The Catholic University of America


Field Experiences

Field observations are an important and integral aspect of the music teacher preparation program. They are also mandated by the University’s credentialing agencies (NCATE, NASM.) More importantly for you as a student, field experiences are a necessary component of the Music Education Program in that they allow you opportunities to connect with real classrooms and real students, in turn leading you to make connections with your life as an aspiring music teacher. Working in music teaching and learning situations around the Washington, DC area is a rich opportunity for you to put the theory and musicianship that you participate in on campus into practice. Besides, it can be very rewarding and great fun!

All music education majors must enroll in MUS150, Field Experiences for Music Educators, for every semester that they are enrolled in the program (with the exception of the Student Teaching semester.) Guidelines and resources for these experiences are fully explained in the context of this course. Also, consult the latest Handbook for the Field Experience Evaluation Form. This form must be completed by at least 6 field experience cooperating teachers and submitted for consideration of the Student Teaching Application. All MUS150 hours must be submitted and approved through the Field Experience Documentation System, as explained in the MUS150 Syllabus.

At least 100 hours of clinical field experience must be completed before a student may be accepted into the Student Teaching program. No more than 30 hours may be completed at one single site. At least 10 hours must include teaching and learning where children with special needs are included. In addition, at least 10 hours must be completed in the context of a Catholic school.

Elementary General/Choral Education School Sites

Secondary General/Choral Education School Sites

Elementary and Secondary Instrumental Education School Sites



MUS150 (Field Experience) Guidelines

All District of Columbia teacher certification programs require that students spend 100 hours in the classroom prior to student teaching. These 100 hours must be spent either observing or participating in teaching-learning settings, under the direction of an experienced teacher. Here are some guidelines to remember while accumulating 100 hours.

  • Register for MUS 150 the first semester of your freshman year. If you have not completed the hours, you will receive the grade of an "I", indicating that you need to fulfill this requirement before you can student teach.
  • You will need to complete eight - ten of the 100 required hours while enrolled in MUS 150 if you are not concurrently enrolled in a methods course. 
  • Ten of the 100 hours must involve the observation in a parochial school. You may earn some of these hours while completing observations for courses, e.g., “The Introduction to Music Education”, or "Elementary General-Choral Music Methods”. 
  • You may not be paid for your work, e.g., giving private lessons, working as a     summer camp counselor. If in doubt, obtain prior approval before becoming involved in a teaching-learning setting. 
  • To follow the spirit of the requirement, we request that no more than 20 hours be earned at any one observation/ participation site. We hope that you will gain a wide variety of experiences in various settings, under the guidance of different teachers.  
  • The participation/ observation forms must be completed thoroughly and turned into the department chair for approval. Have the cooperating teacher sign the forms. The forms are not necessary if you observe and complete the journal requirements as part of another music education methods class, e.g., in Introduction to Music Education. A record of your hours will be maintained in your file, but it would be advisable if you maintained your own records as well.
  • Attendance at music education conferences or workshops may also be counted toward your 100 hours. Many of the sessions involve the observation of master teachers with children, and this as an important part of your training.
  • If you are looking for places to observe, please consult the site grid you received in MUS 150. We have accumulated a list of excellent teachers willing to accept Catholic University Music Education majors into their classroom. This is a great opportunity to observe potential student teaching sites. If you have recommendations for outstanding teachers in schools that do not currently appear on the grid, please inform us so that we can add them to our list.
  • If you have any additional quesitons, please contact Dr. Battersby.