Alumna Annelies Harmon Completes Master of Music Education

Congratulations to Annelies Harmon (’13) on completing her master’s degree in Music Education! Harmon graduated from MBU with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and, following the advice of Maranatha faculty, gained several years of teaching experience before pursuing graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

While a student at MBU, Harmon completed her semester of student teaching at her high school alma mater, Fourth Baptist Christian School of Plymouth, MN. Following her internship, she began teaching private music lessons, general music, and elementary chimes at the school. Throughout the years she added elementary choir, a junior and senior high handbell group, vocal coaching, accompanying, and elementary Spanish to her teaching position. Despite her busy schedule, Harmon is never too busy to see the eternal rewards of her ministry: “It has been a joy to see God’s work in students’ lives as they grow through our K-12 school.”

Graduate school has always been on Harmon’s radar: “Several Maranatha professors advised education majors to gain a few years of teaching experience before pursuing graduate studies. In so doing, we would gain a deeper appreciation for our field and knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses.” After teaching for 3 years, she began graduate school at the University of St. Thomas in 2016.

The capstone of Harmon’s music education program at St. Thomas was her final project: Praise Him All Ye Little Children: A Kindergarten through Fourth-Grade Christian School Kodály Curriculum with U.S. Heritage Hymn Incorporation. Harmon explains her burden for this particular topic: “The spring before my final grad school year, an accreditation team visited my school. Unfortunately, they did not observe my classroom during their time with us. I realized that many in the educational field do not know or understand the importance of music education and its place in the Bible. If they do understand its importance, they do not necessarily know what a quality music education program should look like in a Christian school setting. Furthermore, Christian school music teachers lack curricular resources from a biblical point of view. For these reasons, I felt a desire to combine my training in the Kodály Method with Biblical truth to create a miniature curriculum.” Her final project includes “a biblical philosophy of music and music education, a brief history behind American hymns, a brief explanation of the Kodály Method, 60 analyzed hymns, a sample scope and sequence, and 5 sample lesson plans.” Harmon’s vision is far bigger than simply completing a degree requirement: “This project is the seed of what could one day become a Christian school curriculum.”

When asked about the top lessons she learned while pursuing her degree, Harmon responds, “I learned to love and pursue lifelong learning. God has placed endless lessons in this world for us to learn, and He reveals truths to us if we are willing to dig for those truths. Secondly, I learned that it is important to be open to learning from others and contribute to others’ learning. My colleagues and professors taught me a great deal through their varied teaching experiences.”

Harmon especially notes an influence of Maranatha’s music program and faculty on her time in grad school: “Maranatha’s music program gave me an excellent music foundation for grad school. As I took entrance exams, many fellow colleagues struggled to pass these tests the first time. Thanks to Dr. Brown, Dr. Clater, and Dr. Ledgerwood’s theory and music history classes, I was able to confidently pass these exams. Dr. Townsend’s and Miss Tschida’s music education classes helped me discuss pedagogy topics and introduce some Music Learning Theory concepts with colleagues in classes. I am thankful for their influence on my life.”

Harmon plans to use her degree to continue teaching music at Fourth Baptist for as long as the Lord allows. “This degree has exponentially grown me as a person and an educator,” she reflects. “I have gained wonderful connections to continue professional development and have seen a difference in my classroom as students learn and grow from tools I gained. There is something special and impactful about forming relationships with students from their youngest to their senior years.”

Written by Makayla Stevenson