Supporting Beginning
Music Teachers

The purpose of the Supporting Beginning Music Teachers ASPA is to identify and describe effective models of mentoring, induction, professional development, and continued support programs for new music teachers, and encourage further research and strategic action in this area.


Erin Zaffini, Longy School of Music (
Rachel Sorenson, Kennesaw State University (

To join the Supporting Beginning Music Teachers ASPA Google Group (email list):

send an email to

Group Membership

Register or login to your account on this site to add this group to your SMTE profile.


The Supporting Beginning Music Teachers ASPA established the following action items at the 2017 SMTE Symposium:

  • Develop a set of “best practices” on various topics to serve as models for state Music Education Associations when designing and implementing music mentoring programs.
  • Enhance our social media presence by reaching more beginning teachers to provide regular, supportive information.
  • Documenting the voices of current undergraduate music education students concerning their views on mentoring, as well as strategies/embedded practices within existing undergraduate music education curricula that promote preparation for future mentorship.

Current Projects

Below is a description of the Supporting Beginning Music Teachers ASPA Projects.
If you are interested in participating in one of our projects, please contact a Project Leader.

NAfME Music Mentorship Program Facilitator and Mentor Support Project

Project Leader: Erin Zaffini (

Financially supported by the NAfME NEB, 10 virtual & interactive sessions led by experts in our field on various topics related to music mentoring & developing music mentorship programs. The program kicks off in January 2020:

  • Virtual, real-time series of sessions
  • Target participants are state mentorship program chairpersons and mentors
  •  Funding provided by the NAfME National Executive Board
Project Overview

The project includes 10 virtual sessions on various topics related to music teacher mentoring and mentor program development. Each session is led by an expert teacher, mentor, and/or researcher in the field. Virtual sessions are interactive, occur in real-time (i.e., not prerecorded webinars), and are designed to provide our participants with education, tools, and techniques for navigating various aspects of music mentoring and mentorship program development. Sessions dates (8:00–9:00PM Eastern Standard Time), leaders, and topics are as follows:

January 7 (Tuesday): Current Music Mentor Programs: What’s Working, What’s Not? — Dr. Erin Zaffini (Keene State College)

January 16 (Thursday): Mentor Characteristics & Mentoring Styles — Dr. Tami Draves (University of North Carolina Greensboro)

January 21 (Tuesday): New is Different: Mentoring In-service vs. Pre-service Teachers — Dr. Jennifer Green (Fayetteville-Manlius High School, NY)

January 28 (Tuesday): Characteristics & Development of Beginning Teachers — Dr. Morgan Soja (Gardner-Webb University)

February 4 (Tuesday): Tips for Developing Your State Music Mentoring Program — Dr. Chris Baumgartner (Oklahoma) & Mr. Steve Litwiller (Missouri)

February 18 (Tuesday): Observation Practices & Techniques for Mentors — Dr. Colleen Conway (University of Michigan)

February 25 (Tuesday): Digital/Virtual Mentoring — Dr. Jessica Vaughan-Marra (Seton Hill University)

March 3 (Tuesday): Teaching Mentees to Analyze Student Work — Ms. Denese Odegaard (NAfME Immediate Past President)

March 10 (Tuesday): Guided Reflection and Meaningful Feedback — Dr. Cynthia Wagoner (East Carolina University)

March 17 (Tuesday): Role Play: Practice Your Mentoring Skills — Dr. Margaret Berg (University of Colorado Boulder)

Facebook Group/Social Media Support

Project Leader: Brian Weidner (

  • New approach to posts of teaching tips, engagement surveys, & features of early-career music educators
  • Group is moderated by ASPA members
  • Continue recruitment via various methods

Get Involved

We are looking for experienced teachers to help spark conversation, provide tips and suggestions, and interact with our community of beginning music educators!

Don’t forget to join the group AND pass the word to any new music teachers in your network!

Please consider contributing—just visit this Google Sheet to “sign up” and our project leaders will be in touch. 

Past Projects

Symposium on Mentoring of the Beginning Music Teacher

Project Leaders: Colleen Conway, Jessica Vaughan–Marra, Margaret Berg, Bryan Koerner, Christopher Baumgartner, & Christine Mueller

  • Presented at the 2018 Biennial Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, Atlanta, GA
    • Music Teacher Education SRIG Symposium Included findings from multiple studies on music teacher mentoring (i.e., retired teachers as mentors, virtual mentoring, state-MEA mentorship program) and discussion on the topic.

Digital Mentoring: Customized Content Support for Early Career New Music Teachers

Project Leaders:  Jessica Vaughan–Marra & Margaret Berg

  • Presented at the 2017 Symposium on Music Teacher Education

From left: Jennifer Green, Bryan Koerner, Jill Wilson

Exemplary Music Educator Association Mentoring Programs: From the Inside Out

Project Leaders: Jennifer Greene, Bryan Koerner, & Jill Wilson

  • Presented at the 2017 Symposium on Music Teacher Education
    • Compared current practices of four state MEA-sponsored mentoring programs

The Current Status of Beginning Teacher Mentoring and Induction Programs in the US

Project Leader: Chris Baumgartner (

From left: Jennifer Green, Sarah Stanley, Vanessa Bond, Morgan Soja, Melissa Baughman, Christopher Baumgartner, Bryan Koerner, & Betty Anne Gottlieb

University-Alumni connections for professional development and mentoring

Project Leader: Chris Baumgartner (

“Best Practices” for Designing Music Teacher Mentor and Induction Programs

Project Leader: Bryan Koerner (

  • Mentoring Best Practices Presentation – NAfME 2016
  • Examine the current MEA mentor, induction, and PD program structures in place (24 states)
  • Create a set of guidelines or “best practices” for others to reference when designing/revising programs
    • Various levels of “involvement” based on individual state DOE requirements
  • Structural/Organizational/Logistical considerations
  • Financial/Capital considerations
  • Disseminate information to organization chairs/presidents
  • (follow-up to 2015 SMTE research presentation)

Working Session minutes

Mentoring Programs Project Meeting Minutes – 8.13.15

Task List Fact Checking: Your re-assigned NAfME division (double-checking your friend’s work) by the end of next week (5:00PM Eastern, Friday, August 21) to ensure accurate info across the board. More detail as needed, especially in the “Structure” and “Guidelines”...

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Winter 2015 Virtual Meeting

Professional Development for the Beginning Teacher ASPA Winter 2015 Virtual Meeting Notes February 12, 2015 ASPA Members in Attendance: Chris Baumgartner, Jennifer Greene, Bryan Koerner, & Morgan Soja   Old Business Reviewed proposed ideas from fall semester...

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While this ASPA does not have a formal standing membership, the following individuals have been active in this group.

Robert Amchin
University of Louisville

Kimberly Ankney
Christopher Newport University

Melissa Baughman
University of Oklahoma

Chris Baumgartner
University of Oklahoma

Margaret Berg
University of Colorado–Boulder

Vanessa L. Bond
The Hartt School, University of Hartford

Patrick Casey
Newberry College

Vimari Colón-León
University of Miami

Colleen Conway
University of Michigan

Carolyn Cruse
Texas Tech University

John Denis
Texas State University

Penny Dimmick
Butler University

Tami Draves
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Laura Dunbar
University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

Keith Dye
Texas Tech University

Ellie Falter
Drake University

Eva Floyd
UC College Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati)

Benita Gladney
University of Georgia

Robin Giebelhausen
University of Maryland

BettyAnne Gottlieb
UC College Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati)

Jennifer Greene
Fayetteville–Manlius Schools (NY)

Damon Harvey
West Virginia University

Edward “Ted” Hoffman
University of Montevello

Scott Kaliszak
Gettysburg College

Amanda Kastner
University of Florida

Bryan Koerner
Oklahoma State Department of Education

Susana Lalama
Converse College

Danelle Larson
Eastern Illinois University

Amanda McClintock
Northwestern University

Elizabeth McFarland
Southeast Missouri State University

Ryan Meeks
University of Central Oklahoma

Ian Miller
University of Colorado Boulder

Christine Mueller
Oklahoma City Public Schools (OK)

JJ Norman
Maryland MEA

Jordan Northerns
USD 375 Circle Public Schools (KS)

Tim Nowak
East Carolina University

Kelsey Nussbaum
University of North Texas

Denise Odegaard
National Association for Music Education

Andrew Paney
University of Mississippi

Elizabeth Parker
Temple University

Natalie Steele Royston
Iowa State University

Amanda Schlegel
University of South Carolina

Heather Shouldice
Eastern Michigan University

Crystal Sieger
University of Wyoming

Alvin Simpson
Eastman School of Music

Jacqueline Smith
The Hartt School, University of Hartford

Anne Marie Stanley
Louisiana State University

Morgan Soja
Samford University

Marsha Vanderwerff
Arizona State University

Jessica Vaughan-Marra
Seton Hill University

John Wayman
University of Texas at Arlington

Brian Weidner
Butler University

Richard Welch
Kansas State University

Megan Wick
University of Colorado–Boulder

Jill Wilson
Luther College

Erin Zaffini
Keene State College