Checklist for Mentoring Certification Candidates

This is to be utilized as self-guided instruction or for mentoring others (individual or group) to successful completion of the Teacher Profile Projects for the MTNA Professional Certification Program. Working with another teacher is recommended. If you do not have a NCTM as a mentor, you are urged to contact your state or division certification chair. 

If you are mentoring a group of teachers, MTNA has a Certification Powerpoint that could be used at an interest session or your first session. 

Learning styles and strengths of each teacher will determine whether the approach is from most to least challenging, or the reverse. In either case, the bulk of the work for four of the five projects can be completed prior to having your application competed or submitted. Determine whether to proceed with those projects requiring less time—1, 4 and 5—or with 3, the most time-consuming. Set a timeline for completing each project. 

Projects 1, 4 and 5 do take a shorter preparation time, but must be given careful consideration. It is important to clarify, verify and justify as much as possible. Observe all guidelines for formatting and all word limits. Allow a one week minimum for each of these projects. 

Download and become thoroughly familiar with the following:

  • Teacher Profile Projects Workbook for your teaching area.
  • What Will the Evaluators be Looking For (link found directly under the TPP Workbook for your teaching area)
  • Certification 101

At any time during this endeavor when questions arise, contact your State Certification Chair or Division Certification Commissioner. They are there to answer questions, give encouragement and help you succeed. 

Project 1 requires a well-conceived philosophy of teaching music, and a second related topic. 

Additional resources:

  • Developing a Professional Teaching Philosophy, by Lucinda Lear, NCTM, and edited by Debbie Wallace, NCTM
  • Certification 101 has additional information and web resources. 

Project 4 includes a description of a positive teaching environment (studio or classroom), with resources identified by written descriptions, examples (photos, video) and explanations of how the components are used. 

Project 5 deals with studio business ethics and policies, plus a budget. The instructions for each of these are quite specific and must be followed precisely. 

Project 3 involves video recordings of a student and of a performance by the teacher, among other elements. Allow a minimum of three months to complete this project. 

Project 2 information will be made available to you upon receipt of your application and fee. It consists of selected repertoire from four contrasting style periods to be analyzed in essay format. The questions provided require specific knowledge and detailed presentation. 

Additional resource:

  • Analyzing Teaching Pieces (Teacher Profile Project #2), by Carleen Graff, NCTM 

Finally, you are to be commended for taking this step in advancing your profession as a teacher of music. It is rare for any private or studio teacher to complete this process without learning more about their teaching, their students and about the music they study. 

Becoming a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music is a very worthy accomplishment, and the process refreshes the desire to discover and learn. Your students will notice. You will be one of a notable and growing force of truly devoted educators.