Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The BPT Degree?

At an abbreviated burrito night tonight, Dingus, G and I were talking about the fact that DIngus would be pursuing the Music Ed degree at UNT even though he has no desire to become a band director (you should have seen the look I got from him just for asking that question). Though the MUED degree obviously has more inherent value than a performance degree (except for the fact that the latter, coming from UNT, would mean that one survived a fiercely competitive environment), it also means Dingus will have to take a lot of stuff he'll never use, such as the methods classes (where you learn to play [sort of] and hopefully teach all the different instruments; imagine Dingus playing, say, the cello) and three years of marching band (G and I laughed and pointed when he brought this up). I ended up with the same situation--taking a lot of classes full of "unused" knowledge or skills--even though I at least thought I was going to be a band director back in my young, misguided years.

The solution, it would seem, would be to have a MUED degree aimed specifically at future private instructors--a Bachelor of Private Teaching (BPT) degree, if you will. Some research would have to be done as to what would be required to attain this degree, but I'm soliciting suggestions from the readers of this blog (yes, all four of you) as to what the ideal BPT degree would definitely have or not have, while still fulfilling the requirements of the degree-granting institution. (C'mon, lurkers, this means you too. I've enabled anonymous comments on this blog, but please identify yourself at the end of your posting.)


Anonymous said...

I wish the "powers that be" who decide what constitutes a degree could be as intelligent as most students. I don't think that a MUED degree at UNT or for that matter any other degree at any institution (how appropriate) of higher learning focuses on preparing one for their selected field. I came to this conclusion many, many years ago as a college student. In the fours years I spent earning my degree I was only required to take 30 credit hours that I would actually use in my chosen field. What about the other 98 you ask? Well of course they were the standard English, History, and other garbage that I already took in high school and passed to be able to get into college! Duh---what's wrong with this picture? I was pursuing an education degree but alas, they did nothing to teach me how to teach! Pardon the oversight; I did have 9 weeks of student teaching. And of course in 9 weeks you can learn everything. That's why there are so many wonderful teachers out there today. I would hope that the curriculums have changed over the years to include classes like "how to handle discipline in the classroom" and "how to not bore your students to death" but somehow I doubt it. Here's an idea.......what about ITT Teaching Institute? Cut thru the BS and train you for your job! Pass a proficiency exam for English (to make sure you can communicate intelligently and then go on to the important stuff. If you want to be a private music teacher, you'll not only receive instructions for your instrument of choice (which would include care, handling and repair so you could pass all of this pertinent info on to your students), but also business and tax courses so that you would know exactly how to deal with everything involved in being self employed. Of course you would need music history, music appreciation and all those other things but what you would NOT be doing is wasting your time on courses that you would never use! But I guess this concept is just too logical.

G. Travis said...

*reads above comment*
... Mom? @_@;;

Kev said...

Hey, Anonymous, would you mind uncloaking? I haven't disabled anonymous comments on here because I know that some people don't want to get a Blogger account just to comment (kinda like I have with Xanga), but I would like for people who use that function to "sign" their posts.

But yeah, you may be right on something like an ITT (even the initials work!), though I'm sure the unions and everyone else who has a vested interest in all that crap we're put through in undergrad school would never let an idea like that see the light of day. *sigh*

Steven said...

I know the pit falls of a MUED degree, but it's more applicable than a performance degree any day as far as getting a consistent job. There are great players everywhere, but that doesn't mean they always have a place to play. This way, I can work my way up to a college job, just like my teacher did.

Best thing for a BPT would be to just have the students...teach students; young, old, and everything in between. There are too many college profs. who can't fix beginner level problems, so a fairly advanced player can still be lacking in that one simple aspect. The best private lesson teachers gain most(not all) of their gems of knowledge just from teaching and seeing what works with students. I would think you would have a BPT student do that for a few years, under supervision(perhaps even have them "teach" to their professor), and then they can move on. That way they get applicable experience, but aren't shoved into the real world quite yet without any knowledge to fall back on.

The kicker is that methods would have to be relatively standardized...and that varies GREATLY from teacher to teacher, as Wes(Woodrow) and Kev can attest to. Half the brass teachers at UNT would tell you that you can fix any problem with air...*BUZZER* Also it would be tough to gage the effectiveness of a teacher because each student's motivation depends solely on them. A teacher can only push a student to advance, not pull them.

James said...

This one's a bit hard for me to comment on... what with the rather large watery expanse and therefore cultural differences between us :)

BUT... I understand what ur saying about having a much more specific degree for those that want to do private teaching of music. I've felt the same about some IT degrees over here in Oz. However, I really can't comment as to what I'd expect in it - I spose I just don't know exactly how things operate in the private tuition area over there!

Matt said...

What they should do with the BPA is treat it like a Jazz Studies degree. We learn not only how to play jazz, but all the different aspects of it, like Jazz History and all the Aural and Theory stuff too. The cool thing about that is that not only do they teach you to play Jazz, they also teach you how to teach Jazz by teaching you all the different aspects of it. And don't think that's it's just Jazz you have to learn, for the first two years you study legit in your lessons.

Kev said...

If I'd known in undergrad school what I know now, I would've gotten a "Double Ed" degree--Music Ed and Jazz Studies combined. It probably would've taken even longer to get my bachelor's than it already did...but I bet it would also have balanced things out by making my master's take less time, since I took so many undergrad jazz courses as electives during grad school anyway.