College implements education track in music department

After many years of anticipation for a music education program, the moment has finally arrived. The program at Geneseo officially starts this year. 

This track is specific to the music major with a focus in performance. There are many requirements for the track, including New York State music certification, according to music department chair Gerard Floriano.

“If you’re an instrumentalist you need to have some voice background, to put it briefly,” Floriano said. “And if you’re a vocalist, you need to have some instrumental background because the music certification is for K-12 in New York State. You could teach vocal music in the elementary school or you could teach band music in the high school.”

Floriano stressed requirements Geneseo has for the track, including conducting, training and basic piano skills.

“In addition to those state requirements, we also have a very stringent conducting requirement,” Floriano said. “Two semesters of conducting as well as a fair amount of keyboard training, so basic piano skills and harmony.”

Childhood special education and vocal performance double major junior Tristan Johnson  emphasized that requirements of the track will help students in the future.

“I hope to get more practice in skills that will be necessary for me to be successful at a graduate program in music education,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “Some of the ways they will prepare us for this are conducting classes and certain harmony classes we’re required to take so we can harmonize on the spot with a piano, so we will be able to accompany students and conduct both orchestral pieces and choral pieces.”

Students on the track will learn skills they would not learn in a regular education class, which is a huge benefit for early childhood education and violin performance double major senior Tayler Nguyen.

“From the education [course] I’ve learned a lot of stuff for teaching but there is absolutely nothing on teaching in a music classroom,” Nguyen said. “I hope to learn to teach the curriculum for a general music class; teaching strings, teaching band, teaching chorus and having the tools to teach music instead of general education.”

The development of this track presents many new opportunities for education and music majors which allows students to explore their future options. 

Floriano highlighted the track as a way to continue a passion for music without performance.

“Teaching is important,” he said. “Some students who come to college really want to do that and pursue that not only as their career but also as their vocation, as their calling. So, the track is a way for music students who are gifted in that area to be able to teach if they have the uncertainty of a performance career and to have more certainty in a teaching career.”

Nguyen expressed the same sentiment of not wanting to perform but still wanting to pursue her passion for violin.

“When I first came to Geneseo, I came specifically for the education department,” Nguyen said. “I didn’t really want to perform violin, that’s not really me … I heard about this program and was like, ‘this is perfect for me.’”

Johnson shared that the new track is the perfect way for him to continue his passion in music.

“I was fortunate enough to have wonderful music educators when I was an adolescent and in elementary school,” Johnson said. “I always wanted to see kids thrive in music and having that creative outlet … If I’m going to teach something for the rest of my life I want to teach something that I am absolutely passionate about.” 

Floriano and the music department will send out emails and host an information session in October for students who are interested in joining the new music education track.