About Brittany Barry

From Long Island, NY. Music Education Major, '17. PCMEA Region 5 Coordinator. Fortenbaugh Music Librarianship Intern.

The Fortenbaugh in a Music Education Context

This past weekend I attend the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Annual Conference in Hershey, PA. Along with the rest of my music education program here at Gettysburg College I went on a two day trip the Hershey Lodge to attend professional sessions, network with in-service teachers and administrators, and walk the music education marketplace. Now that I am back it is time to begin work putting together my library research guide geared towards helping others involved in music education and I have new insights to consider.

In building my research guide I am keeping several items in mind: music education repertoire, professional development, accommodating a diverse classroom, methodologies and teaching strategies, etc. A section of my guide will address the first item; with the help of student workers in the conservatory as well as my adviser, Dr. Talbot, there will be a list of all the repertoire (song books, music games, method books, etc.) available in the music ed classroom in Schmucker Hall. This list will function as a general reference list and organizational guide for building age-appropriate classroom repertoire. With regards to professional development, the second item, there will be links to professional development events and certification programs in different teaching methodologies, etc. to inform music educators on how to better their own knowledge. For accommodating diverse students there will be a variety of sources from teaching students with IEPs to creating dialogue and a safe environment to address social issues. Finally, for teaching strategies and methodologies, the final item, I plan to provide sources for the different teaching methods (Kodaly, Orff, Sezuki, Dalcroze, etc.) to better inform music educators on the many different ways students can be engaged in music learning.

I am grateful to have had such a great experience in my internship thus far. I have learned a great deal about my own teaching ideologies through the process of organizing different resources necessary to be a successful music teacher.

Perusing the Stacks: Cataloging Music

This week and last I have been learning about some of the basics of cataloging. While the cataloging of books is often fairly straight forward, such is not case with music. There are some extra, important bits of information that make a big difference in cataloging and finding musical works.

When it comes to finding a book, most people can stop at the title and author (maybe even just the title!) and find what they are looking for. With music, however, a piece of music can have different transcriptions, arrangers, publishers, or score size, all of which have varying effects on the music. In practicing cataloging I came across a piece called Air. In looking further I noticed that not only was a composer listed, but a transcriber as well. It turns out the piece I was assigned to catalog for cello and piano was not the original version and it was actually written for violin and piano a year earlier. In this case in particular, it would be important for a musician to know what instrumentation the piece is for and whether or not other editions are available. Another way in which music cataloging involves that extra step is when it comes to different publishers. If one were to pick up two different copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by two different publishers, chances are the story itself would be the same word for word. With different music publishers, on the other hand, there could be differences in accidentals (whether a note is sharp or flat), articulations, phrasing, dynamics, cadenzas (little show off-y, soloistic sections), and even rhythm and pitch. It is not uncommon for publishers to add their own artistic input to a piece of music or to interpret it a different way. It is not likely you will have a book publisher decide to change the end of Where the Red Fern Grows. 

While music and all its extra ins and outs makes cataloging a bit more in-depth, as a musician who has been sent by my private teachers to “peruse the stacks” it feels I am doing a service for all those other musicians out there looking to make music.

From the Classroom to Musselman Library: Bridging the Gap for Music Education

I am in my sixth semester as a music education major through the Sunderman Conservatory and yet I had no idea there was a music education collection here at Musselman Library until just a couple weeks ago. After reading up on some policies and practices for maintaining collections I was given some time to peruse the music education collection more closely. As I looked through the shelves and skimmed some introductions and tables of contents of a few of the books in MT1 I began considering how I would go about updating and maintaining this small collection.

I began thinking about certain aspects of collection development such as the audience it applied to, relevance and value of more dated materials, etc. At an undergraduate liberal arts institution such as Gettysburg College, there is not a huge demographic to which a music education collection would apply to aside from, well, the fairly small music education department. While the target demographic is small, the collection is open to all, which is where I ran into some issues with some of the materials contained in those shelves. There is a fair amount of outdated teaching approaches and philosophies that just do not apply to the modern classroom or modern perspectives on education. For the average looker-on who may not have had the same experience, through course discussions in the education or music education departments, there may be teaching content that is no longer the contemporary and progressive form of music instruction and so it can be misleading. What those in our program know that others do not is that there is an entire collection of music classroom application materials in our main classroom in Schmucker Hall, accessible to music education majors 24/7.

In terms of content and audience, the main audience who would be accessing both sources is the students in the music education program. After a brief meeting with my intern adviser, Amy Ward, and my academic adviser and head of the music education department, Dr. Brent Talbot, we discussed ways in which we could bridge the gap between the two collections and to make them complement each other. My goals, as the Forthenbaugh intern and as an educator, are to make as much information accessible as I can for the music community on campus and those interested in learning more about it.

Life in the Fishbowl

I was never quite certain what went on in those offices behind the glass windows on the second floor of Musselman Library, but two weeks into my Fortenbaugh Music Librarian Internship I am beginning to get an idea. After talking with some of the staff that work in the fishbowl I have gotten a glimpse at some of the goings on behind the scenes of the librarian. If you’ve ever wondered how all these books and resources came to be or how in the world you are able to find a single thing in this place (maybe with some assistance), well, I can tell you it is not the work of little library fairies.

The staff working in technical services catalog and organize countless resources to make them accessible and able to be found. Many of them are also liaisons to different departments across campus to make sure each department has a collection of useful and pertinent resources and materials for the students and faculty in their programs. Maybe one or more of your past bio or living environment teachers/professors have mentioned that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Well Tech Services is kinda like the powerhouse of the library. Without the fishbowl staff, Musselman Library would likely be a barren wasteland containing nothing but dysfunctional printers, a vending machine, and a pile of miscellaneous books that have nothing to do with that research paper due tomorrow that you’ve been putting off for weeks.

But why am I here? As the music library intern I’ll be specifically focusing on music collections. So when you’re on the third floor trying not to squish someone between the mobile shelving, look for me.

More to come on my experiences with music collections and cataloging. Until then, see you (from inside the fishbowl).