Since its inception, the philosophy of VanderCook College of Music has been pragmatic. Policies at every level within the institution reflect the fact that, upon program completion, the VanderCook graduate will be prepared to work effectively within the context of the public school music program.
Our practical orientation rests upon the work of the founders of VanderCook College of Music, Hale A. VanderCook and Hubert E. Nutt. Their work was influenced by John Dewey and characterized by its practicality, precision, and belief in the potential of every human being to learn and experience music.
Influenced by contemporary thinking in music education, the College's philosophy has expanded to incorporate a broader vision of the music experience, one in which the right of every child to high quality music education is realized.
VanderCook and Nutt built their approach to music teaching and learning based upon an analysis of excellent musicianship and assessment of their own theories and methodologies with children. They placed musical expression at the core of musical learning, explicitly addressed as one develops competence in conducting, teaching, performing, composing and arranging.
VanderCook's faculty make up an impressive profile in the field of music and music education. As accomplished teachers, performers, composers, and arrangers, they provide both practical and innovative instruction.
The philosophy and curricula continues to be rooted in teaching the fundamentals that enable candidates to grow as musicians and teachers. "For a teacher to be able to impart knowlege, he must be able to lay out this knowledge in a systematic manner and so design it in such a way that the student could grow in his abilities."