Music Education in Multiage Learning Communities

Music Education in Multiage Learning Communities

Fieldwork Model for Music Education Methods Courses in General Music

By NAfME Member Dr. Lois Veenhoven Guderian
Associate Professor of Music
Music Education Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Superior


Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) can serve the needs of schools, community and higher education pre-service educators in music education. Based on 8 years of successful, mutually beneficial partnerships between local schools and the Department of Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, this session provides participants with information on organizing and designing AS-L fieldwork experiences in music education aligned with both K-12 school district and higher education curricular goals. Included: program descriptions; goals and purposes of AS-L as a form of civic engagement and degree-based learning through experience; video footage of programs; handout with suggested framework of procedural steps for developing programs. 


Guderian fig 1


An important aim of 21st century education is to develop classroom environments that are “communities of learners” – where educator and students work and learn together for the greater good of all. What would be the result if learning communities were comprised of individuals who while having the same ultimate purpose at heart – successful and enjoyable education of humankind – were in different positions on the spectrum of human learning? You are invited to attend this session whereby you will learn more about a model of educator-preparation fieldwork in music education that fulfills this ideal: school educators, children and youth in schools, professors of education, and higher education students of music education working together as a community of learners.


Fieldwork as a Community of Learners

Under this “learning through experience” model of fieldwork in methods classes, before the student-teaching experience, pre-service educators progress through a series of levels of educator responsibilities: from participant-observer to lead planner/educator. During the course of the field experiences at the teaching and learning sites, higher education students develop hands on skills and understandings including: how to plan, carry out and assess sequentially ordered, interconnected instruction in music; strategies for navigating and facilitating whole group and small group learning; classroom management; and in some program designs, how to integrate music across areas of curricula. The novice educators also experience the dynamics of professional and collegial relationships. All members of this multiage, multi-experienced teaching/nurturing/facilitating/learning community are equally important.



A valuable aspect of this kind of field teaching experience is the opportunity for individual and whole group reflection. After the initial planning and preparation for the field teaching in the methods class, throughout the duration of the fieldwork, students meet in the classroom to discuss the daily happenings, to receive and discuss feedback from the professor and peers, and to continue the planning process making accommodations and modification as necessary according to the daily experiences with the children or youth at the teaching and learning site.

The objective is to offer additional opportunities for music education for all children or youth who have the desire or interest to participate, and to support the music education programs in the school.

Inclusive Model

Since most of the field teaching experiences are conducted in general music classrooms or as school-site programs where all children are invited to participate, this model of fieldwork offers higher education students authentic teaching and learning experiences in authentic contexts.


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For activities scheduled outside of the regular school schedule, families in the school are notified that all children are encouraged to attend. There are no required auditions or fees. The objective is to offer additional opportunities for music education for all children or youth who have the desire or interest to participate, and to support the music education programs in the school.


Cross-School and Community Organization Program Designs

As part of this session, participants will also view and receive information on cross-school/community organization programs that include more than one school, age group, or community group. Procedures and suggestions on how to organize such programs will be shared.


Session Information and Handouts

  • The purposes for and over arching framework of the AS-L model used for the design of 17 collaborative programs in music education by the University of Wisconsin-Superior Music Department and Superior, Wisconsin community
  • Suggested ways for identifying community needs and connecting with community partners
  • A handout – framework on the procedural steps for organizing and designing AS-L fieldwork projects for music education methods courses and community partners
  • To address school partners’ requests and current educational aims of local, state and national educational organizations, included in this session is a brief description of some of the AS-L programs designed to include music composition and the development of children’s creative thinking in music within an interconnected approach to teaching and learning in music.

This session will also provide attendees with examples of programs

  • Goals and SLOs
  • Video footage from the sites
  • Program results
  • Student reflection
  • Community reflection


Guderian fig 3


In Summary

This session will provide participants with information on why AS-L can be an effective way to provide pre-service music educators with meaningful field-teaching experiences that support their future teaching careers and how to go about the process of setting up programs of this nature with community partners.

The session will end with Question and Answer Discussion.

Academic Service-Learning Collaborations between Higher Education and 4K-8 Schools for Mutually Beneficial Teaching and Learning in Music Education

Friday, November 11, 2016, 3:00-4:00 PM

This link includes pictures from two past field programs. UWS BME students pictured with 4th graders at Lake Superior Elementary Schoo l:

  • Nicole Alaspa
  • Charles Corbett
  • Ben Ellison
  • Sam Gray
  • Lisa Pederson


Participating Schools, Principals and Educators in Superior, Wisconsin 2009-2016 (Spring)

Cooper Elementary School
Principal: Mr. Brett Brodeen
School Music Educator: Mrs. Amy Frane

Four Corners Elementary School
Principal: Mr. Jack Jarnis
School Music Educator: Mrs. Amy Frane

Great Lakes Elementary School
Principal: Mr. Ryan Haroldson
School Music Educator: Mrs. Jori Walt
4-K Educator: Jane Hammann
5th Grade Classroom educators: Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Trianoski

Lake Superior Elementary School
Principal: Mr. Mark Howard
School Music Educator: Mrs. Lynn Putzke
4-K Educators: Mrs. Jennifer Willoughby, Mrs. Sara Barnard
4th Grade Classroom Educator: Mrs. Terri Harings
5th Grade Classroom Educator: Mrs. Lindsay Braman

New Horizons Children’s Center
Administrator: Cindy Fennessey
Debbie Dalpiaz, Center Director
4-K Educator: Tricia Loukes

Superior Middle School:
Principal: Mr. Richard Flaherty
Director of Orchestras: Mrs. Amy Eichers

Superior High School:
Director of Choirs: Mr. Rob Calhoon
Director of Bands: Mr. Joe Kasparek
Director of Orchestras: Mrs. Jean Liebfried

Additional Participants

Pre-service Educators: University of Wisconsin-Superior students in BME Choral-General, BME Instrumental –General and Elementary Education degree tracks

UWS Higher Education Students: volunteer singers and instrumentalists in various degree programs, The University of Wisconsin-Superior

Faculty Members, various disciplines: volunteer singers and instrumentalists and Music Department faculty professionals, the University of Wisconsin-Superior

Community Members: Volunteer singers and instrumentalists


Quotes from UWS Students

“I found my time in the local schools a very useful first step towards being a teacher and one of the best experiences in my degree program for learning how to plan lessons and carry out instruction. Not only did this benefit us with teaching experience as a thoughtful preparation for student teaching, but I feel it also benefitted the surrounding community.” — Charles Corbett, Choral-General Music Education Major.

“In my opinion, this is the best kind of ASL field teaching experience. It was invaluable to observe my professor put into practice the various teaching strategies and to watch the children respond to those methods. It was also incredibly exciting to participate in and observe my peers’ lesson plans. That gave us an opportunity to see the many creative ways in which we could integrate the subject matter into our own future classrooms. The best part of the experience, that I felt was most beneficial, was the immediate feedback and guidance we were given after submitting lesson plans and directly after teaching the lesson. The professor was able to observe us and guide us during this type of experience that was extremely helpful. In class, we were able to focus on the material we were learning and also reflect on our experiences teaching. ” — Lindsey Dobson, Elementary Education Major.

“These teaching opportunities were extremely helpful for me as a future educator. They gave me insight and experience on how to effectively put our practice of integrating music to use. Without these experiences, I would never have been able to practice what I have learned throughout this class. These experiences also showed me how effective music integration can be throughout the general curriculum. I look forward to having my own class and ultimately using some of the strategies we learned and practiced in this class to help my students learn and create music.” — Kenny Mattinen, Elementary Education Major.


Quotes from Superior School District administrators and educators:

“I know my students loved the experience.” — Jennifer Willoughby, LSE 4K – educator.

“This has been a win-win collaboration for us. Everyone benefits. The win-win learning was for all – young to old – students, teachers, principal, and families.” — Mark Howard, Lake Superior Elementary School Principal.


Quote from Dr. Guderian

“Teaching and learning programs of this nature would be impossible without the willingness to collaborate on the part of school curriculum coordinators, administrators, and educators, and the efforts and cooperation on the part of the higher education students and young students in classrooms. Everyone learns in this environment. We are most grateful to our colleagues in the Superior schools for providing our students with the opportunity to learn through experience in this way.”

Coming soon in fall of 2016: Join me for my new NAfME webinar that includes music downloads for your general music classrooms and choral groups: Working with Young Singers Age 4K-6.

About the author:

music professor

NAfME member Dr. Lois Veenhoven Guderian: Associate Professor of Music and Music Education Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Superior where Lois coordinates music education degree programs and designs and implements arts programs for schools and communities. Lois maintains a multifaceted career of teaching, writing, research, composing, presentation, adjudicating, and service to community, state, and national organizations including: service as an online mentor for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) online mentoring program in choral music and music composition, and as an adjudicator for the NAfME National Student Music Composition Competition.

An internationally published author and composer, Lois’ has contributed articles, textbooks, chapter contributions, and webinars to the profession and music to the world community. Her instrumental and choral compositions, songs and musicals span a variety of levels of complexity, style, and instrumentation. Publishers of Lois’ work include MENC- Rowman & Littlefield; The National Association for Music Education; Transcontinental Music Publications; Sage Publications; Corwin Press; Oxford University Press; NAC of N. America; NAC International; LoVeeG Publishing, the Illinois State Music Teachers Association; The Wisconsin State Music Teachers Association; The Illinois Association for Gifted Children.

Lois Veenhoven Guderian presented on her topic ”Academic Service-Learning Collaborations between Higher Education and 4K-8 Schools for Mutually Beneficial Teaching and Learning in Music Education” at the 2016 NAfME National Conference in Dallas, TX.

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