Evolution of an After School Band Project: A Richer Community for Preservice Music Teachers and Students in an Urban School


Laura K. Sindberg, University of Minnesota


David N. Sanderson, University of Minnesota



Increasing evidence points to the value of fieldwork in teacher preparation (Conway, 2002; Roulston, K., Legette, R., and Womack, S. T. 2005; Wiggins, 2007), and to forging partnerships between school and university (Brophy, 2011; Hallam, 2011). Sometimes referred to as authentic context learning (Paul, et. al., 2001), experiences in the field can help preservice teachers develop pedagogical knowledge and skills and have been linked to teacher retention (Krueger, 2001; Robbins, 1993). Providing future music teachers with experience teaching students with socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds different from their own is a persistent challenge in music teacher education (Bell & Robinson, 2006; Emmanuel, 2005). Further, engaging with underserved students can help preservice music educators understand matters of social justice and equal access in music education (Kindall-Smith et al., 2011).


Designed as a collaborative enterprise, Band Project is an after school instructional program for young band students in a high poverty (Payne, 2005), culturally diverse school. It complements the existing instrumental music program of XX School. Preservice music educators serve as Apprentice Teachers, providing instruction to young band students with the mentorship of the school’s band director and university faculty. Emphasis is placed on experiences in creating and “thinking in music,” primarily through composing and improvising (Sturm, n.d.).


Band Project seeks to increase participation in music among economically disadvantaged and minority students and to expand hands on opportunities for music education students, under the supervision of university faculty and band teacher. Experiences include skill and knowledge development for Apprentice Teachers and creative opportunities for students. One of the intentions of this project is to help preservice teachers better prepare for teaching in the 21st century (Darling-Hammond, 2006).


This session, presented by University faculty and a graduate student, will trace Band Project from its initial conceptualization to its realization as an apprenticeship for pre-service instrumental music educators. Included will be an overview of the philosophical underpinnings, planning and organizational framework, and curriculum design, as well as a sharing of artifacts including teaching videos, student compositions, and interview excerpts. This presentation addresses the need to help pre-service teachers develop important skills in two distinctive ways: engaging with diverse student populations and creating music through composing and improvising.


The proposed session aligns with the 2015 SMTE Symposium in its connection to the work of the School/University Partnership ASPA. The Symposium focus of “Toward a Stronger, Richer Community” forms the underpinnings of Band Project from its original conception; it is also lived out as the University Apprentice Teachers and students greet one another, explore and create music, and share their accomplishments weekly and at the annual Showcase, held on the University campus.




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