Waldorf Elementary Music Teacher Education
Sunbridge’s 4-week certificate program in Waldorf Elementary Music Teacher Education is for current and prospective Waldorf grades 1-8 music teachers. This offering is designed to provide Waldorf music teachers with an informed understanding of Waldorf curriculum and an anthroposophical view of child development, enabling these individuals to be more fully integrated members of their school community and to meet their students through the lens of a Waldorf educator.
Coordinator: Jeff Spade
This program is offered every other year and next takes place July 2025.
In addition to taking subject-specific classes in how teach to music through the grades, instruction in chorus and recorder, and a music teachers seminar, Sunbridge Music students receive a grounding in anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy through classes in child development and inner development, reading fundamental texts by Rudolf Steiner, and developing a meditative practice. There are also electives in academic subjects and the arts.
Through your studies, you will gain a Waldorf pedagogical understanding of the child and a knowledge of how that understanding relates to music study, thus gaining an understanding of the relationship between the child and music. This will lead to a deepening of the curriculum for both you as a Waldorf music teacher and the class teachers with whom you work, allowing for a more informed partnership.
Taking classes alongside students from our three-year Elementary Teacher Education program, many of whom are practicing Waldorf teachers, provides you with the benefit of developing colleagueship among fellow Waldorf educators.
“I feel much more empowered to begin teaching in the fall. Thank you for all the amazing work!“
~ Sunbridge Elementary Music Teacher Education student
Combine with Elementary Program
Sunbridge Music students may elect to combine their specialized music studies with matriculation in our Elementary Teacher Education program and receive a full teacher education diploma with concentration in music teaching. Matriculation in our Elementary program entails meeting certain admission requirements such as completion of 60 credits at an accredited college or university, and paying full program tuition. If you would like to learn more about this option, please contact our admissions office at [email protected] / 845-425-0055 x20.
Jeff Spade (coordinator & lead faculty) is a member of the music and drama faculty at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. Jeff has been teaching music in Waldorf schools for over three decades; prior to joining RSS, he was music director at Chicago Waldorf School and Kimberton Waldorf School. He has also worked as a guest teacher, mentor, and consultant with the Baltimore Waldorf School, Berkshire Waldorf High School, Brooklyn Waldorf School, Cincinnati Waldorf School, Green Meadow Waldorf School, Monadnock Waldorf School, New Amsterdam School, The Waldorf School of Garden City, The Waldorf School of Philadelphia, and Washington Waldorf School. In addition to working in the classroom and conducting choirs and ensembles, Jeff is a composer (“Eureka! The Life and Times of Archimedes: A Musical Play in One Act” for grades 5-12) and a teacher of teachers, having led music classes at several Waldorf teacher training programs.
Marshunda Smith (faculty) is an instrumental music teacher at the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm and co-founder and conductor of the No-Name Orchestra of Boston, which grants musicians a chance to play a concerto or other solo work with a full orchestra. Marshunda, who holds a private music studio of violin, viola, and cello students in the North Shore (Boston) area, made history in 2018 by becoming the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra’s second female conductor in 20 years and the first African-American conductor in its 70-year history. Descriptions of her many past, current, and upcoming “Marshunda Project” activities—making, conducting, and premiering music—can be found on her website. A graduate herself of Sunbridge’s Elementary Music Teacher Education certificate program, Marshunda earned her BA at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her master’s degree in orchestral conducting with a concentration in music education from the University of Southern Maine.
Adam Petersen (faculty) is the Choral & General Music teacher for Grades 1-12 at the Cincinnati Waldorf School, where he has been on the faculty since 2012. He currently serves as the chair of the College of Teachers, and coordinator of the CWS Foundation Studies program. Adam earned his BM in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2011, his Elementary Music Teacher Education certificate from Sunbridge in 2016 and his diploma from Sunbridge’s Elementary Teacher Education program in 2020. Adam has been involved in the Cincinnati creative community since 2009 as a recording and performing artist, business owner, and curator of live music performances.
Please see our faculty page for bios of our elementary program faculty under whom our music students also study.
This program is comprised of a three-week on-campus summer study, plus a one-week observation of an experienced Waldorf music teacher.
The required one-week observation of an experienced Waldorf music teacher will be arranged to take place at a mutually-convenient time and setting during the academic year following your summer intensive and must be completed by that June.
103C Child Development and Learning A fundamental course that provides a background for Waldorf Education. 22.5 hours
110C Inner Development A study of the anthroposophical path of inner development as related to the life of the teacher. 12.5 hours
137 Eurythmy 15 hours
138 Chorus and Recorder 15 hours
140 Observation Observe an experienced Waldorf music teacher for five full days in the following school year. 32.5 hours
152 Teaching Music A-G How to teach music in accordance with principles of Waldorf pedagogy. 52.5 hours
- The anthroposophical basis for learning music and why learning and acquiring musical skills supports healthy child development
- Creating a comprehensive music program grades 1-8
- Selecting repertoire: a core component of the music curriculum
- Working with vocal and instrumental ensembles in the upper grades: best practices, goals, strings programs, woodwinds/recorders, other instrumental options and chorus
- Addressing the challenges music teachers face in the classroom, including time management, classroom management, curriculum development, and lesson planning
- Developing a relationship to an ongoing practice of self-development and meditative work in support of teaching
Our Waldorf Elementary Music Teacher Education certificate program is designed for practicing Waldorf teachers who are experienced musicians or experienced musicians who wish to become Waldorf music teachers. Applicants must be proficient musicians (either instrumentalists or vocalists), be able to read music, and possess an understanding of music theory. A high school diploma is required for admission; a bachelor’s degree is not required.
The regular application deadline is June 1. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible, especially those individuals seeking financial aid. Applications submitted after June 1 are considered on a space-available basis.
- A completed application includes:
- Completed application form
- Current résumé
- A letter of recommendation (accompanied, if required, by a signed letter-of-recommendation form) sent from your recommender directly to the Sunbridge Institute Admissions Office
- If applicable, a transcript indicating the highest level of college credits/degree earned; otherwise, your high school diploma/transcript
- Non-refundable $50 application fee. Applications submitted after the June 1 deadline incur an additional $50 late fee.
If mailing any materials, please send to:
Sunbridge Institute Office of Admissions
285 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977
Once your application is complete, it will be forwarded to the program coordinator who will contact you to arrange a phone interview. Admissions decisions are sent out soon thereafter, on a rolling basis.
All applicants whose first language is not English or who have taken their prior education in a non-English-speaking college or university must demonstrate oral and written proficiency in English during the admissions process (through a hand written personal statement and phone conversation). Taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may be required.
Applications for the cohort entering July 2025 will be available October 1, 2024.
Contact our admissions office at [email protected] / 845-425-0055 x20.
In all of its dealings, including its admissions, educational, and employment practices, it is the policy of Sunbridge Institute, its Trustees, officers, employees and other duly authorized agents not to discriminate against any individual or group for reasons of race, color, creed, gender, age, culture, ethnicity, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or identification, or mental or physical disability.
Sunbridge Institute reserves the right to cancel or change any offering at any time and to make faculty or course substitutions when necessary.