“Music has greatly changed my life. I want to give students that same opportunity,” said Ms. Neilson, a student teacher from Brigham Young University. She and many other student teachers at BYU have been teaching in Dr. Sam Tsugawa’s orchestra classes at Springville Junior High. During first period orchestra class on Tuesday and Thursday, a large group of student teachers and their instructor, Dr. Andrew Dabczynski, come into class tolearn how to teach music classes. Ms. Neilson is the primary student teacher for Dr. Tsugawa, and helps out in all of his junior high and high school classes.
A teaching experience in a real classroom can be very helpful for student teachers. Dr. Tsugawa said, “When student teachers come into my classroom, they are able to practice what they have learned in a real classroom, and figure out what motivates young people. The only place they can do this is at a school; you can’t learn it at a university.” After teaching in class, student teachers discuss what they could do better in the classroom, and which techniques they used were effective. Sometimes they will take videos of themselves teaching so they can show their peers and get advice. However, many of them are not only learning how to teach music class. Music teachers need to learn to play all of the band and orchestra instruments, so many of them are learning how to play a string instrument for the first time.
SJHS students also benefit from BYU student teachers. According to Colton Shelley, a seventh-grade member of the Orchestra I class, the student teachers are very helpful and give great tips. Ms. Neilson has taught Springville Junior High School students about many aspects of music including technique, expression, and basic instrument skills. Because of the student teaching program, students from BYU and SJHS have been able to succeed in music.