I have just received my NCTM designation from the Music Teachers National Association, the oldest association for music teachers in the U.S. (since 1876). What does this signify? I produced a 60+-page document along with over 4 hours of video to complete the Teacher Profile Projects required of applicants for the certification. I started working on the project in July and submitted all my materials in late February. It felt a lot like completing a thesis or requirements for a Master’s Degree, and I learned a lot while I did it. Here are some of the areas I worked on:
- Write your teaching philosophy in 600 words.
- Analyze four teaching pieces from the violin repertoire (mid-intermediate level) and discuss your teaching approach to: music history, style and interpretation, music theory, technical difficulties and how you would coach a student through them. Pieces were selected for me from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods.
- Present your teaching by videotaping 3 sessions with a student at the beginning, middle and end of learning a new piece for performance, and provide a written self-evaluation of each video. This project alone took about 3 months to complete. Many thanks to Kelsey S. for being my “subject,” I couldn’t have done it without her enthusiastic participation!
- Attach documentation of student evaluations such as adjudications forms, recital videos and programs, progress reports etc.
- Video record yourself performing 5-10 minutes of advanced repertoire. (I was most nervous about passing certification in this area. I submitted video of myself playing selections from the Bruch G minor Violin Concerto, Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro, and a movement of the Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano.)
- Describe and demonstrate how you foster a positive teaching environment through written descriptions and photos/video of your studio. Include reward systems, studio furnishings and artwork, computers and software, media equipment, web site, recordkeeping etc.
- Discuss your studio business ethics and policies. Describe how you would respond to several ethically-challenging scenarios with students, families or colleagues. Provide a hypothetical annual budget.
Certification is reviewed and renewed annually by MTNA as long as I meet certain professional activity requirements.
Thanks to my whole family and especially my wonderful and supportive husband for their encouragement through the process. We did it!