MSU Music Education Hosts National Conference

Conference on campus covers key trends, cutting-edge ideas, including GarageBand and YouTube among tech-savvy teaching tools.

Nearly 100 of the world's top musical scholars, teachers, and performers will come to Michigan State University March 20 to 22 to share the latest ideas on teaching young musicians with K-12 music educators from across the U.S.

The New Directions in Music Education Conference, “Teaching Composition, Improvisation, and the New Musicianship,” will showcase cutting-edge education ideas including GarageBand improvisations, YouTube performances, online open courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), songwriting, and popular music. This conference offers a unique lineup of topics and discussions not offered regionally or nationally.

“Whenever I mention these ideas to people outside the collegiate music world, they tell me, ‘I wish that my music education was like that,’” says John Kratus, MSU professor of music education and conference chair.

Kratus says that recent and rapid changes in how music is composed, written, and performed make it difficult for educators to keep up with the latest music technology, methods, and research. The New Directions Conference provides a way for teachers to share and learn with leading experts in the field through innovative clinics, presentations, and workshops.

The MSU College of Music premiered the New Directions in Music Education Conference in 1997 to facilitate the sharing of best teaching practices in developing areas of music education. Since then, the conference has grown into a nationally renowned event for educators and scholars, and has attracted attendees and presenters from nearly every continent.

For the 20th consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has recently ranked Michigan State University No. 1 in both elementary and secondary education on the graduate level. Nationally recognized music education faculty members include John Kratus, John Madden, Judy Palac, Jonathan Reed, Mitchell Robinson, Sandra Snow and Cynthia Taggart.

About 300 music teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools will attend the conference along with collegiate music faculty and students. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 20, and will conclude at noon on Saturday, March 22. All sessions will take place at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Click here for more details on the conference.

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