The metropolitan environment of the Wichita State University campus offers music education students an ample variety of opportunities for hands-on teaching experience. There are many opportunities available for students to observe and teach students with and without disabilities in Wichita area schools. Many experienced teachers are available to share their wisdom with students who are interested in expanding their experience beyond the college classroom. WSU faculty and teachers from area schools are in frequent communication about ways to help WSU students get the experience they need to become successful teachers. Student organizations (Collegiate Music Educators National Conference, Tau Beta Sigma, Kappa KappaPsi, and Mu Phi Epsilon, to name a few), campus lectures, and workshops are other excellent ways for students to get involved while they are in school. The education experience at WSU offers students the best of both worlds -- the academic side of education and the hands-on experience necessary to expand what is learned in the classroom to real life.
"All children should have the opportunity for musical growth experiences...." This philosophy espoused by Betty Welsbacher, professor emeritus of music and special music education at WSU sums up the philosophy for Music Education at Wichita State University. Our faculty believe that all students can learn when the message is presented at their own level. Since music is nonverbal, it becomes a vitally important medium for all students, including those who have exceptionalities. If a child can understand through music, the concepts of long and short sounds, duration, loud and soft, high and low, pitch, and rhythm patterns, he can transfer that knowledge to other areas. If a child has the experience of moving her body up and down through music, then up and down come to have meaning.
Our music educators strive for a structure which allows for different learning stages through which the child progresses and which allows for various styles of learning. Non-verbal and verbal responses are equally important and lessons in music must be presented so that there is something for every learner in every style at every age in any music medium. Music is our universal language.
As student gain experience, we structure music instruction toward literacy, musicianship, and integration. We strive for ALL students to develop their musical understandings using techniques informed by research and demonstrated success. Our faculty strive to bring proven ideas to modern teaching realities.