The Florida Department of Education has granted full approval of Florida College’s Bachelor of Science program in music education, allowing graduates to begin their teaching careers with a full five-year professional teaching certificate.

Thanks to the diligent work of Dr. Douglas Barlar, chair of the music department at Florida College, and other music education faculty, graduates of the music education program will now receive a transcript endorsement indicating the completion of a state-approved program certified in music for grades K-12. They will have the opportunity to work closely with students in settings that provide opportunities for crucial guidance in ways that they may not receive elsewhere.

“Florida College is dedicated to developing God-centered servants who will be highly qualified and caring professionals,” Barlar said. “If a student loves music and wants to have an impact on the lives of young people, there is no better way to make a living.”

The Bachelor of Science in music education is built upon the rich traditions of a liberal arts education, including the same performance and research requirements as the Bachelor of Arts in music. The program also includes additional courses in music education and professional education, including pre-internship experiences in schools and a semester-long internship, half of which is spent at a secondary school and half at an elementary school.

While some schools are failing to focus on fine arts education, Florida College prepares music education graduates to have a strong impact while teaching music in schools of all levels, according to Dr. Brian Crispell, Florida College’s academic dean.

“The arts have not been emphasized to the degree they used to be in the last 10 or 15 years,” Crispell said. “This allows our students to have an impact they might not ordinarily have had in a critical area of students’ education.”

David Cluff, a senior in the music education program, came to Florida College with the hopes of becoming a middle-school or high-school band director as the college’s music education program was beginning.

“I’ve always been interested in music education, and Florida College just started up the program when I got here,” Cluff said.

Cluff and other students in the music education program learn how to teach all instruments in bands and orchestras as well as how to work with young voices in elementary school or in a high school chorus. After graduation, they are prepared to teach general music concepts to elementary students as well as older students and work with students from diverse cultures, backgrounds and learning styles.

Being a part of a small, private school has allowed Cluff to have the opportunity to gain this wide variety of experience in music, preparing him to better serve his students someday.

“Being exposed to different things helps you be well rounded,” Cluff said. “If I would’ve gone somewhere else, I wouldn’t have been involved in so many different things.”

Barlar and the music education faculty, Dr. Jon Bassett and Dr. Nancy Barlar, worked extensively to put together the necessary research and documentation to earn the program’s approval from the state. The efforts of these employees are invaluable to the success of the music education program and Florida College graduates.

“We are producing successful students who benefit communities in arts programs and local schools,” Crispell said. “This approval enhances our work.”

The state-approved music education program at Florida College and the music education faculty who support it are preparing students for challenging and rewarding careers in the field of music education.