The Music for All Summer (MFA) Symposium, presented by Yamaha, has added the Student Peer Teaching Program to its curriculum. This annual event, which takes place in June at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, is a weeklong summer camp for band and orchestra students and teachers. The peer teaching track is one of about 10 divisions available for students. The focus of its curriculum is to teach student leaders to be better teachers.
“One of the components of this program is to challenge students … to stay involved as leaders throughout the entire year … creating and preparing students younger than them to take their place,” says Joel Denton, division head of the Peer Teaching Program and director of bands at Ooltewah (Tennessee) High School.
This program trains students to be MODELs who will M-Motivate, O-Observe, D-Demonstrate, E-Educate/Equip, and L-Lead. “We won’t be just training the students on how to help their peers with the musical aspect, but we will also be working with them to develop visual skills,” Denton says. “Seventy to 75 percent of our society are visual learners who need a demonstrator, so it’s important that [leaders] have that quality.”
MFA believes the program will continue to grow in future years. “There’s no question in my mind that students who attend this year will go home and sing its praises,” says James Stephens, Music for All’s director of advocacy and educational resources.
Denton agrees. “I expect us to … have an even more dynamic impact at the Summer Symposium and band programs across the country,” he says.