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Master of Music Education in Instrumental Teaching

1. Introduction

Thank you for your interest in the Western Orthodox University Master of Music Education in Instrumental Teaching programme. This practitioner master’s programme is designed to be completed within twenty-two months by a student devoting ten to twelve hours a week, working by distance learning.

The programme is outlined below, but individual details may be varied on the initiative of the Mentor and/or student, always subject to ratification by the University. In principle, the aim is to provide a fully bespoke, individualized learning experience that takes into account the particular strengths, interests and previous learning of the student, and thus offers a flexible but rigorous route to the degree.

2. Entry requirements

Candidates must have completed

either
a first degree, or an equivalent music diploma qualification
or
have ten years of full-time (or part-time equivalent) experience as an instrumental music teacher in established and recognized settings

In addition, they must hold a full-time or part-time position in instrumental teaching (which may include running their own teaching studio) for at least the duration of the practicum component of the programme, and should have at least five years (or part-time equivalent) of experience in a similar setting to draw upon. This programme is not suitable for those who do not have such experience or who are not currently employed in such a position. The student will need to designate a senior colleague to act as on-site mentor for the practicum component, which may incur additional fees payable from the student to the person concerned for this supervision. For the purposes of the programme, “senior colleague” is defined as an instrumental teacher in the same discipline (or Head of Music or similar) who has at least ten years of instrumental teaching experience.

Candidates will normally have attained the age of twenty-eight years. All candidates will be expected to show a proficiency in the English language.

It is a key principle of the University that each application should be considered on its own merits, and admission to the course and all interpretations as to the eligibility for such admission remain at the discretion of the University.

3. How the programme works

The student will be assigned a Mentor by the University.

Part 1 – Portfolio of existing professional practice
The student will be required to prepare a portfolio of existing professional practice comprising a detailed survey of experience in instrumental teaching and issues arising from it. The portfolio should be fully annotated to focus on skills developed and learning experiences encountered, with an emphasis on professional development as a teacher, issues of the teaching of technique, musicianship, repertoire, preparation for external examinations etc. It will be expected that clients and current/former students will also contribute to the portfolio through supporting affidavits. The portfolio should function as a reflective element of the programme in which the student’s history as an instrumental teacher is encapsulated. The portfolio is assessed by the University.

More guidance to preparing an APEL portfolio is given here.

Part 2 – Supervised practicum
Working under the supervision of a designated mentor (see above), the student will complete a practicum of not less than six months, in which their professional practice will be assessed in a reflective setting. Essentially, this aspect of the programme concerns the assimilation of a second portfolio, but with the difference that this portfolio is concerned with a specific period of assessment. The student should set out the aims of the practicum at the outset, focusing particularly on practical projects and likely challenges given the students involved, and explain in detail the nature and aims of the work they are to undertake. These aims should in turn form the basis of discussion with the mentor and the agreement of what amounts to a learning contract in a teaching setting. Outcomes should where possible consider the overall contexts of instrumental teaching within the overall development of the individuals concerned. Where an outcome is not achieved, it may still provide a valuable learning experience. The focus of the practicum is on a holistic assessment of the instrumental teacher as a functioning professional, and it may quite properly include any relevant projects undertaken outside the formal workplace itself.

The practicum is assessed by the student-designated Mentor and ratified by the University.

Part 3 – A Dissertation
If Parts 1 and 2 have been passed successfully, the student may proceed to the preparation of a dissertation of not more than 30,000 words on a subject relevant to instrumental teaching agreed with the University. They will work with their Mentor and possibly other external experts to produce a cogent examination of a specific topic or issue, which may be related to their practical experience, to a study of history and/or repertoire, or to an aspect of pedagogical theory.

>>Dissertation guidance

4. Aims and objectives

The programme is aimed at the many instrumental teachers who hold a recognized diploma qualification but who have not taken a degree. It is likely to appeal both to those working in their own studios in private practice and those whose role is peripatetic within schools and similar organizations. However, this qualification is not intended for the purposes of teacher licensure. By being strongly practically-based, the degree aims to fit naturally around a busy professional life and to provide an appropriate reflection of the skills and techniques of the instrumental teacher today.