Field Experience Immersion in Music

Field Experience Immersion in Music

Deepening Diversity

By NAfME Members Dr. Jonathan Helmick and Dr. Kathleen Melago, Slippery Rock University


“If there is a sudden change in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling . . . ” With the conclusion of that final announcement, our group of music education majors departed Pennsylvania for The Land of Enchantment.

As music education faculty, we are stewards of the profession with a responsibility to transcend traditional teacher preparation by creating meaningful opportunities for our pre-service music educators to engage with diversity in population, pedagogy, and philosophy. Re-imagining field experiences as part of teacher preparation at Slippery Rock University allows our students to engage with diversity in a rich, immersive context in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Visit the SRU Music Department Facebook page

About the authors:

Jonathan Helmick

NAfME member Dr. Jonathan Helmick serves as Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Helmick holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Conducting from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Master in Music degree in Performance from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Both his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree and Bachelor of Arts in Business and Organizational Communications degrees were received from the University of Akron, with Honors. Active as a musician and educator, Dr. Helmick has served as a guest clinician, artist, and adjudicator in Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Sicily, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Kathleen Melago

NAfME member Dr. Kathleen Melago serves as Associate Professor of Music Education at Slippery Rock University and head of the music education program since August 2009. She received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Slippery Rock University, her Master of Music from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Ohio State University. She has taught music in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Ohio, both in schools and privately. Kathy’s performances and presentations have included appearances at The Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference; National Association for Music Education national and regional conferences; National Flute Association conventions; and numerous state and local conferences.


Dr. Jonathan Helmick and Dr. Kathleen Melago presented on their topic, “Field Experience Immersion in Music: A Model for Cultural Diversity through Field Experience,” at the 2017 NAfME National Conference last November in Dallas, TX. Register today for the 2018 NAfME National Conference!


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