INSTEP Music: Delving Deeper and Making Connections ☆

Jihae Shin, a doctoral student in Music Education, is in her second year as the INSTEP Music coordinator. A cello player, Ms. Shin has taught string music at public middle and high schools in the USA and Korea. She enjoys interacting with the INSTEP students in a unique capacity. Not only does she take on the role of coordinator, with the organizational and advisory aspects that entails, she is also doing her dissertation on the INSTEP students.

Her area of study is how the INSTEPers develop relationships and interact with their own students, and how those relationships affect their learning as graduate students in an MA program. She is also studying how the program impacts their teaching practices within their own classrooms. She enjoys having the opportunity to work with the students in these two capacities and says they have been very helpful and supportive of her doctoral pursuits.

The INSTEP Music program provides an MA and professional certification in K-12 Music Education over the course of three summer sessions. Most students have between 3-5 years of previous teaching experience, which brings a high level of understanding about the realities of teaching, as well as a number of questions, to their learning at TC.

While the students bring a lot of practical experience from the classroom with them, the program offers philosophical, theoretical, and creative problem solving approaches to teaching in an effort to balance out what students already have in their toolbox. In addition, students take classes in conducting, pedagogical strategies, and even private music lessons to enrich their practice as musicians. Students have reported finding new perspectives from the fresh angle that the TC professors bring to the program.

Students participate in an online fieldwork class that guides them through a process of finding a research question. The culminating project is based on designing anything from their own curriculum or assessment strategies, to developing specific teaching practices or projects that will enable them to better serve their students.

Ms. Shin believes the individuality of the MA project is beneficial for the students. “It’s helpful because it really depends on their own school situation. It’s not a uniform project. They can decide on their own topics and projects, so it’s practical for them.”

Interested in participating in the INSTEP Music Education program? Find out how, here.