During a recent field trip Parker Middle School sixth-grade band students were provided a unique opportunity to experience a college campus and work with college students who are pursuing a degree in music education. The students visited the University of Michigan to attend a clinic with Jessica Marra, a University of Michigan student working toward a doctoral degree in conducting. Following the clinic, students broke into small groups where they practiced with University of Michigan music education students and learned about the process of becoming a music educator.
“Having my students learn from another educator is always a positive experience. It allows the students to learn new ways of applying concepts and clinicians often say the same things that I do, but in different ways. It also allows me to step back and hear and see things that I normally do not,” said Jeffrey Stimson, Parker Middle School band director. “Working with the University of Michigan music education students benefits both my students and the college students. The middle school students learn about the process of becoming a music educator and that they can be part of a college level band. The college students benefit from working with students who are just beginning their music career. It is hard to reproduce the sounds and characteristics of students this age for college students to work with.”
Students who went on the trip found it to be a fun learning experience. “I think it was very interesting. We had a clinic and she taught us about our posture and how we should sit on our chair. We took our concert music and practiced it there,” said Lillian Vincent, Parker Middle School sixth-grade student. The students also enjoyed working with Marra during the clinic. “It was pretty interesting because they (Stimson and Marra) both had the same techniques and different techniques to teach,” said Briana Robson, Parker Middle School sixth-grade student.
The trip to the University of Michigan was planned by Stimson and Dr. Colleen Conway, University of Michigan professor of music education. Stimson and Conway have collaborated on many projects benefiting both of their students. Conway was recently named the Michigan Music Education Association 2015 Music Educator of the Year.
Top photo: Students work with a University of Michigan music education major during a sectional.