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 There is a fair amount of outdated teaching approaches and philosophies that just do not apply to the modern classroom or modern perspectives on education.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.

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