Meet Joe Simms: Interview with a MMED Grad

A conversation between MMED Dean Marianne Holland and MMED Grad Student Joe Simms

Dean Holland: Joe, now that you are about a third of the way through your planned classes of studies for the MMED degree, tell us your thoughts about the program?

Joe: When I made plans to begin this degree, my main goal was to obtain the master’s degree to increase my salary for the long haul. I knew I wanted to stay in band work, but the extra pay from earning a master’s would really help with my family expenses. My wife was willing to support me in securing this degree online, which meant I did not have to travel a long distance for classes.

Dean: I am glad that you chose NGU’s graduate school, since our programs are designed for working professionals. We want the classes to assist you in becoming a better teacher and to meet needs you may have in your professional career.

Joe: Well, although my band has been successful in recent years, I really began to notice that I needed to improve conducting skills, acquire new technical skills, and just gain more knowledge in how to teach certain skills. There were also some instruments that I needed to study privately, because I was weak on brass instruments since I am a woodwind player.

Dean: The NGU MMED program is able to provide all of those needs for our students. What brass instrument or instruments would you like to receive some private instruction?

Joe: I know that I need some help with trumpet. And I need to thank you for encouraging me to enroll for the Teaching AP Music Theory Class last summer. Knowing how many band students I teach each day, I had not thought that I might need additional certification to teach other music subjects. After completing the AP Class, one day, my instructional coach asked me if I would be interested in teaching AP Music Theory. Thank goodness, I had the certification and felt competent to teach AP Music Theory for not only band students, but string and choral students who were considering majoring in music in college.

Dean: We can certainly provide trumpet lessons for you one afternoon or late afternoon on campus. We will work with your schedule and the trumpet professor’s

schedule to find a time that is convenient for both of you. Yes, it has been our experience that AP Music Theory is a great certification to add to your music certification. Just recently another student told me that her minister husband has accepted a church in another state, and the only teaching position she can find is at the high school level. Having gained the AP Music Theory certification as a part of her degree, she now has a better opportunity of securing employment in the new location.

Joe: I realize that I cannot tell my students to continue learning if I do not lead by example. I need to show them improved methods of instruction, and good performing skills, because I am continuing to learn and improve my skills.

Dean: Thank you, Joe, for being so honest about your feelings, hopes, and dreams for the future. All of us at NGU are proud of you for realizing your need for life-long learning. And we are happy that you selected NGU’s graduate school for your master’s degree in music education.

Find out more about our MMEd degree.

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