Long-time Fairfield resident to lead new music education program at the University of the Sacred Heart

FAIRFIELD – The new music education program at the University of the Sacred Heart aims to create a vibrant community of forward-thinking teachers, its director said.

Frank Martignetti was recently appointed assistant professor and director of SHU’s new music education program, according to the university. The 42-credit graduate program will begin this summer and the undergraduate program will begin in the fall.

Martignetti said the folks at Sacred Heart have wanted to create a major in music for years – both students and faculty. The university has finally succeeded and is investing resources in it. He said he was given a big brushstroke to create a dream program and then hired to lead it.

“I’m really proud of what we’re building here,” he said. “I hope it will host a dynamic cohort of very high quality students, both at the masters and undergraduate level. I hope he has successful teaching students across the North East and that he has a reputation for being truly forward thinking and progressive.

He said he was now working on recruiting, facilities, equipment and personnel for it.

Martignetti, a Fairfield resident from New Rochelle, NY, said he spent 28 years teaching and playing music. He sang in church and school choral groups throughout his life and began working professionally as a church organist and choir director, as well as a music director for community theater productions.

During his career, Martignetti continued in music education – teaching high school students in New Haven. He then headed the music education program at Bridgeport University for nine years and eventually headed the entire music and performing arts department.

SHU’s master’s program in music education lasts one and a half years, while the undergraduate to master’s music program will take five years.

“Our MAT program is for people who have a degree in the field, and who often have significant work experience in the discipline, and now they want to teach it,” he said.

Martignetti said the program is similar to the previous program he oversaw and revitalized at the University of Bridgeport.

“The good thing is that the graduate students who participate in the program are between 22 years old – barely out of undergraduate studies – to 40 or 50 years old,” he said. “It’s a cool mix of adult learners. “

Martignetti said he was not sure how many people would enroll in the graduate program this summer, adding “you are at the point where you have started a new business and you are waiting for the phone to ring.”

He said he wanted the cohort to be small enough that he could give students individual attention, while still being large enough that they could network and learn from each other.

“It’s not supposed to be a huge program, but we don’t want to limit its growth potential either,” he said. “It’s just a strong cohort.”

Adult learners have unique strengths and weaknesses, Martignetti said, so they need individual attention. The teaching certification is broad, covering Kindergarten to Grade 12 and subjects in general music, choir, band, orchestra, technology, and music theory – as well as the wide variety of music. instruments.

“No one can teach all of these things well,” he said. “So it’s about helping students build on those strengths, sharpen their weaknesses, and learn new skills so that they have a few areas where they can be effective. “

Martignetti said there are several post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs in Connecticut, but the only master’s programs in music education are at Sacred Heart University and Bridgeport University. He said his former students are doing well in the workforce.

“Everyone works,” he says. “Most teaching positions are available in the summer, and a few around Christmas. But, the job market looks pretty good. Unfortunately, some people withdraw from education because they are afraid of contracting COVID. “

Martignetti said there were 18 music teacher positions open in the state on Tuesday – a higher number than normal.

Another aspect of this program will be the relationship the university and its students have with the public schools in Bridgeport, Martignetti said. He said he held workshops with music teachers from Bridgeport and other professional development activities while at BU, and helped the district in other ways. He wants to build this relationship while also managing the SHU program.

“We’re trying to create a unique opportunity where just like the rest of the education programs here, they have the opportunity to enter this teacher’s residence in Bridgeport – where they work with a really good teacher at the schools in Bridgeport. “, did he declare. .

The student would co-teach with this teacher for the entire school year, Martignetti, and then Bridgeport would offer them a job if the graduate agreed to work there for at least three years.

“We want our students to teach in a variety of contexts to find the right context for them,” he said. “We want them to know how to teach all students successfully and well. Creating a good musical program in a neighborhood where the resources are not so good … is a great result.

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