FME1: Paper 1: Analysis of the Teaching of Music Fundamentals

For our Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History course, we have to write three papers. Because I am currently procrastinating doing my reading for this week, I’ll share a bit about my paper with you. The prompt was as follows:

You’ve now read generally about WHAT are history and philosophy, the AIMS of music education, STORY-ING music in education, various CURRICULAR movements, and this week, AESTHETIC and PRAXIAL approaches/outcomes of music in the lives of people (namely children and youth).

In this, the first of three papers, write about your own aims and curricula. Then address the following questions:

  1. Name one specific thing that you teach (e.g., sight singing, cello, band), and briefly describe how you usually teach this topic.

  2. What critiques could you raise or should you raise about this particular practice?

  3. Finally, leave readers (your facilitators) with a sense of next steps: How will you consider and/or re-consider the way you enact the practice you've chosen to critique given the readings and live classroom discussions?

Remember that the point of enrolling in graduate school goes far beyond pay raises; it is about self-initiated professional development. This paper, of course, is an opportunity for you to demonstrate where historical and philosophical ideas and practice might powerfully intersect in what some would call the perfect storm or more academically as NEXUS.

Grading Considerations

Having been trained in my professional life to function in a standards-referenced system, I find I struggle with traditional grading when I encounter it as a teacher or student. For example, the sum of our graded assignments in this course equals 100 points. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Discussion 1: 4 points (2 for original post, 1 for each reply)

  • Discussion 2: 6 points (2 for original post, 2 for each reply)

  • Discussion 3: 6 points

  • Paper 1: 20 points (rubric posted below)

  • Discussion 4: 6 points

  • Discussion 5: 6 points

  • Paper 2: 20 points

  • Discussion 6: 6 points

  • Discussion 7: 6 points

  • Paper 3: 20 points

We were also provided with the following rubric for our papers:


You may be thinking, as my wife did when she saw the rubric, “the worst grade you can get is a 60?!?” However, passing grades for graduate music education classes at Boston University are 80% or higher. Anything lower than 80% and you do not receive credit for the course.

During the week the paper was due, we also received an e-mail clarifying that the word counts for the body of our papers should be 1100 words for Papers 1 and 2 and 1500 words for Paper 3.

My Paper

Scholarly work in music education uses the American Psychological Association (APA) format. I chose to write about my Music Fundamentals class at Centennial High School. You’ll find my Word document attached below in an ISUU container.

I can honestly say I was stressed about this particular assignment. First, we had only received a few grades on our first few discussions, so I was not sure of the grading style of our facilitating professor. Second, the guidelines for writing this paper were limited to what I have posted above and a reference to a Sample One-Experiment Paper in the Publication Manual of the APA. Third, I felt rushed to complete this paper with family being here 5 of the 7 days during the week it was due. I had both my wife (Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University) and my sister (M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas) proofread my paper for content and formatting before submitting.

Now all that being said, I earned 19.2 of the 20 available points. I was docked 0.8 points for a few minor errors in APA formatting. These errors included too long of a header and not including DOI (digital object identifier) or URL numbers for four sources. All in all, not too bad! Now to get back to my reading…


Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.