FAIRFIELD, Connecticut — The Isabelle Farrington College of Education (FCE) at Sacred Heart University has welcomed Frank Martignetti, an experienced music teacher, conductor and organist, to its faculty as assistant professor and director of the new program SHU Music Education.
The 42-credit graduate program will begin in the summer. Applicants who have an undergraduate degree in music and wish to become teachers are welcome to apply. Undergraduate music majors at the Sacré-Coeur will complete both the new BA and MAT degrees, as well as a minor in music education as part of SHU’s five-year education program.
The program will provide students with the skills and knowledge to successfully teach the diverse field of music to all students. “Our goal is a vibrant community of music education students who graduate with the finest and most forward-thinking training in the profession, informed by significant experience in local school districts.” said Martignetti.
Martignetti is a New Rochelle, NY, native and current Fairfield resident. He has spent the past 22 years teaching and playing music professionally.
He traced his love for music back to his music teacher in kindergarten. “She made me sing and make music,” Martignetti said. “She changed my life.”
He started taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and sang in church and school choir groups throughout his life. Martignetti began working professionally as a church organist and choir director, as well as a music director for community theater productions, at the end of his high school years.
Throughout high school, Martignetti performed in choral and theatrical productions. Reflecting on a career, his thoughts kept returning to music education. “I was mostly clear that I wanted to become a music teacher,” he said. “I had no interest in trying to become a concert pianist or playing full time.”
Martignetti received a BA in History from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, and in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He said Eastman had a profound impact on him, due to the remarkable level of students and faculty, and the mentorship he received there. “It was a truly transformative place,” said Martignetti.
After graduation he worked as a music teacher in Rochester before moving to Ohio to earn his Masters in Choral Conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. After graduating, he returned to the East Coast and worked as a high school music teacher.
While pursuing his own career as a music educator, he served as a part-time choir director and music director at several churches, including the Webster Presbyterian Church in Rochester, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church in Cincinnati, the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bridgeport and Advent. Lutheran Church in New York. He is currently director of music at the First Church Congregational in Fairfield.
“I really appreciate the solid singing of the congregation,” Martignetti said. “As a conductor, I love helping people develop their vocal and musical skills. In church music, we work with 2,000 years of amazing music to support prayer. At so many key moments in life, from funerals to weddings, music accompanies people during the important moments in their lives, ”said Martignetti.
As a conductor, Martignetti was artistic director of the Mystic River Chorale in Mystic for 13 years. Under his leadership, the Choir forged partnerships with high schools, received its first scholarships, and performed a variety of choral music, with and without an orchestra.
He said he is passionate about choral music and enjoys programming music from the Renaissance to the present day to engage both the audience and the choir.
If music is a passion for Martignetti, so too is the collaboration that makes it possible to refine a performance. “I worked with all age groups, different classes and ensembles, and I quickly realized that I preferred these situations to one-on-one private lessons. I really appreciate the group dynamic, ”he said.
Passed to college
After more than a decade of teaching high school students, Martignetti moved on to college education and found it so rewarding that he went to New York University for his doctorate. “It was truly a great leap of faith,” he said. “I went from being a full teacher with a stable job and salary to being a student again. But it was really my dream, my passion and my hope to teach full time at the college level.
His dream has come true. He led the Music Education Program at Bridgeport University for nine years, as well as, ultimately, the entire Music and Performing Arts Department, learning a lot about how to build and maintain a successful program. . Drawing on his own education, experience and skills, he was prepared for his new role at SHU. He wrote the curriculum for the new program, is currently working on recruiting, facilities, equipment and personnel, and looks forward to welcoming the first cohort of students in 2022.
“It’s a real gift to bring a new major to life,” said Martignetti, who works closely with Joe Carter, longtime faculty member and director of SHU’s undergraduate music program, and Keith Johnston, group and orchestra director. “I can’t wait for music education to become a vibrant and buzzing part of SHU.”
He said he looks forward to his graduate students watching the excellent music programs of area school districts and working with SHU ensembles. He is also looking forward to continuing his longstanding work with the schools of Bridgeport. “Most of my K-12 teaching and research experience takes place in urban school districts, which I care deeply about,” he said. Its students will have the opportunity to learn and support the neighboring school district through the Bridgeport Teacher Residency.
Martignetti’s current research uses case studies and ethnographic approaches to study music education in urban public schools, and also explores innovation in the undergraduate music curriculum. His writings have been published in the Choral Journal, the Journal of Music Teachers, the Journal of Popular Music Education, Visions of Research in Music Education and by Oxford University Press.
“In this new role at SHU, I can connect all my passions: music, collaboration and urban education,” he said.
Michael Alfano, Dean of FCE and Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships, called Martignetti a talented musician and passionate music teacher. “Our students will love working with him. We’re incredibly lucky to have him here at Farrington College of Education, and I can’t wait to see where he takes our new music education program in the days to come, ”Alfano said.
For more information, visit the Music Education Program webpage.