Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Instrumental methods requirements for NASM


I have been requested to post the replies I received concerning the NASM
requirement that choral music education majors study wind, string, fretted,
and percussion instruments. Below are excerpts of the replies I have
received to date with most of the names removed.

Kathryn Bowers
St. Louis MO

ALL our music education majors take two semesters of instrumental techniques
classes in which they cover string, brass, WW and percussion. We cover
guitar in two of the the music education methods classes (early childhood
and middle school.

We at AU strive to prepare our future music teachers in all areas as best we
can, since their teaching license reads: Music Pre-K-12. We do have
vocal/general and instrumental tracks, but perhaps they are not as
differentiated as some programs at other colleges.

We are completely NASM approved.
We haven't really resolved it yet. Our Dean is considering
trying to convince NASM that our size and the multiple music making venues
in which our students participate adequately meet the need. We'd rather not
add a course, especially one like they propose. I think it's ludicrous to
suggest that in one intro techniques class that vocal majors can get enough
to be of any benefit to them whatsoever in working with instruments. I'd
rather require an instrumental conducting class or something like that. At
this point we have the same unanswered question you have.
Quite simply, we offer "Class Woodwinds," Class Brass," Class
Percussion," and Class Strings." and require them all (2 hr courses each,
minimal per week time). They are taught by our respective instrumental
instructors. BTW, our dean is Milburn Price (currently national ACDA
president, but more importantly to this issue, member of the board of
advisors and regulators for NASM).
I have no idea if where I went to school was NASM approved. However, we
were required to take five instrumental classes, four semesters of piano,
one semester of guitar. They were all one credit each, but I have knowledge
of each of the things you listed. IN Michigan, we are certified K-12 music.
it doesn't specify instrumental or choral, and so a district can put us
where they want. This was University of Michigan-Flint's way to help us in
the event we were forced to teach both subjects. The instrumental majors
had to take seven instruments, four semesters of piano and either guitar of
voice class. Not quite as equal, but..... Hope this helps.
We are NASM approved. We do not have a specific "choral music ed" track
since Pa. requirements are that you certify students to be able to teach
both instrumental and vocal, K-12. All music students take instrument
classes (brass, winds, strings, percussion), fulfill piano and voice
proficiencies in addition to major area of study, etc.
We recently got accredited - but only for vocal music Ed - BME (no inst.
tech required). Too expensive, they say, to add all these courses without
enough majors to support it (catch 22).
At Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, we must meet PA standards for
certification - "Music, K-12." This includes instrumental and vocal.
All of our Ed majors take discrete courses in Woodwinds, Strings, Brass,
Percussion, Guitar, Classroom instruments (recorder/Orff), and of course
piano and voice. Our program is 132 credits. These are in addition to
the Methods sequence which covers program development and
We had a similar problem in the mid-nineties, especially in reference to
"fretted instruments." Our choral music education majors are required to
take all instrumental methods classes (woodwinds, brass, percussion,
special methods/conducting), which helps prove knowledge in the areas you
mentioned. Our certification is also K-12, with specialization possible,
but under the current policies, not certifiable, as our degree is a B.A. in
Music Ed.

The elementary music methods class is the one that helped us in the area of
fretted instruments: a syllabus which shows instruction on the autoharp
and/or guitar is sufficient proof in this area. While we still do not have
a string methods class, we recently started a string program and will be
adding that to the curriculum. Hopefully when our reaccredidation comes
again in 2005, we will have our 'ducks in a row!'
When I was at California State University Fullerton, we were required to
take a one semester class in each of the areas you mentioned, plus an
instrumental conducting class.
We have been NASM accredited a year ago. In meeting those requirements, our
Music Education majors do both sides - choral and instrumental. Thus they
all take all instrumental method classes and learn guitar within Elementary
School Music class. Do your majors choose an instrumental or choral track?
I would be interested in what you all do. Hope the visit went well!