Students majoring in music at Westmont will now be able to earn a teaching credential as well as a bachelor’s degree. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has approved Westmont’s application to offer a single-subject teaching credential for music, one of the few colleges to do so on the Central Coast.
“It’s good for our students, it’s good for the music department and it’s good for the local schools that need well-prepared music teachers, says Andrew Mullen, chair of the Westmont Education Department.
“There has been a critical growth of students majoring in music at Westmont and this is one more established career option for them,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship.
In 2004, three Westmont graduates earned degrees in music. Shasberger says currently there are upwards of 60 students pursuing degrees in music. In the future, Shasberger and Mullen hope to have about half a dozen students enroll for the music credentialing program.
Previously, Westmont students could earn a single-subject teaching credential and teach grade 7-12 students in California in art, English, history, mathematics, physical education or science. The teaching credential program generally takes a fifth year, though many Westmont students participate in a fast-track program that compresses their education to four years.
Favorable reviews from the National Association of Schools of Music in 2008 and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in 2009 encouraged Shasberger and Mullen to build the music credential program.
“These students will have an advantage when they do their internships, observations and assist teachers,” Shasberger says. “We are providing informed advocates who’ll be able to speak about the value of music education.”
“We have received affirmation from many local music teachers who are encouraged by the program and are even more fired up about advocating for music for all children,” Mullen says.