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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Alumni Spotlight

In a recent article, Tim Feerst (BM Ed, 2011) reflected on the value and importance of his time spent at Mason working on a degree in music education. He is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in performance at the University of North Texas. You can read the full article at

Friday, December 13, 2013

Music Education Poster Session

Students enrolled in the music education research design course presented their research topics in a poster session on Thursday, December 12, in deLaski hall.  Special congratulations to Ph.D. students Angelal Ammerman, Tim Smith, Nathan St. Pierre, Brian Walden, and Margaret Woods who have have been invited to present their posters at the NAfME Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference that will be held in April 2014 in St. Louis, MO.

Curbing Elementary String Attrition, Angela Ammerman

A Model Describing Musical and Teaching Skills of the Effective First-Year Music Teacher, Timothy Smith

Standards-Based Grading Practices Among Practicing Music Educators: Prevalence and Rationale, Nathan St. Pierre
Lesson Preparation, Error Detection, Verbal and Non-verbal Communication as Predictors of Confidence of Undergraduate Instrumental Music Education Majors in the Pre-service Student Teaching Practicum, Brian O. Walden
Jazz Improvisation as a Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children, Joseph Whitney

Presenteeism as an Indicator of Stress in Secondary Music Teachers, Margaret Woods

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Music Education Resource Library


Come to the Music Education Resource Library for print resources for music education courses or for assistance or advice from Mrs. Woods or Mr. Smith.  A327D is located in A327C just inside the double doors at the end of the hallway. Please enter A327C quietly to avoid interrupting class.


Monday 12:30 - 2:00
Thursday 1:30 - 4:30
Friday 1:30 - 3:00

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fall 2013 Lab Ensemble Assignments

Click here to view the Fall 2013 Lab Ensemble Assignment roster. Based on your assignment you are to report to the following locations for your first rehearsal on Friday, September 6.

Band - Dr. Brian Wuttke in deLaski 3001
Chorus - Dr. Lisa Billingham in PAB 323
Orchestra - Prof. Wayne Taylor in PAB 327

Band students should check out instruments from the instrument storage room located in PAB 327 before Friday, September 6. For questions or concerns, click on your ensemble director's name above to ask a question via email.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Important Dates: September 2013

Music Education Convocation
Friday Sept. 6. 12:30 pm in deLaski Hall
MTEC Paperwork Deadline
Friday, Sept. 13. Send to Dr. Wuttke in PAB 432
Intern Application Deadlines for Spring 2014
Friday, Sept. 13. Endorsement area advisor approval
Monday, Sept. 16. CEHD in Thompson Hall in room1708
MTEC Interview and Skill Proficinecy Exam
Monday, Sept. 16. Sign-up sheet posted in PAB 432
Friday, Sept. 20. Interview and exam sessions

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Early Childhood Teaching Job

The Early Childhood Music Department at the Levine School of Music is looking for a teacher for Saturday mornings to teach 3 classes to children ages 1-6 years old. According to Gabriela Cohen, "We have had several people from George Mason work as interns and teachers at Levine and have always found they have been wonderful assets to the Department."

For more information about this job posting, follow this link to the  the Levine school website:  or email Gabriela Cohen at:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Welcome Back to Fall 2013

It is time once again to hear the commotion in the halls as teachers and students move to and from classes. The new school year will see many exciting changes in the music education program. Our Ph.D. in music education now has five students and interest continues to grow. The school of music faculty has indicated that instituting a summer Master of Music degree program in music education become an important curricular goal. Our student chapter of NAfME will be sending approximately 30 students to VMEA this year. The Virginia legislature has also passed a new law requiring First Aid training for all new teachers applying for a teaching license in the commonwealth. All of this, and more will be discussed at our bi-annual convocation. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 6, 2013     
deLaski Hall (room 3001)         
12:30 - 1:20 pm

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Music Teaching Jobs

The Southern Teachers Agency has quite a few music vacancy listings from schools for the 2013-14 school year and we anticipate many more in the coming months! The types of listings we receive range from elementary general music through high school choral and instrumental.

Requirements: A degree in music education is preferred. Candidates should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Some positions may require prior teaching experience.

Application Process: Interested candidates should apply to Southern Teachers Agency by submitting a completed STA Application, along with a resume and cover letter to

A Capitol Campaign: STA is sponsoring a job fair for active, registered STA candidates in Washington, DC, on March 23.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Alumni Spotlight

Name: Michelle Fleischman, Class of 2011
Endorsement Area: Instrumental Music: Orchestra
Schools: Willow Springs Elementary School, Fairfax; and Centreville Elementary School, Centreville
School Population: 900 (Willow Springs ES)
Number of Students in Orchestra: 270

Secrets for attracting so many students into orchestra:  The strings programs at my schools have grown significantly in the last two years. There are a few main components that I believe have helped my program to grow. First and foremost, I made myself available at my schools as much as possible when I started my first year. I made sure to attend school welcome walks and supply drop offs to introduce myself to the parents and students. I also continue to be involved by attending PTA functions, which includes playing volleyball at our school spirit night –my player name is Stringcheese. Next year I am coaching our school jump rope team! I have created a fun and engaging recruitment demonstration that highlights the string program, and demonstrates some of the fun songs that you can play on string instruments. When students sign up for strings, we write their name outside our door (conveniently leading to the cafeteria) on a huge poster board so that everyone can see the students who have joined our orchestra family. Once the students are signed up, it is important to focus on retention. One of my colleagues told me that my programs are so successful because I have made orchestra part of the culture at my schools. My students enjoy coming to class, which helps them learn because they want to be there. I make it a priority to add orchestra news to the school news program whenever possible. For concerts, the students make invitations to personally invite their family, friends, and teachers. The students also make posters to advertise for concerts, which we hang around the building. We have a Note Reading Wall of Fame in the hallway outside of our classroom. Students in the younger grades see this and are excited to join strings even before they are in 4th grade. Yeah, we work hard to attract students into our program.

Biggest challenge so far: Currently, the biggest challenge I face is the limited amount of time that I have with my students each week. I only see each class for 45-minutes per week. For this age group, 20-30 students are large class sizes and this presents special challenges when students are learning the basics and need strong fundamentals that must be fostered with individual attention especially when learning performance fundamentals. Because of this, it is extremely important to be organized and to plan for each class with short-term and long-term goals in mind. Last year, my biggest challenge was balancing my career and personal life. My mentors reminded me of the importance of re-energizing at home. It was very easy last year to bring my work home with me at the end of the day and continue to work until the late hours of the night. Teaching is extremely demanding, and I have learned how important it is for me to take time to relax at home and get a good night sleep so that I can teach to my full potential the next day and every day.

The best thing to happen at work so far: There are so many positive memories from this past year that it is hard to pick just one. The spring concert last year garnered a huge sense of the small successes of each day, like when a student magically comes in and can play all of the string karate belts and then thanks me for it. One of the best moments in my teaching career was last year at my Holiday Concert. It was the first concert of my teaching career, and it also happened to be my birthday. I was nervous because it was in front of a lot of my colleagues and my principal. Not only did the students perform beautifully, but all 240 of my students sang Happy Birthday. It was the moment where I thought, “I cannot believe that I have achieved my goal of becoming a string teacher, and here I am with 240 amazing students who I could not be more proud of.”

Advice for undergraduates pursuing a career in music teaching: Stick together, and help each other. The music education students should act like a family. I know that my graduating class still talks to each other and helps each other on a daily basis, even if it is just providing a few words of encouragement.  Take advantage of the fact that Mason is literally in the heart of Fairfax County Public Schools. There are hundreds of fabulous music teachers within minutes of GMU. Although I participated in field experiences for my music education courses, I sometimes wish that I had spent every extra minute I had visiting schools, networking with teachers. You can talk about methods of teaching all you want, but there is no better lesson than seeing it work in an actual teaching situation. That being said, any GMU music student is always welcome in my classroom.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

VMEA 2013 Planning Begins

GMU NAfME officers Kyle Harrington and Hannah Tucker secure funding for eight student rooms at The Homestead for the VMEA conference in November. This translates to 30 students! President Kyle Harrington reports, “This is a huge vote of confidence from our school of music director Dr. Layendecker.” According to chapter secretary Hannah Tucker, “It was most definitely a team effort, which Kyle spearheaded and got the ball rolling. We're really excited about the possibilities that are opening up for us now that our whole group can stay together at the Homestead; lots of community building opportunities. If the trip turns out anything like last year, but with more people, this is going to do a lot to move our NAfME chapter forward and build it up again.”

Students who are interested in attending VMEA conference must be a member and begin setting aside money for travel expenses. According to faculty sponsor Dr. Billingham, “I am very pleased to see the initiative [the students] have taken with this. I would say we should start setting fundraising ideas so that we have the funding to drive and stay. Vans for 30 people - do the math!” Students interested in joining NAfME should click on the icon below.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Field Experience Opportunity

Kim Robinson, the band director at Bonnie Brae and Oak View Elementary Schools (very close to GMU) is looking for some assistance with her beginning brass students as follows:

            Oak View Elem. School – Tuesday from 12:25-1:10 pm
            Bonnie Brae Elem. School – Wednesday from 9:40-10:25 am

If you play a brass instrument, this would be a great opportunity to fulfill field experience requirements for your Instrumental Methods class or to dive in and figure out what this music teaching career is really like. If interested e-mail Dr. Wuttke at and he will put you in direct contact with the band director.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Student Spotlight

Name: Hannah Tucker, Class of 2014
Principal: Voice – Soprano   Secondary: Piano
Endorsement Area: Vocal General and Choral Music
G.P.A.  3.96

Impact of music education coursework so far: Two classes stand out as being important to my future career goals. The Music Administration and Management class (MUSI 393) helped build an awareness of all of the organizational aspects required for successful public school teaching. I am currently enrolled in MUSI 463: Secondary Choral Methods with Dr. Billingham. We are currently discussing the importance of making contact and connections with each individual student in our ensemble. Another aspect of this idea is the importance of assessing individual student progress as well as the group’s progress.

Benefit of Field Experience: I have been out to observe Jennifer Kaufmann at Broad Run High School in Ashburn and am impressed at how the students learn musical independence through daily solfege and sight-singing activities. The students are taught to function at a very sophisticated musical level. I have also been out to observe Tom Tutwiler at Hylton High School in Woodbridge and am impressed with his level of interaction with the students. I also like how he uses rhythm games and fast solfegge games in order to teach and reinforce musical concepts. He definitely makes learning fun.

Advice for new music education students: Get to know, and make it a point to talk to your endorsement area teachers and take advantage of all the opportunities to work with faculty members –pick their brains for advice and teaching tips. I take notes on what I like, so if I see a cool warm-up or a good gesture in choir rehearsal I write it down in a journal so that I can try to incorporate it into my teaching. Of course, focus on aural skills as much as possible.

Attending clinics and conferences: I attended the ACDA conference and that was a great experience, especially since the focus was entirely on choral music. I also attended VMEA in the fall and it was interesting because you get to interact with music teachers in all areas: band, chorus, orchestra, general music, and guitar. I also liked attending the clinics and seminars from teachers who are currently teaching, they have so many great ideas. I highly recommend that all students who are interested in teaching attend this conference. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 GMU NAfME Officers Elected

On behalf of the music education faculty and staff, we would like to congratulate the 2013-14 GMU NAfME officers. We are looking forward to a great year and an unprecedented turnout at VMEA in the fall. If you haven't had the chance to see updated chapter bulletin board you need to stop by the third floor in deLaski hall. Great job Sara!

President: Kyle Harrington
Vice President: Sara Martin
Secretary: Hannah Tucker
Treasurer: Nick Kraemer

Friday, February 22, 2013

Practice Time!

A constant dilemma for parents is how to get their kids to practice. As a society we tend to focus on the fun factor of idle-time activities such as sports and music. However, we still want our  children to be able to demonstrate a skill in return for their time spent on these activities. A recent story was aired on NPR by Anastasia Tsioulcas describing her own experience as a parent trying to tackle this common problem.

Getting Kids To Practice Music — Without Tears Or Tantrums


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alumni Spotlight

Name: Vincent Prinzivalli, Class of 2012
Endorsement Area: Instrumental Music: Band
School: Stonewall Middle School, Manassas, Virginia
School Population: 1100
Number of Students in Band: 300 (170 students in beginning band)

Biggest challenge so far: Administrative tasks that involve turning in reports by posted deadlines all due at various times. For example, there are reports to the administration, to VBODA, and to the school district arts office to name a few. In addition, letters have to go home to parents regarding field trips to our music assessment. We are also taking a trip to Kings Dominion where we will perform for contest. We also hosted all-county band and that required a lot of organization and paperwork as well. Finally, it was tough trying to get to know all the students and figuring out who they were. I had to rent out about 100 school instruments at the beginning of the school year. Fortunately I will know about 70% of the students next year because they all pretty much plan on staying in band.

Best thing to happen so far this year: Kids are staying after school to practice and often stay until 5:00 pm for what have come to be known as Practice Parties. This is definitely new and was not a part of the culture prior to this year. The administration and other teachers in the department are real happy to see this and support this 100%. More importantly the students are excited. I remember at the beginning of the year the eighth graders struggled to play a Bb concert scale together. There was no formal system in place for teaching rhythm. I have been using an amplified metronome and the rhythm cards that we learned about in the Instrumental Methods class on a regular basis. Now the students can perform their music with much better precision.

Advice for undergraduates pursuing a career in music teaching: Don’t complain, show up to class, and pay attention. Don’t take the education classes for granted. Even though there are times some of that information seems dry or boring, it really is important to know about teaching diverse populations of students. My principal was really impressed when he discovered that I knew about IEP, AYP, NCLB, and other trends in education practice. In addition, don’t lock into any one idea of what it is you think you will be teaching. For example, don’t just think you will only teach high school band or elementary school band because you never know what skills you will need to fall back on. I think another important bit of advice is for music education majors to start networking with each other as well as teachers in the area as soon as possible. It’s really important to be personable and get out there and shake hands. It’s not enough to think that you can just sit in a classroom and figure out how to teach. You have to learn by doing, that’s definitely a big part of it, applying what you learn in class to real world teaching situations.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Job Opportunity

The Bach to Rock School in McLean is hiring teachers. For more information contact Jennifer Gregor at or visit their website at


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Time to Vote!

In order to be procedurally correct when electing our NAfME officers there has been a change in part of the voting method. To be eligible to vote for our 2013 officers, you must be a paid/active member of NAfME (you will be asked to provide the last 3 digits of your NAfME id # along with exp. date to verify membership). If you have already taken the survey, you must retake the survey and provide the additional information for your vote to count!!

Our nominees have provided their bios and now it is up to you!  Please go to the following link in order to vote:

You have until Tuesday, February 19th at 9pm to vote, after that time the survey will close.  Results will be posted before lab ensemble on Friday, Feb. 22nd.   Good luck to all our nominees.

Lab Ensembles Underway

It's that time of year when the sounds of music education majors preparing their lab ensemble music fill the hallways of the Performing Arts Building. Each semester, students enrolled in woodwind, brass, string, percussion, and voice technique classes join together on Fridays to participate in band, chorus, or string orchestra. Each lab ensemble is led by student conductors enrolled in Instrumental and Choral Methods classes.

Lab ensembles provide an important link between theory and practice where the student conductors gain valuable podium time prior to their student teaching experience. The Lab Ensemble concert will be held this semester on Friday, April 26th at 12:30 pm in deLaski Hall.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Student Teaching Application Deadline 2/15

Students who plan to student teach in the Fall 2013 semester must submit three copies of the Music Education Application for Internship to Lauren Clark in the Field Placement Office located in 1708 Thompson Hall on or before 2/15/2013. For more information refer to the following:


Applications must be previewed and signed by your endorsement area instructor BEFORE submitting to the Field Placement Office.

Vocal General and Choral Music Education majors see Dr. Billingham for authorization.

Instrumental Music Education (Band and Strings) majors see Dr. Wuttke for authorization.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Welcome to Music Ed @ Mason

If you are currently in the music education program at George Mason University, are thinking about pursuing a degree with us, or are simply interested in finding out more about our program you have come to the right place! Please take a moment and subscribe to this site so that you can receive all the latest updates. If you have a smart phone you will be able to access this site 24/7 in a convenient mobile format. In addition to posting important information about our degree program, we will also feature topical current events and news stories pertaining to education. We welcome your feedback and comments.