A Look Into The Music Education Program

Prof. Frank Martignetti, the founding director of the Music Education program, came to Sacred Heart University (SHU) in early 2021 with the task of creating this program, a Masters of Arts degree in teaching music.

“The dean of the college said to me, ‘Design your dream program,’ and I’ve gotten to do that which is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Martignetti.

Martignetti immediately got to work, by getting a curriculum in place, having the state certify the program and advertising it. The first cohort of master’s degree candidates began in June 2022.

Students can be a part of the program by following the five-year path, or students who have completed undergrad with a degree in music can come back just for the master year to obtain this degree.

This program has the goal of students finishing with a Master of Arts degree in teaching music. This certification will allow graduates to teach music to preschool through high school- aged students.

“Both routes lead to making you marketable and effective as a music teacher, and getting you Connecticut Certification,” said Martignetti. “All of our graduates are really skilled, they’re going to do great things, and serve students well, which is great.”

A part of this path is that students will take part in a paid residency at a local school. The master’s degree is 33 credits and the school system these students are placed in will pay the university 30 credits worth of tuition.

“Our graduates in residency can teach general music, chorus, concert and marching band, string orchestra, music technology, guitar, and more,” said Martignetti. “People do specialize in what their strengths are. If you’re a tuba player you might focus on band, if you’re a singer you might do music and choir, but we give people training in everything.”

To make sure the students are prepared in a wide variety, they take multiple introductory courses on each instrument family. These semester-long courses include strings, brass, woodwinds, as well as their main instrument.

Martignetti credits the program’s strength to his “all-star team,” with the help of other music faculty and staff already here at the university as well as his part-time faculty that he brought in with him.

“We’re just getting started, I’m really looking forward to seeing where we will be in just two years,” said Martignetti.

Senior Melissa Blanco first came to SHU as an elementary education major but wasn’t satisfied and temporarily switched her major to theatre arts. About a month before she began her sophomore year, she heard that the music program would be expanded, including a music education major.

“I felt like my prayers had been answered because I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Blanco. “The first day of my sophomore year I knocked on Prof. Joseph Carter’s office and asked if I could join the major, and the rest is history.”

Blanco was the first student to be enrolled in this program and will be graduating after this semester, where she will then begin her master’s year shortly after.

“Even though my undergraduate journey is coming to an end very soon, I’m very thankful for what this program has had to offer me, and I cannot wait to start my graduate classes soon,” she said.

Blanco, after completing her master’s, intends to work as a secondary choir teacher, an elementary general music teacher, or a private vocal instructor.

“This program is special because everyone is united by a common passion for music,” said sophomore Victoria Saracino. “I love the community we have built, and I look forward to seeing the music education program grow.”

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