Six Reasons You Should Apply to the Postgraduate Teaching Program at The New School for Music Study

We would like to thank Trevor Thornton for this insightful article on The New School for Music Study’s Postgraduate Teaching Program. Want to learn more about the Postgraduate Teaching Program? Learn more and apply by clicking here.

The New School for Music Study.

The New School for Music Study’s postgraduate teaching program provides the opportunity to continue your education while serving as a junior member of the New School’s faculty. It is a ten-month period of intense teaching and learning that is sure to change your life. If you are finishing your master’s degree and want to pursue more training in piano pedagogy, I could give you a thousand reasons why to consider the postgraduate program at the New School, but I only have room for these six:

1. You will gain a lot of teaching experience.

The Music Tree Part I

The New School’s postgraduate teaching program includes 15 hours of teaching each week in addition to observations and course work. That adds up to about 555 hours of teaching during the 37-week school year from the day after Labor Day through the third week in June. I like to joke that after I completed the program I could play the entire Music Tree series and most of the Celebration Series by memory. If you have not already worked with many beginning and intermediate pianists, you will feel confident in your abilities by the time you have finished the postgraduate program. If you already have significant teaching experience, you will be given the opportunity to push your teaching and lesson planning to an even higher level of excellence.

2. You will meet inspiring professionals in the field.

The New School’s connection to the Frances Clark Center and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) provides many opportunities for postgraduate fellows to meet inspiring pianists and teachers working in the field. As a junior member of the faculty, you may be invited to participate in a faculty presentation at NCKP, which is a great way to put your best foot forward in front of teachers and faculty members from across the country. In addition to NCKP, you can also meet experts in the profession through the New School’s guest faculty residencies. In the program, you may get the opportunity to have a visiting faculty member observe your teaching and meet with you to give you feedback. Guest teachers also give presentations to the New School faculty on their areas of research, which can spark new ideas for your teaching or performing. 

A post-concert photo from NCKP 2023: The Piano Conference featuring (from left to right): Tony Caramia, Kairy Koshoeva, Andrew Cooperstock, Nicholas Phillips, Susanna Garcia, William Chapman Nyaho, Artina McCain, Jeremy Siskind, and Angelin Chang.

3. You will learn about the New School’s founders.

Your experience at the New School would not be complete without learning about the teaching of Frances Clark, Louis Goss, Elvina Pearce, Richard Chronister, and other founders of the New School. Frances Clark’s teaching philosophy still lives and breathes at the New School—There is music in every child and it’s the teacher’s job to find it and nurture itWe teach three things: Technique, Musicianship, Practice Habits—We teach first, the person; second, music; and third, the piano—Preparation, Presentation, Follow-Through—Sound, Feel, Sign, Name. If you are lucky, you will have conversations with members of the faculty who did their teacher training directly with Frances and Louise, and you will see the glimmer in their eyes as they describe how inspiring it was to be in their presence and to feel the gravity of how seriously they took our profession.

Frances Clark and Louis Goss at the piano.

4. You will be part of a high-functioning team.

The faculty of the New School is the most inspiring group of people I have ever known. Each member of the faculty is intelligent, caring, diligent, industrious, creative, and so musical. One of the great joys and learning opportunities of the postgraduate teaching program is the time spent working closely with this team of experienced professionals who teach and play at a very high level. Each one can recommend teaching repertoire, lesson activities, helpful phrases, technique drills, organization tips, and anything else you need as you plan your lessons.

Faculty from The New School for Music Study.

5. You will see how an excellent music school runs.

The New School celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020. It has survived thanks to the vision and dedication of several leaders since Frances Clark’s passing, and it remains a fixture in the Princeton area. Through the postgraduate fellowship, you will not only learn the specific details of how to teach a well-planned lesson to a beginning piano student, you will also see the context that has been thoughtfully created in order to allow students to thrive. Before teaching at the New School, I taught in-home piano lessons, so I was keenly aware that the context of the New School—the group classes, Parents’ Observation Week, Parents’ Classes, Piano Progressions exams, Composition Contest, Recitals—hooked students and pulled them towards success in their studies. I know that wherever I teach in the future, I will be mindful of how it felt to teach at the New School and how I imagine it felt for my students. At the New School, excellence goes without question.

The New School for Music Study.

6. You will add your name to the New School’s ongoing legacy.

I applied to the postgraduate program because my friend had applied before me, but I never could have imagined the way the New School would impact the course of my life. I have had multiple conversations with people who have done teacher training at the New School, and many of us share the sense that the New School will never get out of our blood. I did my teacher training from 2018-2020, and after teaching at the New School for another two years, I joined the faculty of Tennessee State University, an HBCU in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I do not think I would have been offered my current position without the teaching and performance experience that I gained at the New School. I have known other former graduates who have remained on faculty at the New School, gone on to pursue more education and college teaching, or moved to their city of choice and made a career by teaching independently, at a community music school, or at a college. No matter what choices you make after the postgraduate program, your thread will be woven into the tapestry of the New School, and you will forever have your experience of what quality music education at the piano feels like, inside and out.

Trevor Thornton
"You must always know your roots if you are to know how sturdy the tree will grow." - Zoraida Córdova

Learn more about teaching and professional development opportunities at The New School for Music Study by clicking here.

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