Composing a new Ed major

By Samanta Hilyer


Saint Vincent is jazzing up its curriculum by offering a new music education major in the fall semester of 2020.

The program is a partnership between the departments of music and education where students enrolled in the program will be taking music major classes and education minor classes. According to Thomas Octave, associate professor of music and chair of fine arts, this degree program is one that both departments have wanted to offer for several years.

A student practices in one of the music practice rooms located on the third floor of Carey. (Source: SVC Flickr)

Dr. Veronica Ent, chair of the education department, explained that student inquiry and interest about a music education major was a key factor in starting the process of adding a new degree program.

“There seemed to be an increased interest in music teaching at Saint Vincent,” Ent said, “probably because of our strong background and strong program in music already.”

The development of the program started in 2019 and it took about a year to create courses, course syllabi, content and then submitting the degree to be approved. However, Ent has hopes that it will be well worth the wait.

“We’ve already had two potential students meet with Dr. McNelly [the music education adviser] and we are expecting a couple more by the end of the week,” Ent said.

A post-baccalaureate program is also being offered to students who graduate and want to come back to Saint Vincent to receive their certification in music education.

The design of the program itself, Ent said, is meant to be contemporary, with the usage of twenty-first century music and tools such as digital music that are incorporated into the contemporary style.

"There seemed to be an increased interest in music teaching at Saint Vincent, probably because of our strong background and strong program in music already." - Dr. Veronica Ent

Once students complete this degree, they will be able to teach at a variety of grade levels.

“[The program] prepares candidates to teach music in a private or public setting,” Ent said. “It also allows candidates to direct musical events and performances.”

Ent also explained that the program will prepare candidates to work with many different kinds of student populations, including special learners.

Students interested in the music education program can contact Dr. Tracy McNelly – the advisor of the upcoming music education majors – through her Saint Vincent email.

“We are so excited to be offering the music education degree at Saint Vincent College,” said Octave.

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300 Fraser Purchase Rd
Latrobe PA  15650-2690
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