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Compiling the Certification Portfolio

Standard I: Professional Preparation

A. Knowing and Performing Music: Competent music teachers possess a significant understanding of and facility on their performing instrument(s). They demonstrate a specialized knowledge in a performance area as they provide students with comprehensive, sequential instruction. They have substantial knowledge of music theory, music history/literature and pedagogy/teacher education.

B. Knowing and Understanding Students: Competent music teachers have knowledge and understanding of students’ physical, social and cognitive growth and past musical experiences. They assimilate this knowledge to develop a course of study and to prepare instruction that meets the needs of each student while cultivating positive and productive relationships.

The Fulfillment of Standard I

(This standard must be successfully validated and fulfilled in Step 1 of the initial certification process before a Step 2 option of either a certification examination is taken or a certification portfolio option is begun.)

Standard I: Professional Preparation is validated and fulfilled with requirements in three competency areas as found in Step 1 of the initial certification process:

A. Academic competency in the areas of music theory, music history/literature and pedagogy/teacher education. Must be validated with either of the following THREE OPTIONS:

1) Four semesters of coursework in music theory, three semesters of coursework in music history/literature and two semesters of coursework in pedagogy/teacher education
-OR-
2) Proficiency examinations in music theory, music history/literature and pedagogy/teacher education
-OR-
3) Some combination of coursework and proficiency examinations

B. Performance Competency to perform repertoire in an area of performance that meets the MTNA performance competency requirements. Must be validated with either of the following TWO OPTIONS:

1) Six semesters of coursework in one of twenty-one areas of music performance.
-OR-
2) Submit one of the following THREE options that meet the MTNA Performance Competency requirements:
   a) Program of Repertoire
   b) Jury Evaluation Form
   c) Official Letter from Teacher

C. Teaching competency must be validated with:

1) Three letters of reference
-AND-
2) Two years of teaching experience

Standard II: Professional Teaching Practices

A. Planning Courses of Study: Competent music teachers plan courses of study for their students on a regular basis using a sound teaching philosophy and a wide range of music, musical concepts and materials.

B. Facilitating Music Learning: Competent music teachers foster students’ interest and facilitate their musical learning by using a variety of resources, equipment, technology, materials, methods, music, and teaching styles and strategies.

C. Fostering an Educational Environment: Competent music teachers provide and cultivate settings that are conducive to learning and performance and that are inclusive of students and families from varied backgrounds, cultures and capabilities. They provide settings for a course of study that encourages student confidence, independence, teamwork and high achievement.

D. Assessing Musical Growth: Competent music teachers utilize multiple evaluation methods regularly to assess and convey the progress of students’ musical growth and performance and to gather data for planning subsequent courses of study.

Guidelines for Fulfilling Standard II

Candidates must prepare a typed one semester/two-quarter (14–18 weeks) course of study for a student from one of the following levels: preschool, beginner, elementary, intermediate, advanced or adult. The course of study is a complete overview of Standard II and must include the following:

1. A one-page, typed statement of teaching philosophy.

2. A one- or two-page, typed statement listing the teaching objectives for the course of study.

3. Nine typed, comprehensive and representative lesson plans for the level of student selected that will demonstrate the teaching philosophy, teaching objectives and the scope of the course of study. The lesson plans must be sequential but not necessarily consecutive in nature.

4. A typed, one- or two-page statement describing how the teaching objectives/lesson plans in the course of study will be facilitated.

Candidates must include the following materials and documents in support of Statements 1–4:

  • Itemized list of all the method books and/or repertoire to be employed in the nine representative lesson plans.
  • Analysis (historically, harmonically and musically) of two selected pieces of repertoire to be taught in the nine representative lesson plans for an elementary and above level student. For the analysis, the candidate must own an original copy, obtain permission from the publisher or use a public domain piece, but does not need to send in the original.  The copy should be marked "For MTNA Certification evaluation only" at the top of each page.** Also, see the Verification Form on page 5.
  • Candidates choosing to submit a course of study with nine representative lesson plans for either a preschooler or beginner must provide a musical analysis of five selected and complete pieces of repertoire in outline or essay style only. Since these pieces are not as complex and, in general, NOT in the public domain, it will be unnecessary to photocopy the music to discuss it from the teaching perspective. Candidates must name the five pieces of repertoire, the composer and its source on the analysis of each piece.
  • Typed list of technical studies to be used in the nine lesson plans.
  • Typed list of ear-training materials to be used in the nine lesson plans.
  • Typed list of sight-reading materials to be used in the nine lesson plans.
  • A typed, itemized list of the musical instruments, technology, equipment and teaching aids to be used in the lesson plans for the course of study, and an outline of how each will be utilized.
  • Teaching activities planned for the lessons in the course of study, such as recitals, festivals, auditions, field trips and so forth.

5. Candidates must prepare a typed, one- or two-page statement describing how a learning environment conducive to teaching the objectives/lesson plans in the course of study will be fostered.

Candidates may include no more than three of the following materials and/or documents in support of Statement 5:

  • Photographs and/or video discs of studios, classrooms or student recitals
  • Other activities or evidence that would demonstrate a conducive learning environment

6. Candidates must prepare a typed statement describing how the results of the teaching objectives and lesson plans in the course of study will be assessed/evaluated.

Candidates must include any three of the following materials and/or documents in support of Statement 6:

  • Student adjudication sheets (maximum of five)
  • Audio tapes and/or video recordings of student recitals/performances along with printed programs.
  • Teacher and student written evaluations
  • Videos of students’ lessons
  • Student/family member(s) and teacher conference report with a one-page outline of how the evaluation conference will be conducted

** See When Works Pass Into the Public Domain BY Lolly Gasaway, University of North Carolina

Standard III: Professional Business Management

Competent music teachers demonstrate an understanding and application of basic professional and ethical business practices in their studio and classroom management. These practices include establishing operational and financial policies.

Guidelines for Fulfilling Standard III

7. Candidates must prepare a typed statement describing how professional and ethical business practices will be applied in the studio/classroom.

Candidates must include the following materials and documents in support of Statement 7:

  • A typed statement of studio/classroom policies
  • A typed outline for an interview/audition with
    1) A beginning student/family member(s) and a transfer student/family member(s), including a list of questions to ask each student/family member(s).
    -OR-
    2) An incoming college/university freshman and a graduate student, including a list of questions to be asked of each student.
  • A typed annual budget for the studio/classroom. If candidates are salaried music teachers (rather than independent teachers), prepare a prototype budget for the studio/classroom.

Standard IV: Professionalism and Partnerships

A. Contributing to the Profession: Competent music teachers contribute to the professional growth of their colleagues, their studios and schools, their professional associations and their profession at large.

B. Building Partnerships: Competent music teachers understand and appreciate the unique position that the family unit, colleagues and the community play in the musical education of students. They actively seek opportunities to build and nurture partnerships with them.

Guidelines for Fulfilling Standard IV

8. Candidates must prepare a typed statement describing the avenues through which contributions have been made to the professional growth of colleagues, professional associations and the profession at large.

Candidates must include any three of the following materials and documents in support of Statement 8:

  • Dated newspaper/newsletter articles written by or about a candidate
  • Personal letters that make reference to your teaching, professional credentials and/or professional involvement
  • Recital/performance programs, lectures, presentations, clinics, workshops given
  • Honors or awards received
  • Professional certificates or licenses held other than MTNA Professional Certification
  • Dated publications of journal articles and/or books related to teaching music
  • Professional research related to music education
  • Dated yearbooks or officer/appointee rosters that would describe leadership positions candidates have held, and what was accomplished during their terms of office/appointment

9. Candidates must prepare a typed statement describing how partnerships with professional colleagues, the families of students, and the schools and organizations in their communities have been and will continue to be built.

Candidates must include one of the following materials and documents in support of Statement 9:

  • Creative activities, projects, special teaching units or programs designed for studios/classrooms, professional associations, and/or the schools and arts associations in their communities
  • Studio website downloaded with address

The Fulfillment of Standard V

(Not required for the submission of the certification portfolio.)

Upon becoming certified, NCTMs must continue to maintain Standards I–III that were fulfilled in Steps I and II of the initial certification process, and continue to validate and fulfill Standards IV: Professionalism and Partnerships and Standard V: Professional and Personal Renewal through the MTNA Professional Certification renewal process every five years with one of the following three options. Renewal Options 1 and 2 are for all candidates; Renewal Option 3 is for full- or part-time college or university faculty:

Option 1: Documentation of Professional Renewal Activities Points
Option 2: Portfolio of Professional Renewal Activities
Option 3: Administrative Verification of Professional Renewal Activities

Four categories of professional renewal activities for fulfilling Standards IV and V provide the basis for the three renewal options:
Category 1: Contributing to the Profession
Category 2: Building Partnerships
Category 3: Evaluating Professional Growth
Category 4: Continuing Education