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Summer Semesters vs Full Time MM

I am currently looking into starting a Masters degree (most likely in Music Ed emph. Choral Conducting). I can't decide if I would rather work full-time and complete in summer semesters (which a few schools seem to offer specifically for teachers) or go back as a full-time student, which may include some of the performance-based benefits of a Master's program. Does anyone have suggestions or guidance in this situation? Thanks in advance. 
For some background info, I graduated in 2012 with a BME from University of Kansas. After graduating, I started teaching general music for international schools. After 4 years of elementary general, I am hoping to grow into a secondary choral position with the leverage of a Master's Degree. 
on February 10, 2016 10:50am
Hi Emily,
I think that doing it full time vs. part time (or summers only) becomes a personal choice.  There are some really strong summers only masters programs that are choral music education (or music ed choral conducting emphasis).  Flordia State University is one that I think is super strong.  
I think that end goals will also dictate where you go.  When I graduated from undergrad I had many friends who were going right into a choral conducting program with no experience other than student teaching.  I went off to teach first.  I think that there is great benefit in teaching first, because you learn what you DON'T actually know, vs having to guess what a high school choral rehearsal, led by you, with your own teaching abilities might be like.  We have to face it, that there is no experience like it, until you have your own choir.  Student teaching is nothing like the real thing.  
My personal opinion would be to go and get a high school job first, THEN look at programs.  If you are able to do a program part-time, or summers only, you can immediately apply what you are learning in your studies and see what works, etc.  The other side of the spectrum is if you are in a program that gives you a choir, that is also an experience that you can't replicate.  
If you search summer MM Choral Conducting programs, or Summers only MME programs, you'll find a TON of programs.  

Best wishes to you in your search!
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on February 10, 2016 11:36am
I would simply add to the options--some MM programs (like West Chester/PA) offer the majority of their grad classes in the evening. Major ensembles start at 4 p.m., so many of our MM candidates do work full-time while simultaneously completing their MM and experience the performance-based aspects, too. It's worth looking into if any of your area universities offer similar scheduling.
on February 11, 2016 6:47am
One of the great things about the University of Illinois summer master's program that I followed back in the stone age is that nearly all of the great professors that Illinois had to offer also taught in the summer program. You might want to see if that's true of the programs you are exploring.
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