In 1838, the Boston Public School Committee hired the first public school music teacher, Lowell Mason, to teach students to sight read so that hymn singing in churches would be improved. This was the beginning of public music education in the United States. The same year, 1838, Greensboro College was chartered. Music was an important part of the College curriculum from the beginning and as this nation began to see that its children could learn and participate in the music of its western, national, and regional cultures, so too did Greensboro College pick up the banner to educate musicians and teachers of music. Greensboro College continued as a vibrant leader in educating musicians and music teachers in the 20th century having one of the earliest collegiate MENC chapters, Chapter 19 which is active today.

As over a century-and-a-half, Greensboro College maintains a solid program of professional training to prepare the teacher for music education in the 21st century. Students not only prepare to be strong teachers but strong musicians who will serve as models for their students and music leaders in their communities.

An incoming student may ask how one prepares for teaching in the 21st century. A Greensboro College professor would answer that a teacher must have the knowledge, teaching skills, music skills, technological skills and practical, classroom/ensemble experience along with the disposition and people skills to work in diverse and changing environments. The teacher must have a profound love for the students as well as the subject matter.

He/she must be prepared to be the expert in music for the community. Through study and mastery of music theory, western music literature of the past and present, selected non-western music, music history, orchestration and form and advanced music theory/history/literature courses, students become knowledgeable. Through study and mastery of courses in sight singing, ear training, piano proficiency, private study in principle and secondary instruments, ensemble participation, recitals and music convocations, students become skilled performers.

The music education program follows the guidelines/competencies mandated by NCATE/SDPI, SACS, and NASM, but goes beyond those mandates in requiring strong musical competence, providing for a wide range of musical experiences and public school experiences through fieldwork which begins in the sophomore year and continues through student teaching at the end of the senior year.

As the world shrinks through communication , technology, and travel, the teacher must possess a broader understanding of how to introduce the music of other cultures through vital, significant methods. For example, non-western music is beginning to proliferate compositions in band literature written today. The performance of those pieces is a spring board for addressing aspects of the cultures which gives more meaning to students of the music studied.

When considering your pre-professional education at Greensboro College, you will:

  • Have numerous excellent ensemble and performing opportunities not typical of a small college program.
  • Become a part of a tradition of musical excellence that spans nearly 170 years.
  • Work closely in a small college environment with professional musicians and teachers who are active as professionals and continue to perform while mentoring young musicians and teachers of the future.
  • Develop musically while developing the concepts and skills that only a liberal arts curriculum allows in preparing one for life.
  • Take advantage of more opportunities in musical, or operatic roles, classical or jazz ensembles to excel and grow as a musician without having to compete for the fewer leading opportunities in large university programs with graduate programs. Such an experience allows for better preparation for future competition in graduate school in music.
  • Engage in a comprehensive pre-professional music education program which develops the musician/teacher for the evolving music education of the 21st century.