Online Music Degree for Professional Military Musicians
Darton State College Music Department Offers
a Unique, Totally Online Associate of
Music Degree Program for
Professional Military Musicians
Be it peace time or a turbulent period such as our current involvement in the war on terror, it is difficult for military personnel to complete college degrees or even individual courses. In most cases, college-regimented semester calendars and daily schedules are not compatible with the task-oriented military assignments and ever-changing daily demands of military musician/band service. In order to meet and serve the needs of military personnel seeking higher education, special considerations and accommodations must be offered by institutions of higher learning. Through assessment of current course offerings and recognition of the educational needs of the military, Darton State College developed and now offers a collaborative online music program to professional military musicians. This charter online music program, scheduled to begin Fall 2012, enables military musicians to study music and complete their music degrees, including private study from bases worldwide.
All students of the online Associate of Music program can be sure that they are receiving quality instruction from a quality institution. Darton State College is a state college in the University System of Georgia and is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Furthermore, each member of the music department faculty has studied and received advanced degrees from major universities across the country. Our faculty members are professionals who are experienced in both performing and teaching. Additionally, the core curriculum faculty members are proficient online educators. Finally, these students will be supported by our humanities division, online student support specialists and online division, technology services division, military resource center, and our administrative offices.
A group of professional military musicians apply, are accepted, and register in the music program as a cohort. This group will remain as a group throughout their study of music theory and other related music classes. A special semester term is created which offers flexibility (potential for accelerated study or prolonged study) depending on the demands of the military and the service member’s availability for class/study. The students register for Music Theory, applied music lessons, Piano Class, Large Ensemble (Concert Band or Chorus), and Instrumental Ensemble classes for the semester. When the group completes all the objectives of the semester, they register for the next online semester block in the sequence. To meet the requirements for applied music lesson instruction and other interactive music courses (piano class and sight-singing/ear training), technologies involving synchronous and asynchronous communication are utilized. Skype, Collaborate, Wimba, YouTube and other tools are utilized to document recital performances of standard literature and a music jury for each semester/session. Study and performance in smaller and larger military ensembles will meet the expectations/requirements of the college ensemble credit requirements. The music theory, sight singing/ear training, music major piano class, and applied lessons are taken online. The applied lessons are taught by Darton music faculty on all respective instruments and in voice.
Darton State College has a proven record serving professional military musicians. Annually since 2003, Darton State College has educated nine cohorts of Albany, Georgia, Marine Corps Logistics Base Band members, several of whom have completed their music degrees. Darton is excited to expand this proven degree program to include an online delivery format to all service members worldwide.
Darton State College, a member of the Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC), is proud to be an approved institution for both Tuition Assistance and for Veterans Affairs educational benefits, including the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In 2012, GI Jobs magazine and Military Advanced Education recognized Darton as a military-friendly institution.
Special Model Program Features
- Awarding of credit and contact time toward college music class requirements while the military musicians are practicing and performing in their respective military band or chorus.
- Exclusive military musician class grouping/learning community in required music classes.
- Creation of a flexible class delivery, totally online, respectful of military assignments. If the students in this program are deployed or given special assignments, instruction ceases until members are able to continue their studies and to resume instruction.
- Music faculty availability with instruction outside of the military work day/responsibility load.
- Offering of an accelerated, totally online music and core curriculum towards an Associate of Music degree.
- The offering of advanced applied music lessons online to improve individual musicianship and the musicianship of the entire military music ensemble. Applied lesson quality will not be compromised in this program. Applied music instructors monitor and guide musicians to further develop the musician. Music juries occur at the end of each session/semester synchronously to provide immediate feedback, as they would traditionally be conducted on the college campus.
- The availability of all academic core course requirements online, so that military musicians may complete their associate’s degrees at home or when transferred to other bases worldwide.
- Optimal college size: Darton State College is a state college of the University System of Georgia with a student population of approximately 6000. This makes our program conducive to offering a wide array of studies leading to the associate’s degree while permitting flexibility to cater to small learning community needs.
- Use of available Tuition Assistance Program for full-time military musicians. This facilitates the most efficient use of the military tuition programs including Tuition Assistance and the GI Bill.
Formative Assessment of Initial Program
Formal standard assessment is conducted through the traditional student survey instruments of Darton State College.
Periodic forums with the Military Band Administration are conducted seeking identification of weaknesses or issues that need to be corrected.
Student conferences, formal and informal, are conducted as a means to communicate needs perceived by the military musicians individually.
Information regarding strengths and weaknesses of the program is sought and encouraged from faculty and students involved in the program through several channels of communication (email, phone conferences, faxes, one-on-one conversations, and departmental meetings).
Through continued vigilance, the Darton State College Music Department will continue to develop educational technological tools to facilitate access of quality music experiences to military musicians both here and abroad. The development of this program negates the premonition that our young service members have to choose between an education or military service upon the completion of high school. This program permits both.
For more information, please contact Dr. Claire Fox Hillard, Director of Performing Arts, at (229) 317-6885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Darton State College Military Resource Center is available to provide additional information.