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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Graduate Student Spotlight

The survival and success of school music programs rely heavily on attracting and retaining students. Even with the best instruments and facilities, great teachers still can not teach empty chairs. That is exactly what GMU music education doctoral student Angela Ammerman points out in a recent article published in the latest issue of the American String Teacher. According to Ammerman, "perceived musical ability was the most significant factor [for students when] deciding to drop orchestra." By boosting her students' musical confidence, increasing the social status of the ensemble, and improving rapport with her students, Ammerman is able to establish "brand loyalty" for the orchestra program -thus boosting student retention. Click on the link to read the full article: Curbing Beginning String Attrition: Marketing Orchestra.

Angela Ammerman serves as the orchestra director at Annandale High School in Farifax County Public Schools. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music education at George Mason University. Her experiences in teaching K-12 general music and orchestra have provided her with insight into developing strong music programs through a variety of recruiting and retention styles. Before entering the graduate program in the GMU School of Music, Ammerman taught in Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia where she has also served as a guest conductor and presented clinics at in-service conferences. She recently returned from St. Louis where she presented her research at the 2014 NAfME Music Research & Teacher Education National Conference. She has been recognized as Beginning Teacher of the Year and has received the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award

The American String Teachers Association is an organization whose mission is "to enrich lives through the joy of teaching and playing string instruments." The GMU School of Music chapter of ASTA would like to invite all music students to join.  For more information about our student chapter contact Laura O'Konski at  or visit the ASTA online registration page.


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