ASTA Standards for Successful School String/Orchestra Teachers

Approved March 21, 2015

ASTA has developed standards for string teachers and orchestra directors who are working in K–12 programs. The Teaching Standards Task Force, led by Dr. Robert Gillespie, Ohio State University, revised the standards in 2015 (see below) for use in helping to guide evaluations, inform administrators, and provide general insight into what ASTA believes are essential skills and qualities for excellence.

      I. As a Musician
      1. performs at proficient technical level on at least one string instrument.
      2. performs at a high level of musicianship in terms of musical and stylistic interpretation.
      3. performs fundamental concepts on all other string instruments.
      4. demonstrates the ability to play by ear and improvise.
      5. demonstrates an advanced level of aural discrimination and sight reading skills.
      6. demonstrates competent orchestral conducting skills.
      7. demonstrates a basic knowledge of performing and teaching brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments with an understanding of intermediate to advanced ensemble concepts.
      8. demonstrates proficient keyboard skills with a minimum ability to accompany simple melodies using primary triads.
      9. demonstrates an understanding of performance injury prevention.

      II. As an Educator
      1. demonstrates a thorough knowledge of pedagogy for teaching all string instruments including both homogenous and heterogeneous approaches.
      2. demonstrates a thorough knowledge of string teaching materials and orchestral repertoire at all levels. This includes a diverse range of repertoire of eclectic genres, cultures, and historical periods.
      3. demonstrates knowledge of solo and chamber music repertoire for string instruments.
      4. demonstrates the ability to arrange music for school orchestra.
      5. demonstrates effective rehearsal techniques in string and full orchestra settings.
      6. demonstrates effective classroom/rehearsal management.
      7. demonstrates knowledge and awareness of current trends in string playing and education including electric or amplified string instruments and repertoire.
      8. demonstrates effective methods of assessing and evaluating student achievement.
      9. demonstrates knowledge of technology and its application to instruction and research.
      10. demonstrates ability to gather, process, and effectively apply student data.
      11. demonstrates knowledge, application, and assessment of comprehensive, sequential K–12 curricula with focus on string and orchestral teaching; for example local, state, and ASTA Curriculum: Standards, Goals, and Learning Sequences for Essential Skills and Knowledge in K–12 String Programs.
      12. demonstrates understanding of the National Core Arts Standards: Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts and other state and local standards for music, including knowledge of current music and general education policies.
      13. demonstrates comprehension and knowledge of differentiated learning styles, special needs, and the ability to adapt the curriculum accordingly.
      14. demonstrates understanding of the possible impact on learning and development of socio-economic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds and diverse ages of students.
      15. demonstrates practical knowledge of string teaching including advocacy, recruiting, scheduling, budgets, purchasing, fund raising, and instrument rental and purchase.
      16. demonstrates clear communication through writing and speaking with students, teachers, parents, and administrators.
      17. demonstrates strategies for integrating music with other disciplines.

      III. As a Professional
      1. Growth and Development
        1. continues to perform on a string instrument.
        2. demonstrates pursuit of disciplined growth and learning as a musician and an educator, including in-depth professional development such as attending conferences or taking lessons.
        3. demonstrates effective, on-going professional self-assessment.
      2. Professional Affiliations and Related Activities
        1. maintains an active involvement in professional associations, such as NAfME, ASTA, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Chamber Music America. This includes serving as an active volunteer or in leadership positions within these organizations.
        2. develops and maintains relationships and communication with other music and art educators and performing musicians.
      3. Advocacy, School and Community Relations
        1. articulates the positive aspects of string education to members of the school and community.
        2. develops a healthy rapport with school administrators for nurturing a successful string program.
        3. establishes and maintains positive relations with administrators, teachers, and parents through communication and dialogue.
        4. communicates effectively with administrators, teachers, and parents through clear and effective written and oral communication.
        5. provides opportunities for outreach and community service for string students.
      4. Personal Attributes
        1. maintains professional ethics, behavior, appearance, and relationships within the school and community.
        2. maintains balance between professional and personal interests.