Spotlight On…Jose Sandin ☆

José D. SandínAn Interview with Music Education Doctoral Student Jose Sandin

What made you choose TC?
About three years ago, I met with Dr. Harold Abeles from the Music and Music Education program. We had a nice chat about the program, and our conversation congealed my interest for eventually pursuing studies in the field. Early last year, I met with Dr. Lori Custodero and Dr. Lenore Pogonowski to express my interest in applying to the program. All these conversations were cordial and were informative of the support the program offers for students to explore their own research interests – for us to construct our own knowledge. That was important to me.

How far along are you in your program, and how much time do you have left?
I am currently in the first year of the degree of Doctor of Education in Music and Music Education. I could estimate that with remaining coursework and dissertation work, I still have 3 to 4 more years to complete.

What is student life like in the Music Ed program?
So far the courses I’ve taken are lively. As opposed to what is traditionally expected, the work within the program draws you in as a participant. I find the people at these courses and within the program to be enthusiastic. I’ve noticed that whether they agree or not with the work, dialogues, and/or readings presented, they pursue their respective interests and experiences with vigor. That stretches the program with an academic pull that is ideal for identifying one’s place within the field.

What have been some memorable experiences of your time at TC so far?
I’ve worked closely with the faculty of the Creative Arts Lab (CAL) course. Their keenness to creative processes and to the place these take within instruction, assessment, and learning of any content has been a pleasure to witness. Seeing the transformation it inspires in the students that take the course (our current and future educators) is simply wonderful. I imagine their classrooms now offer spaces for creative work that would otherwise go unnoticed and unvalued.

How have you been funding your studies?
The Geffen Fellowship has been the primary source of funding for my studies. I’ve also been awarded TC’s minority scholarship.

What sorts of opportunities/responsibilities does being a Geffen Fellow bring?
As a Geffen Fellow I’ve been able to work closely with Dr. Lenore Pogonowski, and the other faculty members of the Creative Arts Lab (CAL) course. As part of our collaborative work this year, we’ve been able to create a relationship with Central Park East 1 Elementary School (CPE). I work full time at CPE as a 4th/5th grade open classroom teacher. Our current work at CPE follows and sustains the progressive philosophy of education it set out to do 35 years ago. The relationship created between these two (CAL and CPE) has meant that participants of the CAL course have the opportunity to visit CPE to make observations of educational work that is creative, personal, and artistic in nature. Reciprocally, during the post-observation chats we offer our visitors, at CPE we can see our work and the work of our students through the eyes of those who come to observe us. Furthermore, the CAL faculty offered a one-day workshop for the CPE faculty to explore the creative arts as a staff – to reinvigorate our creative work before continuing to provide the same for our students.

There are currently talks in place about furthering this collaboration – it is hoped that this relationship between CAL and CPE continues to grow and that it fosters mutual development.

What do you wish to do upon graduating? How is TC helping you achieve this?
I’ve been working in schools for 5 years now, directly supporting the growth of children and that of my teacher colleagues in them. I expect to keep working in schools for a while. At the moment, TC supports that work, and I foresee it to continue to do so. I am, of course, interested in musical anthropology and its place in higher education and in teacher education programs.