Foundations for Excellence 1
Waldorf Music Education:
Foundations for Excellence
Donato-Polli Strasse 50, 91056 Erlangen
May 10, 2012
Table Of Contents
The Case for Strong Specialty Programs in the Waldorf School...4
Chapter One: The Waldorf Music Program Survey... 8
Interpreting the Waldorf Music Program Survey Data... 43
Developing Schools: Findings and Observations... 45
Member Schools: Findings and Observations... 48
Conflicting and Confusing Responses... 51
What is the Plan? Implementing the Music Survey Data... 56
Chapter Two: Strategic Planning and the Waldorf Music Program... 58
Value Assignments in Music Education... 58
Strategic Planning: The Necessary Foundation of a Successful Music Program... 62
The Importance of Defining Educational Goals in Music Program Planning...65
The National Standards for Music Education: A Brief Introduction...67
The National Standards for Music Education...68
Adapting the National Standards for Music Education to the Waldorf Curriculum...70
Example of a Strategic Plan for a Waldorf School Music Program...73
Strategic Planning: Conclusions... 76
Chapter Three: Program Focus and Resource Management... 78
Over-Specialization of Music Teachers, Class Teachers Becoming Specialists... 78
Choosing the Direction of the Music Program... 81
Middle School Ensemble Options... 83
General Music Education as the Core of the Waldorf Music Program... 86
Common Music Education Methodologies in the United States... 90
The Orff Method: Ten Thousand Teachers Strong... 91
The Kodaly Method: Vocal Education for All... 93
The Dalcroze Method: The Connection Between Music and Movement... 95
Case Studies of Waldorf Music Programs in the United States... 97
The Illusion of Abundance in Waldorf Music Program Resources... 100
The Role of Private Lessons in the School Music Culture... 102
Chapter Four: Music Teacher Position, Staffing, and Professional Development... 105
The Eighty Percent, or Sixteen Classes Per Week Music Position Template... 105
Sample of a Job Advertisement for a Music Teacher... 109
University Music Degrees: What do They Actually Mean?... 110
The Value of Professional Memberships …... 113
The Importance of Professional Development and Mentoring in Music for Class Teachers... 117
Concluding Thoughts... 120
The AWSNA Music Program Survey... 122
Copy of Cover Letter Sent With Waldorf Music Program Survey... 125
Foundations for Excellence 3
Nearly a century has passed since the founding of the first Waldorf school. The world has changed tremendously since that time, but the goal of the Waldorf education movement remains the same: the desire to educate the whole child, with the view of helping every student unlock his or her individual potential. How can the Waldorf music program aid in reaching this goal?
By means of a national survey of Waldorf music programs, this paper will gather logistical information and discover trends in program management, staffing, and structure. It will discuss the value of
strategic planning, resource management, and the use of qualified staff in sustainable job positions. This paper includes examples of educational goals and objectives as outlined in the National Standards for Music Education, which have been adjusted to reflect the anthroposophic view of child
development. Also included are examples of strategic planning for the music program, outlines of the music curriculum for Grades 1-8 as expressed through educational goals and objectives, templates for an 80 percent to full-time job description for the school music director, and examples of job postings. An examination of how the private music lesson is related to the overall music program, advocacy for the inclusion of general classroom music in the Grade 1-8 music curriculum, and a presentation of different music methodologies comprises one section of this paper. Ensemble options for the middle school, and case studies of Waldorf schools that have chosen non-typical music programs for various reasons, are related in this section as well.
Finally, this paper will demonstrate the importance of professional development for both class teachers and music teachers, and will consider professional memberships and other training programs. It will further consider the differences between different types of music degrees in order that the most qualified staff possible can be hired by the school community.
Taken collectively, this information can be of great assistance in forming a sustainable music teaching position and program. Establishing the foundations for program excellence is of benefit to the entire school community and may be helpful in addressing the growing concern of teacher attrition.
Waldorf Schools in the United States claim that music is part of their core curriculum. Is this really the case? How are Waldorf music programs structured, funded, and staffed? Are there issues with teacher attrition in the music program, and are class teachers expected to take on responsibilities in the music program that are beyond their training? Is professional development offered to support both music and class teachers in the area of music education? This paper examines the state of music education in American Waldorf schools and makes recommendations for strengthening program structure, resource management, and staffing.
The Case for Strong Specialty Programs in the Waldorf School
Historically, the Waldorf school curriculum has included the presence of specialty programs, or 'special subjects.' The first Waldorf school had on its faculty a number of teachers who held specializations in specific areas of knowledge such as music, foreign language, and eurythmy. The class teachers, in contrast, held a generalized field of knowledge that provided the foundational aspects of the child's education. This balance of generalists and specialists was essential to forming a comprehensive educational experience for students (von Heydebrand, 2010).
Nearly a century has passed since the founding of the first Waldorf school. Although many aspects of our society, culture, and education systems have changed tremendously, the ideals held by the first Waldorf faculty hold true: the education of the whole human being, for the purpose of unlocking the potential for self-realization in every student.
Foundations for Excellence 5 With this ideal in mind, it is good to periodically examine our methods, programs, and curriculum to identify strengths to be built on and weaknesses to address.
When we consider the last several decades of the movement, we can see that the expansion of Waldorf education in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s created an overall teacher shortage that still exists today. Because of this shortage and because of the general lack of resources associated with new schools, it was not uncommon for class teachers to teach special subject lessons in addition to main lesson work. What was a stop-gap practice has, in many communities, become expected of class teachers; a make-do decision has become pedagogical practice. The long-term result of this practice has been a lack of robustness in specialty programs in many schools, because it is 'built-in' to the community consciousness that class teachers teach almost every aspect of the curriculum. Even when funding for a specialty position becomes available, class teachers may continue teaching at least some aspect of the special subjects close to their hearts. When budget issues arise, it has become an
acceptable option in some communities to lay off a specialty teacher or not to rehire for their position if they resign, and to allow a class teacher to teach the program in addition to their own class.
This practice promotes the idea that specialty teachers are auxiliaries to the 'core faculty' of class teachers, and perhaps even that they are expendable. As a result, special subjects have had difficulty being recognized as full-time programs in their own merit in American Waldorf schools. Specialty classes have remained very much individualized to each school culture, rather than becoming standardized in the way that the core curriculum of reading, writing, and mathematics have been.
What is the long-term impact of such pedagogical practices? Have they strengthened or weakened the Waldorf pedagogical model in the United States? Have they brought the faculty and overall curriculum
into greater, or less, balance than the original Waldorf pedagogical model? We must examine the pedagogical practices that we perhaps take for granted, and ask if they are sustainable. Are they the best way to meet the needs of our school communities today?
The Waldorf education movement benefits from retaining trained and experienced teachers, but in recent years, teacher attrition has been on the rise. In the Waldorf pedagogical model, the class teacher journeys with their class from Grade One through Grade Eight. This is becoming the exception, rather than the rule, in a number of Waldorf schools. Could the heavy expectations that are placed on class teachers regarding teaching not only their own classes, but aspects of various specialty programs, be a contributing factor in the growing issue of class teacher attrition? Could the marginalization of specialty teachers in the Waldorf school be a contributing factor to subject teacher attrition? Most importantly, could strengthening the subject programs in Waldorf schools alleviate attrition amongst both class and subject teachers?
Some of these questions are beyond the scope of this paper to answer. However, they must stay in the mind of the reader when considering the topics that it does encompass. Waldorf education is not a series of stand-alone concepts and programs. The curriculum is fully integrated, both in general classes and special subjects, and oftentimes the health of one program is an indicator of the health of the overall school community. In addressing issues such as teacher attrition or overall program quality and integration, it is best to first consider what we have built into the curriculum and the structure of our schools, before going back to the drawing board to find different options.
With the ideal of strengthening the overall curriculum, faculty and quality of education in the Waldorf school, this paper will examine the special subject program of music in detail. It will strive to discover
Foundations for Excellence 7 the relationship of the music program to the overall school strategic plan, and will look at resource allocation and management. Of particular interest is the position of the music teacher itself. How many hours are offered to music teachers, and is the position structured to be sustainable? Are class teachers expected to take on aspects of the music program that are beyond their training and
experience? Are these aspects better handled by music teachers? How can the music teacher help ease the load of the class teacher, and provide balance to the overall curriculum?
It is important to realize that advocacy for a comprehensive music program, directed by a trained specialist, is not just for its own sake. As it was in the first Waldorf school, the music program is an intrinsic part of the full Waldorf curriculum today, and the music specialist is a vital part of the full Waldorf faculty today as well. The greater role the music teacher assumes in the musical life of the school, the more support they can give their colleagues, and the better quality of instruction they are able to give their students.
This paper proposes that if the Waldorf music program can be strengthened through sound strategic planning, prudent resource management, and the hiring and retention of the most qualified personnel possible, it will enhance the quality of, and add vitality to, the overall Waldorf educational movement.
Chapter One: The Waldorf Music Program Survey
In February 2012, I sent a survey to all developing and member schools of the Associated Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) that are in the United States. The survey consisted of 37 questions written with the intention to gain understanding of the makeup of the music program at Waldorf schools across the United States. The questions specifically addressed the following: strategic planning, teacher hours, qualifications, responsibilities, professional memberships, and possible
attrition issues. They also addressed physical resources, budget amounts, music program structure, and whether students were required to take private lessons. Finally, they examined class teacher
responsibilities to the music program, and whether support for both music and class teachers through mentoring and professional development was provided through the school community, or through outside sources.
The goal of the survey was to accrue data regarding the makeup of the Waldorf music program, to see if there was any kind of standardization of such programs on a regional or national basis, to identify trends in program structure that were beneficially or adversely affecting program growth and stability, and to make recommendations to increase program effectiveness and overall success.
Of the schools that were sent the survey, 38 responded. Taken as a whole, they represent both
developing and full member schools in every region of AWSNA in the United States. For this reason, I consider this to be a representative survey of Waldorf music programs in the United States. What follows is a breakdown of the data that was collected via the national survey.
Foundations for Excellence 9 Demographic information. (Figure 1) I wished to know whether the school being surveyed was a developing or a full member school in AWSNA. Of the schools surveyed, 26 were full members of AWSNA, and 11 were developing schools. One respondent was a candidate for full membership in AWSNA. Their data was collated with developing schools.
School population. (Figure 2) What is the highest grade taught in the schools that responded to the survey? The overwhelming majority of the schools are Grades 1-8 (29), with six schools being Grades 1-12, two schools being Grades 1-6, one school being Grades 1-7, and one school being Grades 1-4.
Strategic planning. (Figure 3) Is the music program specifically mentioned in the school strategic plan? I found the results of this question to be quite interesting. Of the full member schools that responded to the survey, 13 mentioned the music program in the strategic plan, and 12 did not. This represents nearly half of all respondents that do not mention the music program in the strategic plan.
Foundations for Excellence 11
This is in contrast to developing schools, eight of which mentioned the music program in their strategic plan, and five of which did not. The most logical reason for this discrepancy between developing and member schools is the requirements outlined by AWSNA for developing schools to qualify for full member status. A comprehensive strategic plan is one of the key requirements for qualification for full member status in AWSNA. The overarching consequences of how this data effects other aspects of school music programs will be discussed in a later section.
Size of the Music Program. (Figure 4) I wished to know if the music programs of the schools surveyed were in a pattern of stability, growth, or decline. The number of schools with programs in states of growth or stability either were the same, with a smaller number being in decline. The data suggests that music programs are therefore in a healthy condition in these schools. However, I discovered that 14 schools that said their programs were the same as they have been or larger than in the past either had no music specialist on staff, or had a music specialist working less than nine hours per week at the school.
Foundations for Excellence 13
Music teacher attrition. (Figure 5) Is music teacher attrition an issue in the school? Fifteen schools said yes, but 23 schools said no. At first, this looked like a very positive sign for the robustness of the Waldorf music program. However, upon closer examination of the surveys, I discovered that five of the responding schools had no music specialist on staff. In three cases, the music teacher resigned and the position was never refilled. I feel that questions about teacher attrition are not relevant to schools that have no music teacher on staff, so I removed these schools from the respondents for this question and re-collated the data. The percentages changed from 39.5 percent responding yes, and 60.5 percent responding no; to 45.5 percent responding yes, and 54.5 percent responding no. This adjusted
percentage represents a nearly 50/50 split of schools that say they have attrition issues, and those that do not have them.
Reasons for attrition. (Figure 6) Why do schools have issues with attrition in the music program? Again, the responses to this question were most interesting. Nearly every school surveyed answered this question, even the respondents who indicated that attrition was not an issue. By far the greatest reason for attrition was wages and benefits (16 schools, which represents 100 percent of those who answered the question), followed by too few hours (nine schools). Eight schools listed lack of anthroposophic training as a reason for attrition, six listed lack of qualified personnel, and four listed space and resource issues. In most cases, multiple areas were listed for a single school.
Foundations for Excellence 15 Figure 6
Music program staffing. (Figure 7) Of the schools that respond, 25 said they have at least one music teacher, 12 said they have more than one teacher on staff, one school has eliminated its music teacher position, and three schools have no music teacher. However, in looking at individual school surveys, I discovered a discrepancy in these numbers. Among member schools, three had no music specialists, and one school said that it only hired music specialists for required private lessons, while class teachers were responsible for teaching the actual music program. This arrangement was implied in at least four other cases, but because no clear statement was made, they are listed amongst those schools that have a
music specialist on staff. Among developing schools, three had no music specialists, and two music programs were taught by class teachers.
These numbers change the data significantly. Instead of 2.8 percent of schools reporting no music specialist on staff, the actual number is 23.7 percent. I feel that the discrepancy is best explained by a lack of clarity on my part in phrasing the question. I wished to know which schools hired a person to specifically teach music, and no other program. It is apparent from the responses that in some schools, class teachers are taking on extra responsibilities in directing the music program.
Foundations for Excellence 17 Figure 7
Hours worked. (Figure 8) How many hours does each music teacher work per week? This was another graph that was at first difficult to interpret. The surveys needed to be examined individually for the data to make sense. When this was done, the data became more clear. Five schools had full-time music specialists: two in developing schools and three in member schools. Grades 1-12 school communities had the greatest number of hours given to music specialists. Among member schools, the most common hour configuration was 10-15 hours for one teacher, and 5-9 hours for a second (six schools). Among developing schools, the most common amount of hours were 10-15 hours that were
either given to one teacher (four schools), or split between two teachers (two schools).
What do the music specialists teach? (Figure 9) An examination of individual surveys showed a discrepancy between what schools say their music teachers teach, and what they actually teach. The most striking difference in the data is in the area of recorder class. Although most surveys indicated that music teachers teach recorder, an examination of comments and data regarding class teachers shows that class teachers teach almost all recorder in responding schools. The figures for teaching
Foundations for Excellence 19 band are slightly off, because of a lack of clarity in the question, which should have read, “What do your music teachers teach in Grades 1-8?” In schools that are Grades 1-12, band is offered in high school and not in Grades 1-8. Only two schools in the survey offered band options before Grade Nine, one of these being an after-school rather than school-day class.
Another significant figure is that 23.7 percent of schools surveyed have class teachers conducting choir classes, rather than music teachers. Most of these schools have no music specialist on staff. Under the category of 'other,' 19 schools surveyed responded that music teachers taught other types of music than the ones listed. When examined the individual surveys, I found that one school taught drumming and one school taught ukelele in Grades 1-8. All other programs listed under this category were taught either in high school, or intermittently by class teachers, music teachers, or parents, at various times of the school's history (such as a guitar class or a course in playing dulcimers). Except for high school music classes, the programs listed under 'other' were in the nature of a temporary program addition or enhancement, rather than a regular part of the music curriculum.
Do music teachers teach literacy, theory, history, or composition and improvisation? (Figure 10) Music theory and literacy can be addressed in the context of an orchestral or choral rehearsal, so I expected the numbers to be highest for these categories. They were, with 29 schools saying that music teachers taught music literacy and 25 saying that music teachers taught music theory. Numbers for composition and improvisation were lower, with 16 schools saying these were taught. In looking at the individual surveys, I discovered that the majority of schools in which music teachers teach composition and improvisation are the same schools that hire a music teacher to teach classroom music through the
Foundations for Excellence 21 grades. Music history had the lowest numbers, with the majority of the 15 schools that responded affirmatively being Grades 1-12. This makes sense, because music history is part of the high school curriculum.
Do music teachers mentor other teachers? (Figure 11) Only 30 schools responded to this question, and eight schools left it unanswered. Since nine schools do not have music specialists, they may not have answered this question. Although the figures cannot be exact, when taking into account the schools
that have no music specialist on staff, I would say that the percentage of schools that do not provide mentoring of other teachers via the music teacher is higher than the chart suggests.
Private lesson coordination. (Figure 12) Many schools require their students to take private music lessons, and music teachers may be asked to take on administrative duties of lesson coordination. Thirty-one schools responded to this question. I found contradictory information in the individual surveys regarding this question, mostly because several schools answered yes to this question, and then
Foundations for Excellence 23 said that their school had no private lesson requirement. Since I do not know exactly what is implied by this contradiction, I will let the data stand as it is.
Background education and training of music specialists. (Figure 13) Waldorf schools seem to attract music teachers with a fairly high level of training. Schools responding to the survey said that 22 of the music specialists on their faculties have university degrees in music education, and that 23 music specialists have university degrees in music performance. They also have varying backgrounds in
anthroposophy, foundation studies, and class teacher training. These numbers indicate that there is a great potential for a uniformly high standard of music education in Waldorf schools.
Professional memberships. (Figure 14) Of the responding schools, the largest percentage did not know if their music specialists had professional memberships. Ten schools said their music specialists did not, and nine schools said their music specialists did have these memberships.
Foundations for Excellence 25 Figure 14
Does the school have a dedicated music room? (Figure 15) Of the 33 respondents to the question, 19 did not have a dedicated music room in their school.
If the school has no music room, where are music lessons taught? (Figure 16) Thirty-three schools responded to the question. 20 schools used individual classrooms, seven used the assembly hall, eight used a multi-use room, and four used a eurythmy room for music classes. Four schools checked the box for 'other,' and upon reading their individual reports, I discovered that music classes were taught in the library at three schools and the teacher's room in one school.
Foundations for Excellence 27 Figure 16
Physical resources of the music program. (Figure 17) This was a very complex question. Generally speaking, every school had basic equipment such as music stands. Most schools had at least some Choroi instruments (tone bars, flutes, and lyres). Most schools also had a mix of percussion
instruments, recorders, and other instruments. Only two schools surveyed had the instrumentarium used in Orff methodology. About half of the schools surveyed had dedicated storage space for
instruments. Less than half surveyed had an ensemble library. A few schools listed instruments owned by individual teachers and loaned for school use under the category 'other'.
Annual budget. (Figure 18) Only 27 schools answered this question. When I examined the individual surveys, I found that those that did not answer the question were the schools with no music specialist, or schools that had a class teacher directing the music program. The assumption from this information could be that these schools had no music budget. Of responding schools, the most common budget figure was for 100-500 dollars per year. Without exception, schools with an annual budget greater than 1500 dollars were schools that teach Grades 1-12.
Foundations for Excellence 29 Figure 18
What is the budget used for? (Figure 19) Most schools responding to this question used their budgets for purchasing student method books, expanding the music library, or instrument acquisition. Only one school used the money to rent concert space. Of those schools answering 'other,' the money was used for maintenance of school-owned instruments and piano tuning. One school said it used state grant money for larger purchases for the music program.
Configuration of the music program. (Figure 20) I wished to know if Waldorf schools are moving toward standardization in a required strings program. 53.8 percent (7 out of 13) of developing schools and 87.0 percent (20 out of 23) of member schools said that they had a required strings program, most often being strings in Grades 3-8. Of the 32 schools that responded to the question, 31 had a
requirement for strings in Grade Four. Only five schools did not have this requirement, just under 14 percent of the combined figures of developing and member schools.
Foundations for Excellence 31 Figure 20
Private lesson requirements. (Figure 21) I wanted to know if Waldorf schools are trending toward requiring private music lessons. The majority of schools do not have this requirement, although 13 schools do have it.
Numbers of students that are required to take private lessons. (Figure 22) These numbers ranged from less than 25 (the greatest amount of schools responding), to more than 100 (the least amount of schools responding). Some of the respondents said that students were required to take private lessons for only one year when beginning an instrument, or only in the grade when the string block was taught. The majority of schools responding to this question required a multi-year commitment to private music lessons.
Foundations for Excellence 33 Figure 22
Do students have an option to play instruments other than strings? (Figure 23) In what grade do they have this option? The numbers on this chart are a bit misleading, because I did not phrase the question as precisely as I needed to. What I wanted to know was: in what grade, if any, do students have the option to not play a string instrument, perhaps being able to choose a band instrument instead? When I examined the individual responses, the information on the chart became more clear. Students typically are taught the recorder in Waldorf schools. For many of the schools responding, the option of an instrument other than a string instrument is the recorder, which is learned in addition to the string
instrument, not instead of it. Only in schools that are Grades 1-12 is the option to play a band
instrument instead of a string instrument given, and these are schools with high school band programs.
Are there ensemble requirements in the middle school? (Figure 24) Nearly all respondents had multiple ensemble requirements in the middle school.
Foundations for Excellence 35 Figure 24
Middle School ensemble options. (Figure 25) Most frequently, schools had options for choir and orchestra ensemble, followed closely by recorder ensemble. Only three schools had band options. Seven schools listed various configuration of challenge orchestra, chamber groups, and recorder groups under the category of 'other.' The only significantly different response was one respondent from a school with a ukelele ensemble.
Participation in outside festivals and interscholastic activities. Figure 26) Only four schools responded to this question. Overwhelmingly, the music program is held in-house at Waldorf schools, with little or no participation in interscholastic or community music events. The exception is found in schools that are Grades 1-12, and it is unclear whether the interscholastic events are reserved for the high school, or are also part of the middle school curriculum.
Foundations for Excellence 37 Figure 26
What involvement do class teachers have in the music program? (Figure 27) Thirty-six schools
responding to the question had class teachers play recorder with their students, and 34 schools had class teachers sing with their students. Twenty-five schools expected class teachers to teach music literacy during recorder practice. In lesser numbers were other tasks including directing the recorder ensemble, or teaching students to play other instruments. These numbers suggest that class teachers need training specific to these tasks if they are to do them successfully.
Professional development for class teachers. (Figure 28) Of responding schools, there was a 2-to-1 ratio of schools who do not provide any professional development in music for class teachers, to schools that do provide it.
Foundations for Excellence 39 Figure 28
Do class teachers have formal music training? (Figure 29) Respondents listed a total of 44 class teachers with at least some degree of formal music training. According to the numbers in Figure 2, these schools have a total of 240 grades teachers on staff. Forty-four teachers represents only 18.3 percent of all class teachers in the responding schools, but the numbers may be incorrect because of lack of knowledge of class teacher background by survey respondents.
Do any grades teachers have university-level coursework in music performance or music education? (Figure 30) Only 10 teachers did, or 4 percent of all class teachers in the schools responding to the survey. Again, the information may be incorrect due to lack of knowledge of class teacher background by survey respondents.
Foundations for Excellence 41
How many grades teachers have completed Waldorf teacher training? Apparently, the survey did not allow for multiple boxes to be checked on this question. According to my collation of individual survey responses (the numbers were given in a comments box), at least 80 percent of the grades teachers in responding schools have completed Waldorf teacher training.
Professional development requirements. (Figure 32) A major component of continuing development for Waldorf teachers is the summer intensive, in which they prepare for the grade they will next teach. This is also an area in which professional development in the arts, including music, may take place. The split is almost 50/50 in respondents that require this professional development, and respondents that do not. Four respondents that said they require professional development then amended this answer in the comments section by saying that they strongly encourage it, but it is not required.
Foundations for Excellence 43
Interpreting the Waldorf Music Program Survey Data
I approached this project with the aim of acquiring a substantial amount of logistical information about Waldorf music programs. I wished to gain information regarding music program size, staffing, budget, and resources. I also hoped to discover if Waldorf schools had difficulties in finding qualified staff to teach their music programs, and if there was a link between a teacher's level of education,
qualifications and attrition. From where did Waldorf music teachers get professional development and support? Did they play a role in mentoring and professional development in their school communities? Did music teachers participate in school outreach by involving their students in the larger musical community?
Were private lessons required of students? How many students were required to take private lessons in a student community, and what was the role of the music teacher in coordinating the lessons? This was linked with my interest in how many Waldorf schools had a required strings program, and how many ensembles middle school students were required to participate in. How did all of these factors play into the overall success of the music program?
When I started this project, I had a few assumptions about the data I was collecting. Due to the economic downturn, I thought that I would see music programs being cut in hours or budget amounts, and this in turn would result in a high attrition of music teachers.
I felt that there would be a clear link between strategic planning, resource allocation, and how well a music program was functioning. This would be especially apparent in developing schools, where
Foundations for Excellence 45 programs had not been established for long periods of time.
With these questions in mind, I divided the schools into two groups: developing and member schools. I divided the member schools into two further groups: Grades 1-8 and Grades 1-12.
Developing Schools: Findings and Observations
Of developing schools, five reported attrition of music teachers and four did not. Four additional schools had no music specialist on staff. Four schools had no mention of the music program in their strategic plan, and they all either had no music specialist, or they reported attrition. This demonstrates a possible link between the lack of strategic planning in the music program and music teacher attrition.
One reason for this connection could be that strategic planning allows a program to be carried in the collective consciousness of the school community. It is less likely for the program to falter or fail when it is being given the regular attention of the governing bodies of the school.
In the overall picture, however, only three developing schools that employed music specialists said that attrition was not an issue. Strategic planning or not, music programs still had problems retaining staff. Although respondents indicated several reasons for this issue, the standout indicator was the few amount of hours provided for music teachers.
Most developing schools employed music teachers for less than 10 hours total per week. This meant that there may have been two music teachers at the school, but both worked for less than five hours per week. Only five developing schools employed music teachers for 10 hours or more per week.
What was surprising about this was the comparison between hours that music teachers were employed, and the number of required ensembles in the middle school. While six schools had only one ensemble requirement in the middle school, seven schools had two or even three ensemble requirements. Many developing schools relied on class teachers to put in extra time as ensemble directors, or employed one
Foundations for Excellence 47 or two music teachers for only a few hours a week to conduct rehearsals. The bulk of teaching
resources were thus used for middle school ensemble rehearsals, rather than general music education.
Most developing schools had an annual music budget of less than 500 dollars, which was used primarily for the purchase of method books for students in required string classes. Only two schools had dedicated music rooms, and all but one school were equipped with the most basic equipment for their music programs, mostly music stands and folders.
Perhaps surprisingly, in spite of low hours and limited resources, Waldorf schools attract trained professional musicians to their faculties. Most schools employ music teachers with university degrees in music. However, by far the majority of them hold degrees in music performance, rather than music education. Schools that hire a person with a degree in music performance need to remember that these candidates have no pedagogical training in their degree requirements, and may need substantial support in learning how to teach music to students of varied ages. This may be a factor in the comments of several schools, that said they have had a difficult time finding qualified personnel to teach music, even though their music teachers hold university degrees in music.
Only three schools said they did not have a requirement for string education in Grades 1-8. Nine schools had a Grade Three or Four through Grade Eight string requirement. Seven of these schools required students to take private lessons.
Developing schools often have had to find creative solutions for the problems posed by limited resources and staff. One school gave an example of a music specialist becoming a class teacher, who then took up the music program again when the replacement music teacher resigned. This is not an
uncommon situation in developing schools. When a specialty teacher moves to class teaching, their former position is either left unfilled, or the class teacher tries to carry both their class and the program they used to direct. One must ask the question of whether this leads to attrition of another sort, when the class teacher suffers from overwork and perhaps resigns before they have finished taking their class through Grade Eight.
One respondent stated that when their music teacher resigned, a qualified replacement was not found. The position remained unfilled in order to balance the school budget. Class teachers and parent volunteers with some musical experience were trying to carry the music program piecemeal between them. Another school had a handwork teacher with a university degree in vocal performance teaching choir lessons in addition to teaching the handwork program.
In the majority of developing schools, class teachers were responsible for most of the music education taking place. Music teachers were hired primarily to conduct orchestral and choral rehearsals. Even though schools relied heavily on class teachers to support the music program, class teachers received little support through professional development or mentoring, either by music teachers or from other sources. The greatest source of professional development for class teachers was through attending a summer session of intensive professional development, designed to help teachers prepare for the upcoming school year.
Foundations for Excellence 49 Member Schools: Findings and Observations
Of member schools, 15 schools said they had no attrition, eight said they did have attrition, and three schools had no music specialist on staff. It would be expected that attrition would be lower in member schools than in developing schools, as member schools tend to be more established, have larger student populations and more financial resources, and in many cases have larger facilities that accommodate more specialty programs.
It is therefore surprising to see that although attrition is less of an issue in member schools, it is still close to 50 percent, and goes over that number if the three schools without music specialists are taken into consideration. Clearly, teacher attrition in the music program is an overall problem in American Waldorf schools.
Member schools demonstrated less of a link between strategic planning (or lack thereof) and music teacher attrition than developing schools. This could be for a number of reasons, the fact that music programs are more established in mature schools is one. In member schools, strategic planning may be more focused on long-range financial and physical plant goals instead of program development. It is interesting to note that several respondents did not know if the music program was mentioned in the school's strategic plan.
Music teachers coped with limited hours in member schools as well as in developing schools. The largest programs, both in budget and hours, were in schools that are Grades 1-12. This makes sense, because music classes are part of the high school curriculum. These schools also had the greatest flexibility in which instrument and ensemble choices they offered to students in the middle school.
They are the only respondents that participated in interscholastic activities such as choir and band festivals. The teachers in these schools were the most likely to hold professional memberships in organizations such as National Association for Music Education (formerly Music Educators National Conference) and American Choral Directors Association.
Based on this set of respondents, one can conclude that the most robust Waldorf music programs are ones in which the vision of the music curriculum is carried in the same school through the high school experience. This may be because the achievement standards in music for graduating students are clear, and the overall music program is structured towards fulfilling these standards. Could the strengths of these programs be transferred to Grade 1-8 schools?
Every school that reported no problems with attrition had a music specialist or specialists on staff for more than 15 hours per week—in all cases but two, more than 20 hours per week collectively. The lead music teachers in schools with no attrition worked, at minimum, between 10-14 hours per week. This number of teaching hours seems to be a key factor in schools that are able to retain their music
There was a definite connection between teaching hours and physical resources. Without exception, the schools that had a music teacher or teachers employed collectively for more than 20 hours per week had budgets of over 1000 dollars per year. The music programs had more abundance in the areas of school-owned instruments and music libraries. They also demonstrated a greater overall level of organization in the music program, particularly in the realm of hours allocated for instruction in the lower grades.
Foundations for Excellence 51 Class teachers take on various aspects of music instruction with their students in member schools, just as they do in developing ones. Overwhelmingly, class teachers are responsible for recorder instruction and singing with their students. A number of schools list performance preparation, for both festivals and concerts, as a class teacher's duty as well. Several schools with limited programs or no music specialist on staff have class teachers that work, regularly or intermittently, with students in ensembles. Six schools in the study have made class teachers responsible for all aspects of the music program with the exception of strings, which are taught by outside teachers.
Almost all member schools have two or more required ensembles in the middle school. The most common ensemble combination is a choice between orchestra and recorder, and required choir. In several cases, students who enroll after Grade Four or Five must participate in recorder ensemble instead of orchestra. Private lessons are required in the majority of schools with orchestra requirements in the middle school.
I expected to see a higher percentage of mentoring or professional development being provided to class teachers in member schools than in developing schools. However, the percentages are almost exactly the same. Class teachers get most of their professional development in music through the summer intensive to prepare for the next year of teaching.
Conflicting and Confusing Responses
In many survey responses, contradictory information was given. The most common example were respondents who said private lessons were not required of students, then stated that a number of students were required to take private lessons. Another conflicting response was that the playing of a string instrument was not required by the school, but middle school string ensembles were required. Many responses said music teachers taught recorder, but also stated class teachers taught recorder. Several respondents said that music specialists were on staff, when in fact, they were not. Instead, class teachers were directing aspects of the music program.
Many respondents were unsure as to whether the music program was mentioned in their school
strategic plan, they did not know what professional memberships were held by music teachers, and they did not know what the budget of the music program was, nor what it was primarily used for.
This presents a picture of communities that do not understand the basic structure of their school music programs, their staffing, resources, or use of resources. They may not grasp the vision or pedagogical focus of the music program, if indeed such a vision or focus exists. In many schools, there is no clear division of responsibilities between class teachers and music teachers. Class teachers must teach their students music with little or no mentoring or professional support.
Foundations for Excellence 53 Recommendations
All schools wish to offer a high quality of programming, and wish to operate with efficiency and to use resources wisely. In order to meet these goals, there are a number of areas that I feel Waldorf schools could give attention to when assessing their music programs.
For music programs to be truly successful, clarity of purpose, a clear understanding and division of roles and responsibilities between music and class teachers, and appropriate professional development must be the rule, not the exception.
On the subject of strategic planning, my conclusions are that the more consciousness that exists around a program, the more support it gets from the community. Schools with music specialists on staff can track program effectiveness by means of the strategic plan. Schools with no music specialists on staff can still include the music program in the strategic plan, hopefully with the idea that a music specialist will eventually be hired. I will discuss this subject in greater detail in the next section of this paper.
In the area of attrition, schools consistently state that they have had difficulty in finding qualified personnel. The data shows that many music teachers in Waldorf schools hold music performance degrees, rather than music education degrees. Schools that hire music teachers with music performance degrees need to be ready to give these teachers additional support and mentoring if they have not had classroom experience. Even teachers who may have operated their own private studios will still need to learn how to manage group instruction for students of varying abilities. A working knowledge of pedagogical concepts, and how to impart them, cannot be assumed when hiring a music teacher with a music performance degree. Schools may need to adjust their expectations accordingly when working
with new or inexperienced music teachers, just as they do with new class teachers.
Attrition was also attributed to low hours and wages. I discovered that music programs that hired their lead music teacher for 15 or more hours per week had a much lower rate of attrition than those that hired teachers for less hours. Programs that had more than one music teacher working for less than 10 hours per week could consolidate the multiple, low-hour positions into one 80 percent to full time position. If structured correctly, the music program could be strengthened using existing hours and resources, with the added benefit of reducing teacher attrition.
Another way to give the music teacher more hours while providing professional development to the whole faculty would be to allocate perhaps two hours per week for mentoring class teachers during school hours. If two hours a week were provided for mentoring, then potentially every class teacher could have a private mentoring session with the music teacher once a month. This would strengthen the musical skills of the class teacher, and strengthen the overall music program.
One must consider the many ways in which the music teacher could move beyond conducting the orchestral or choral rehearsal, share their special training with teachers and students, and become more integrated in the life of the school. The music teacher could be hired to do a half-day session of professional development for the faculty during in-services or faculty work week. Some schools ask their music teachers to open the training day with singing, what is proposed here is different. The music teacher would be giving instruction in various aspects of music education that class teachers would then share with their classes. Although this type of adult education is typically more highly paid than the hourly rate for teaching music classes, it is of tremendous benefit to the community.
Foundations for Excellence 55 Music teachers could teach mini-blocks of music history, theory, composition, or skills at the beginning or end of main lesson block schedules. This would serve the dual purpose of deepening the overall music curriculum by allowing the music teacher time to introduce and develop a lesson fully over a number of consecutive days, and by giving the class teacher extra time to prepare for the next block they would teach.
Sometimes, the simple fact is that even with the best resource management, a school cannot afford to hire a music specialist, or can only give a music teacher extremely limited hours. If this is the case, an excellent way to support class teachers would be to bring in some house training during a school in-service or work week. Hiring a professional music educator to work with class teachers on skills, technique, and repertoire is a very cost-effective way of improving overall program quality.
On the subject of resource management, many schools use the majority of their program budgets for purchasing student method books, usually for required string programs. Students generally take method books home, and keep the books when finished using them. If schools are providing materials that go home and are kept by the student, parents should reimburse the program for those materials. Schools should use their program budgets for materials that stay in the program. This includes the purchase of any instruments, which stay with the program rather than being appropriated by others.
Many schools require private lessons to be taken by all students from the time that they start playing strings—usually in the Grade Three or Grade Four violin block. It is not necessary that a school require private lessons of students in order to have a successful music program. I will discuss the actual cost of private music lessons to the community and make my recommendations on this subject in a later chapter of this paper.
After reviewing the data, I discovered three major areas that could benefit from an increased level of community consciousness and support. The next section will outline these areas.
Foundations for Excellence 57 What is the Plan? Implementing the Music Survey Data
It is one task to gather and interpret data, but quite another task to decide how this data can best benefit the greater community. In looking over the data I collected from the Waldorf music survey, I found three areas of focus that communities can give their music programs for greater overall success: strategic planning, resource management, and staffing. I have organized the rest of this paper into sections that address each of these areas separately.
The three main areas of focus all overlap the question of program structure. Strategic planning can give a music program a framework to operate within, resource management can fund that activity, and correct staffing can ensure that the music teacher has the required skills to successfully direct the program. However, the question of program structure — that is, how and why we do something, not necessarily what we do — is central to long-term program success. We must understand how and why we are making pedagogical decisions regarding the music program. This determines our basic program structure. What we do musically with the children after the decisions have been made about program structure will naturally follow, and fall within the structure that we have decided upon.
We must differentiate between the framework that strategic planning provides, which is done through the use of pedagogical goals and objectives, and the actual structure of the music program. Many options are available as to what shape our music program can have, and these all fall within a larger framework of goals and objectives. In addition to the three focus areas of strategic planning, resource management, and staffing, we will discuss different types of music programs and how they can be utilized in the Waldorf school.
Greater consciousness in the areas of strategic planning, staffing considerations, and resource
management will strengthen the music program. It will give direction to the music curriculum, provide a framework for program and teacher assessment, and will allow the music teacher to have the fullest share in general school life. This will enable the music teacher to support the class teachers in their work, may lead to less teacher attrition in the music program, and may also address class teacher attrition.
Foundations for Excellence 59
Chapter Two: Strategic Planning and the Waldorf Music Program
This chapter will describe how music programs are planned and structured, discuss the options available in music program development, and demonstrate how existing standards in music education can be adapted to fit the Waldorf pedagogical model. We will open with a discussion of value
assignments in music education.
Value Assignments in Music Education
The Waldorf school music survey has examined the different components of Waldorf music programs, but it has not explained why music programs should be included in the school curriculum at all. This is an important question to answer when advocating for the funding and expansion of this subject
program. What follows is a brief discussion of the role of music in the larger picture of education.
Whereas the primary goal of a professional musician is to play and perform music for its own sake, the music educator has much broader reasons for teaching music. These goals encompass personal, social, and educational objectives. In education, the end product is not so much the focus as the learning that has taken place along the way. For this reason, a poorly performed piece at a concert may not be viewed as a failure if, in the process of learning the music, the students have gained insights and knowledge they previously did not have (Phillips, 2004, p.25).
From the time of the Greeks onward, music in schools was utilitarian in purpose. Music was presented as a way to understand mathematics and science, and music theory was studied separately from the
realm of performance. For the first century of American public education, this continued to be the case.
Educational reformers such as John Dewey were the first to stress the importance of aesthetic values in music education. The enjoyment of music for its own sake became the stated goal of the music
curriculum in twentieth century public education. Particularly from the 1960s through the 1980s, 'art for art's sake' was the banner under which American music educators developed their programs.
However, this approach was shortsighted. When music educators were confronted with the fact that all areas of study have some level of aesthetic quality, not just the arts, it became more difficult to justify the place of music in the general curriculum; and music programs in public schools were cut during economic downturns (Phillips, 2004, p.26).
In the 1990s, a Praxialist approach to music education was considered in American public schools. This approach is the idea that music exists to be practiced, and that all musical learning and knowledge flow from being involved in music as an active participant. Making music is the central focus of the musical and aesthetic experience. The main problem with this approach is that it could result in the mid-century model of music education being implemented primarily for the purpose of performance, not instruction, with the result being a lack of content in the music curriculum (Phillips, 2004, p.27).
While a certain amount of information on music history, theory, and skills can be imparted during rehearsal, a balanced approach incorporates both instruction and practice. A balanced approach to the music curriculum recognizes that there are both intrinsic and extrinsic values for music in the
curriculum. For this reason, I include the following quote as a rationale that schools and music teachers can reference when forming their program vision:
Foundations for Excellence 61
A quality music education is a necessity for all students, because of the many intrinsic and extrinsic values that the study of music has for all mankind. Most important among these is music's potential for letting human beings share and communicate thoughts and feelings that transcend the written or spoken word—expressions of the spirit that make us uniquely human and bind us together as a people and a world of cultures. In addition, the study of music is beneficial for its many other outcomes, some of which include the development of social behaviors, such as cooperation and multicultural sensitivity; personal behaviors, such as self-discipline and self-esteem; and educational behaviors, such as integrated and “whole brain” learning. While music has as its basis a complex body of knowledge, making it worth to be called an academic subject, the study of music also enhances all areas of the school curriculum, making music central to the core of all education. Throughout history, advanced societies have included the study of music for their young people in order to prepare them for a life that is rich and varied. Music and a quality life are for everyone. (Phillips, 1998, p.10)
In many cases, the development of Waldorf Schools has been a kind of rebellion against an overly utilitarian or institutional approach to education. Far from being the antithesis to Waldorf pedagogy, however, public education has been engaged in the debate over value assignments in arts education for decades. When taking the above quote into consideration, the value that Waldorf education tends to assign its music programs — that music is practiced and played for its own sake — seems, if anything, a bit dated. Instead of reinventing the wheel in forming a music program, we may have more success if we take advantage of the lessons learned in public education about the value assignments placed on the music curriculum.
It is good to consider the advocacy for music education in public schools, and we can learn much from public education regarding value assignments in music programs. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that in Waldorf education, there are other considerations that provide even more powerful reasons to include music education in the core curriculum.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, identified music as a driving force in the evolution of human consciousness. According to Steiner's worldview, music connects humanity with the spiritual world in a way that no other art form can. Music is an impulse for the future, and it is taught with enthusiasm in the Waldorf school. This impulse is carried into the spiritual realm following the death of the physical body (Steiner, 1987; Steiner, 1990, p.23-24; Steiner, 2000). Music forms an integral part of the Waldorf core curriculum because it educates the spiritual element of the human being. This goes far beyond the consideration of making music for its own sake, or because it promotes such qualities as healthy social behavior.
There are many different assignments of value that can be made in advocating for music education. The next question we will consider is, how do we incorporate all of these different values successfully to found a sustainable and vibrant music program in the American Waldorf school? How is this vision expressed through the strategic plan, and how can we bring it to fruition?
Foundations for Excellence 63 Strategic Planning: The Necessary Foundation of a Successful Music Program
Developing Waldorf schools use a strategic plan to outline how the school's projected growth will transpire. Nearly every aspect of the curriculum, as well as administrative duties, building
management, and board responsibilities, is addressed in the strategic plan. Developing Waldorf schools are required to have a three-year plan in order to qualify for full membership in the Associated Waldorf Schools of North America, or AWSNA (AWSNA, 2006, p.4).
Fully accredited Waldorf Schools also use strategic planning when approaching re-accreditation in AWSNA (AWSNA, p.4). They may use strategic planning for expanding their campus, creating an endowment, or tracking program growth and development. A well-crafted strategic plan is one where any person is able to put a finger on the pulse of a program or project, in order to understand program and project development, goals, and objectives.
For this reason, it is essential that the music program be mentioned in the school's overall strategic plan. This is the place where the scope and thrust of a program are clearly described. It is where program goals and objectives are delineated, and where the responsibilities of the music teacher are defined. The music teacher will use these goals and objectives when forming the curriculum.
When the music program is clearly outlined in the school's strategic plan, it becomes easier to keep a thread of continuity in the program when there is staff turnover. Incoming teachers can use the information contained in the strategic plan to assess students and make any decisions regarding
remedial work, and they use the plan when making general curricular choices. The strategic plan is the easiest way in which a school can assess teacher performance and address program growth. Therefore,
it can be a factor in reducing music teacher attrition, and aids in reducing confusion when staffing changes do occur.
A significant way in which the strategic plan can aid in the creation of a superior music program is by defining the different roles of music teacher and class teachers in the overall music culture of the school. Many survey responses demonstrated confusion regarding the teaching of music literacy, instrumental and vocal skills, and performance preparation. In many cases the class teacher, the music teacher, and a private instructor were all identified as teaching basic music literacy to the student. In several of the schools surveyed, class teachers were expected to take on teaching music literacy to students even though music teachers were also on staff. The class teachers in question were expected to do this regardless of musical training. In the majority of the schools surveyed, no professional development in music was offered to class teachers, even though they were teaching basic musical skills to students.
This confusion poses a number of problems. When the roles of class teacher and music teacher are not clearly defined, it becomes more difficult to assess both the music teacher and the music program. If the music program cannot be assessed, then adjustments and improvements cannot be made. The growth of the program as a whole becomes compromised. If the music teacher cannot be assessed, they may be successfully meeting the needs of the students and yet their success is not measurable. Needed professional support may not be given, and they may resign or be laid off. This situation is not good for either the teacher or the school community.
Another problem is that of marginalization. In many schools, music teachers do not help students prepare for school festivals or other community events. These occasions remain the province of class
Foundations for Excellence 65 teachers. Music teachers may prepare students for one concert in the school year, or in many cases, no performances at all. I have spoken with a number of colleagues who express frustration over feeling that they are given the 'leftovers' of the music program, the parts of the program no one cares to teach, while the class teachers have the most enjoyable musical experiences with their students. The
marginalization of the music teacher in the outward artistic life of the school (performances at festivals, concerts, and class plays) is an indicator of this situation.
While the music program does not exist solely for the purpose of performance preparation, performing is an integral aspect of music education. When students do not perform with their music teachers, there is no reason for students to engage rigorously in the learning process, and the aesthetic aspects of music making may not be deeply explored. Although it is reasonable for class teachers to prepare their
students for artistic presentations during the school year, music teachers should not be sidelined or forgotten. Instead, they should regularly participate in the artistic life of the school. The strategic plan can delineate when the music teacher will perform with different classes, and outline events that are the province of the music department.
When considering the confusion that surrounds the survey responses regarding music teacher
qualifications, hours, program resources, and professional developments, it is apparent that more clarity around the entire music program is needed. Solid strategic planning not only helps define program parameters and teacher responsibilities, it helps the community understand what the overarching goals and objectives of the music program are. This aids in teacher assessment, and is the foundation of positive collegial and community relationships.
The Importance of Defining Educational Goals in Music Program Planning
In the previous section, we discussed the need for including the music program in the school strategic plan. How do we define the role or vision of the music program in connection both to its own needs and purposes, and to those of the general curriculum?
Educational goals and objectives are commonly used in public education when forming a program or curriculum. They serve a needed function in setting program parameters, defining teacher
responsibilities, and establishing exit standards in any subject.
Educational goals include both broad statements and general intentions. They are intangible, abstract, and generally hard to measure. They could be said to be a target that is aimed for; an educational experience that is to be aspired to.
On the other hand, educational objectives are specific, precise, concrete, tangible, and measurable. They are the actual steps that must be taken to reach the target; the path that leads to the realization of the goal (Kratus, 1990, p.34).
An educational goal for the music program could be outlined in the following way: “Students will achieve music literacy by the time of graduation.” Or, “students will experience a variety of different cultures through music during their grade school years.”
Educational objectives for the same topics may be, “Students will practice reading music through regular sight-singing activities in the choral lesson.” Or “students will explore the music of Greece in