Students on the cusp of music careers commonly ask, "How can I make an impact?" The Division of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (PACE) builds upon Oberlin’s legacy of excellence in music education with a 21st-century emphasis on social justice, arts advocacy, and community engagement. It offers courses and immersive opportunities for students to imagine, research, create, and practice connecting their passion for music, interdisciplinary arts, and academic interests to surrounding communities in sustainable and innovative ways.

These experiences forge vibrant pathways for students, nurturing their professional development and preparing them for fulfilling careers.


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Our faculty are outstanding musician-educators with extensive experience—from performing in a broad range of settings, to teaching pre-kindergarten through college students and adult music learners.

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The PACE Division embraces Oberlin’s century-long tradition of educating students for public and private school music teaching while also advocating for, investigating, and practicing culturally responsive pedagogies throughout the diverse settings in which music and teaching occur in the 21st century.

PACE offers students practical opportunities to utilize their musical craft and pedagogical skills in schools and community settings. Access to the arts is a theme of social justice commonly explored in PACE.

Through PACE, students might find themselves taking part in programs and activities such as:

• Coaching local youth orchestra sectionals
• Observing and teaching students at the Oberlin College Community Music School
• Networking with nationally renowned community arts educators through coursework
• Teaching music composition and technology courses for middle-school students
• Studying educational policy
• Teaching children to play gongs and gamelan at an urban after-school program
• Researching intersections between music cognition and school music curricula
• Playing guitar for hospice patients
• Rehearsing a prison choir
• Studying alternative pedagogies
• Teaching piano to young students
• Teaching private voice or instrumental lessons for non-conservatory students
• Performing in Oberlin Orchestra outreach concerts


Curriculum Overview

PACE encompasses three areas: pedagogy, professional development, and advocacy and community engagement.


• Piano pedagogy, available as a conservatory minor, includes courses, guided observation, secondary teaching experience, and a capstone project
• String pedagogy, comprising a mix of classroom lecture and regular observation, focuses on the beginner student
• Vocal pedagogy includes courses in secondary teaching
• General pedagogy, which incorporates courses in foundations and principles of pre-K through 12th-grade classroom instruction as well as eurythmics and conducting classes

Professional Development

• Individual advising
• Speakers, workshops, and related classes
• Career resources targeting arts and music job searches
• Internal and external funding sources
• Gig Referral Service
• Additional support from the Oberlin College Career Development Center

Advocacy and Community Engagement

• Speakers, workshops, and related classes
• Community-based learning
• Experiential- and applied-learning opportunities
StudiOC connected-learning courses
• Internships
• Winter-term projects

Affiliated Organizations

Bonner Center for Service and Learning
Creativity and Leadership
• Oberlin Center for the Arts (Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin Choristers, MAD Factory, NEOS Dance Theatre, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra)
Oberlin Conservatory Community Music School

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Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement News