opportunities. Early childhood music and movement coursework is required for students in most of the music education tracks, including all string pedagogy and piano pedagogy majors, and it is a part of the music education minor available to elementary education majors in the general education program.
Two recent piano pedagogy graduates explained how they have greatly benefited from earning ECMMA Level 1 certification. Haese was able to include the certification on her resume and has been offered an early childhood music teaching position with Rockford Music Academy in Illinois. If Haese accepts the offer, Rockford Music Academy will work to develop additional contracts with area daycares to expand their program. Similarly, to the delight of Tri-City’s Christian School’s music and pre-school staff located in Independence, Missouri, Abigail Call has had the opportunity to develop a comprehensive early childhood music program. Abigail shares the following:
All of the pre-school children will tell you (well, the ones who can talk) that music is now their favorite time of the day! Seeing their faces light up when it is ‘music time’ is so thrilling. One of the little girls in the one-year-old class practically lives for music. As soon as I come in, she sits in the middle of the floor and starts tapping her knees while humming the “hello song!” While I love watching the kids participate during class, my favorite part is walking down the halls in the afternoon and hearing children all over the pre-school singing the songs and saying the chants we have learned in class. If I hadn’t earned my ECMMA Level 1 Certification in college, I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity.
Without a doubt, incorporating ECMMA Level 1 Certification into an undergraduate curriculum not only provides music degree students an excellent career opportunity, but also enables expert musicians to have the joyous experience of providing young children with an extraordinary foundation for life-long music making. For more information about how to develop a college-based certification model, contact ECMMA’s Managing Director, Dr. Rick Townsend .
About the Author: Janet Tschida earned her Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas. She currently directs Maranatha's Piano Prep School and teaches as Assistant Professor of Music and Piano Pedagogy at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.