MUS495: Music Student Teacher Seminar

Fall 2019


Wednesdays: 4:00-5:30pm

Music Practice Building, Room 219



Instructor: Mitchell Robinson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Music Education

Phone: 355.7555





Music Internship 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 Students with unexcused absences and frequent tardiness in their internship placement or any classes may be withdrawn from the teacher certification program.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. ePortfolio. Each intern will set up an electronic portfolio to include a résumé, a sample cover letter, a statement of philosophical beliefs and other materials for purposes of job acquisition. The technology resources and skills necessary for designing the ePortfolio (including a videotape compilation of teaching samples) will be demonstrated during MUS495; the intern is responsible for maintaining the ePortfolio website as directed.


3. Videotapes. It is expected that you will videotape your teaching on a regular basis. It is suggested that you archive one excerpt from the first month of your teaching assignment, one from the middle portion of your time in the schools, and a third from the final month of your assignment for your Portfolio. At least 2 of these video excerpts should be prepared to share with the class. 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.


4. 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 .5, and .5 for each additional absence beyond that. 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.


Student work must be turned in on time. Grades on individual assignments and projects will be reduced by .5 for every day that they are late.


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 MUS277. 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


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 4

Introductions; Student Teacher Goody Bags; 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 11

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 18

Resume Bootcamp

Assignment for Oct. 2 & 9:

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 Oct. 2 & 9.


Week 4, Sep 25

STP web tutorial, with Jessica McKiernan and Whitney Mayo


Week 5, Oct 2

Tales from the Field 

Watch Video Tape Excerpts #1


Week 6, Oct 9

Tales from the Field 

Watch Video Tape Excerpts #2




Week 7, Oct 23

Special Guests: Mr. Andrew McGuire, Assistant Director of Fine & Performing Arts, Detroit Public Schools Community District


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


Week 8, Oct 30

Interview Fishbowl


Week 9, Nov 6

First Aid/CPR Training & Certification, Mary Kay Gavitt, 1st of 2 sessions


Week 10, Nov 13

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


Week 11, Nov 20

Certification Workshop with Carey Ommen and Pepa Casselman




Week 12, Dec 4

STP Poster Fair, MPB219


Standard Cert Mtg - Interns_Music_FS19.p
Microsoft Power Point Presentation 4.2 MB
Microsoft Word Document 58.0 KB
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