Speaking of Ball State’s online master of music with a concentration in music education, Kevin Gerrity, associate professor of music education, can’t contain his pride, nor his joy.
“Our online program has become a quick success, and we are just getting started,” he says of the program launched in 2020.
Kevin says the program met its enrollment goal much sooner than expected and continues to see an increase in student demand..
A Graduation Celebration
“We recently celebrated our first two graduates from the program, who completed the program a semester ahead of schedule,” he says.
The online master’s was launched to support the growth of K-12 music educators and provide a quality foundation for those considering doctoral study.
“I think the program’s appeal among students is that it is rather affordable, has a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty, and is practical and achievable while teaching full time,” he says.
Courses Provide Practical Solutions
Kevin says online professional development courses give practical solutions to challenges that in-service music teachers, who comprise most of the enrollment, face each day.
“It is often the case that our faculty discuss and model specific strategies that the candidates themselves request because of personal struggle or interest,” he says. “We can tailor our discussion to their specific needs. These strategies can be easily implemented into their classroom the very next day.”
Kevin points out that Ball State’s music education curriculum is unique.
“Most teacher candidates, despite four years of learning, will end up teaching ‘the way they were taught’ when they were students in K-12 music programs,” says Kevin. “But we are able to dig deeper. We challenge our students to question what they teach and how they teach it, always taking into account the unique needs of their students.”
Faculty Prepared at Top-notch Programs
He says it makes a difference that students learn from nationally known and award-winning professors.
Ball State faculty hold specialized doctoral and/or terminal degrees from the best-known music education programs in the country, he adds.
“We have music education experts in every field—a band specialist, a string music specialist, a secondary education music specialist, a choral music specialist, and so on,” he says. “At many institutions, music education courses are often taught by music faculty who are content specialists, but not music educators that have actually taught in K-12 public schools.”
He notes that Ball State’s music education faculty have more than 200 years of combined experience, half of which was spent as public or private school music teachers in K-12 settings.
Kevin Invested Years in K-12, Too
As an example, Kevin spent 14 years teaching instrumental and general music in Ohio before joining the Ball State faculty, who have come to be recognized by many peers and colleagues as experts in their field because they regularly participate as leaders in state, regional, and national conferences.
Pride and joy are also what he feels for his music education alumni.
“So many Ball State grads, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, are doing great things in Indiana schools,” he says. “I want prospective students to know that choosing our program will also put them in the company of all of our alumni who continue to do amazing things within our profession.”