MUS495: Music Student Teacher Seminar

Fall 2020


Wednesdays: 4:00-5:30pm

Music Practice Building, Room 219



Instructor: Mitchell Robinson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Music Education

Phone: 355.7555





Music Student Teacher Seminar is intended to serve the music teaching intern as a pre-service forum for issues, experiences, problems, and questions that may arise during the internship semester and the first few years of teaching. Emphasis is placed upon developing attributes evident in successful professional music educators and facilitating maximum benefit from the internship experience. In addition, issues and activities related to successful job acquisition and productivity as a beginning teacher will be addressed.




Throughout the course, interns will:

• develop further understanding of teaching/music teaching as a profession in general and through the preparation of a Professional Portfolio.

• increase awareness of the importance of professional development, including participation in professional organizations, workshops, and conferences. (Membership in NAfME/MMEA is recommended).

• demonstrate the ability to successfully execute the necessary components of acquiring a teaching position, including preparation of a professional résumé/portfolio, establishment of a placement file, and participation in a mock job interview.

• become familiar with the “realities” of the contemporary educational system through ongoing discussions with other class members, faculty, teachers, and/or public school administrators.

• reflect upon the internship experience regularly and communicate via email to the seminar instructor, supervisors, classmates and colleagues.



The College of Education’s Professional Criteria for Progression to Internship require that all education students be reliable in terms of attendance and punctuality. Students with unexcused absences and frequent tardiness in their internship placement or any classes may be withdrawn from the teacher certification program.


Requirements (All assignments must be submitted to pass the course.)


1. Prompt, consistent attendance and active participation at all class sessions and related activities are indicative of professional commitment. “Attendance” refers both to regular classes and special presentations by guests (e.g., guest speakers), for the entire length of time. “Participation” means a willingness to answer/ask questions both in and out of class, a demonstration of preparedness, and an active role in discussion.


Any absence must be pre-approved and excused by the instructor, and does not excuse you from meeting the due date for an assignment or collecting class notes on the lesson missed. Each unexcused absence may result in a lowering of the final portion of the internship grade.


2. Videotapes. It is expected that you will videotape your teaching on a regular basis. It is suggested that you archive one excerpt that focuses on your creative project for your Student Teaching Portfolio (STP) from the first month of your teaching placement, one from the middle portion of your time in the schools, and a third from the final month of the student teaching semester. You will also be required to share some videos of your teaching with your classmates during Student Teacher Seminar. These videos do not need to be related to your STP. Please consider sharing early, and perhaps even less successful, examples of your teaching in class. This kind of sharing is a tremendous learning experience for us all.


3. Student Teaching Portfolio (STP). This web document is centered around a “creative project” that demonstrates your ability to prepare, design, implement, assess and reflect upon the teaching of composing, improvising or arranging in your internship setting. The STP is organized into four sections, each demonstrating an important element of the music teaching/learning process. They are:


• Preparing and Planning for Instruction

• Implementing Instruction

• Assessing Student Learning

• Reflecting on Teaching and Learning


The STP is composed of two general types of information: documentation and commentaries. Documentation includes materials such as your statement of philosophical beliefs about music education, lesson descriptions, student work and videotaped classroom activities that provide evidence about the nature and quality of student learning and the kind of learning environment established by the student teacher. Commentaries are brief written analytical and reflective responses to specific prompts. The STP is predicated on the demonstration of successful teaching in three areas: performing, creating and assessing music and musical products and experiences. Further details on these creative processes will be discussed in Seminar. The STPs will be shared during the STP Poster Fair, held during the final seminar meeting of the semester.


Attendance and Participation:

Class members are expected to attend all classes, as learning in the class is enhanced by the attendance of all. More than two absences may result in the course grade being lowered. There is no such thing as an excused or unexcused absence, so save your absences for when you really need them, like when you are sick. I appreciate knowing why you miss a class, but notification is not required. If you have an unusual situation that results in extended absence, please contact me so that I am aware of the situation and can make arrangements to meet your instructional needs.


There will be frequent class activities based on the readings that require participation, and students are expected to be prepared. Class participation will be factored into grading. This means doing the required reading every day before class so that discussion can be as meaningful as possible.


Academic Honesty:

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the School of Music adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are not authorized to use the Web site to complete any course work in MUS495. Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course.


Students with disabilities will need to contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (353-9642 or and work with me to arrange any needed accommodations, per the Center's recommendation. It is the student’s responsibility to register with the RCPD and to inform faculty of any special accommodations needed by the student as determined by Disability Specialists at the RCPD; Faculty do not determine accommodations.



The College of Education’s Professional Criteria for Progression to the Internship require that all education students be reliable in terms of attendance and punctuality. Students with unexcused absences and frequent tardiness may be withdrawn from the teacher certification program.


Sexual Harassment Policy:

As your teacher, I wish to create a positive, comfortable learning environment. Each student has different boundaries emotionally and physically. The teaching of music has traditionally embraced a wide range of methods and techniques that may include physical contact between teacher and learner with the arms, shoulders, abdomen, head, neck and lower back. There is no music teaching technique that requires and physical contact with the student’s breast/chest, pubic area or buttocks. I will not initiate physical contact with a student without express permission from the student, and any such contact would be for pedagogical purposes only. We can also discuss any pedagogical interventions with which you are personally uncomfortable, and seek alternative strategies to accomplish these goals. Further, anatomical and physiological discussions may occur during the course of instruction, given the nature of music teaching and learning. These discussions should never include anything that is inappropriately sensual, sexual or suggestive in nature.


Should you believe that any violations of this policy occur in or out of class, you are encouraged to contact the following resources:

1. Office of Student Affairs, Student Judiciary: 432-2471

2. Dean of the College of Music: 355-4583

3. Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives: 432-3898


Children in Class*:

It is my goal to create a family-friendly atmosphere in our class at all times. The policy described here is a reflection of my own beliefs and commitments to student, staff and faculty parents. 


1. All exclusively breastfeeding babies are welcome in class as often as is necessary to support the breastfeeding relationship. Because not all women can pump sufficient milk, and not all babies will take a bottle reliably, I never want students to feel like they have to choose between feeding their baby and continuing their education. You and your nursing baby are welcome in class anytime.


2. For older children and babies, I understand that minor illnesses and unforeseen disruptions in childcare often put parents in the position of having to chose between missing class to stay home with a child and leaving him or her with someone you or the child does not feel comfortable with. While this is not meant to be a long-term childcare solution, occasionally bringing a child to class in order to cover gaps in care is perfectly acceptable.


3. I ask that all students work with me to create a welcoming environment that is respectful of all forms of parenting status.


4. In all cases where babies and children come to class, I ask that you sit close to the door so that if your little one needs special attention and is disrupting learning for other students, you may step outside until their need has been met. Non-parents in the class, please reserve seats near the door for your parenting classmates.


5. Finally, I understand that often the largest barrier to completing your coursework once you become a parent is the tiredness many parents feel in the evening once children have finally gone to sleep. The struggles of balancing school, childcare and often another job are exhausting. I hope that you will feel comfortable disclosing your student-parent status to me. This is the first step in my being able to meet your needs as a parent and as a student. While I maintain the same high expectations for all student in my classes regardless of parenting status, I am happy to problem solve with you in a way that makes you feel supported as you strive for school-parenting balance. My goal as your teacher is for you to be successful--both academically, and as a person; and that includes being the best parent you can be. 


* Borrowed from:


Basic Needs Security:

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Associate Dean for support. Furthermore, please notify me if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable me to best provide any possible support or resources.


Sample Calendar

(Seminar topics are subject to change.)


Week 1, Sep 2

Introductions; check in on first week of teaching!

Assignment for next week: Prepare 1 page resume for next week; we will revise this resume during the semester.


Week 2, Sep 9

Go over expectations for interns and their cooperating teachers. Discuss substitute teaching policy. 

Submit (via email as attachment) 1 page resume.

Assignments for next week:

Prepare for classroom management discussion; review

Be prepared to report on a classroom management problem faced by yourself and/or your cooperating teacher. Are there any suggestions that may help with your problem?


Week 3, Sep 16

Resume Bootcamp

Assignment for TBD:

Videotape an excerpt of your teaching (no more than 10 minutes); it would be fine for this to be a less than perfect example of your teaching; we'll watch videos on TBD.


Week 4, Sep 23

Check-in after week 3: How are you doing?


Week 5, Sep 30

STP web tutorial, with Jessica McKiernan and Whitney Mayo

One-on-One Meetings with your Supervisors

Time to discuss STP projects; project design, rubric overview, helping with websites, etc.


Week 6, Oct 7

Tales from the Field 

Watch Video Tape Excerpts #2


Week 7, Oct 14

Special Guest: Dr. Ryan Shaw: Focus on preparing effective lesson plans. Bring in copies of your cooperating teachers’ lesson plans.


Week 8, Oct 21

Special Guest: Shoshana Hershkowitz, Artist-in-Residence and Conductor of the Stony Brook Chorale and Camerata Singers at Stony Brook University (NY), and founder of Suffolk Progressives

"Music Education, Activism, Policy, and Politics"


Week 9, Oct 28

Interview Fishbowl


Week 10, Nov 4

First Aid/CPR Training & Certification, Mary Kay Gavitt, 2nd of 2 sessions: cost, $65


Week 11, Nov 11

Issues in Education Reform and Policy


Week 12, Nov 18

Certification Workshop with Carey Ommen and Pepa Casselman




Week 13, Dec 2

How Has Your Professional Philosophy Evolved Since Freshman Year?


Week 14, Dec 9



Standard Cert Mtg - Interns_Music_FS19.p
Microsoft Power Point Presentation 4.2 MB
Job Stuff slides
Info on resumes, cover letters, interviewing...
Adobe Acrobat Document 590.9 KB
Observation Form
Microsoft Word Document 29.5 KB
STP is for me.pptx
Microsoft Power Point Presentation 148.0 KB
Microsoft Word Document 91.6 KB
Music Education Philosophy.docx
Microsoft Word Document 110.6 KB
Microsoft Word Document 82.2 KB
cover letter Cedar Springs
Cedar Springs Cover Letter.doc
Microsoft Word Document 26.5 KB
Charlotte cover letter
Charlotte Cover Letter.doc
Microsoft Word Document 26.5 KB
cover letter
cover letter.doc
Microsoft Word Document 25.0 KB
STP Rubric
Microsoft Word Document 101.5 KB
1. Sample Interview Questions
Microsoft Word Document 34.5 KB
2. Sample Interview Questions
Microsoft Word Document 26.5 KB
3. Sample Interview Questions
Sample Interview Questions.doc
Microsoft Word Document 21.0 KB
4. Sample Interview Questions
Sample Music Interview Qu.doc
Microsoft Word Document 42.0 KB