Field Experience Instructions

General Information

The intent of field experience is to familiarize students with real-world examples of how methods course content is applicable to day-to-day teaching practice. Students will log a total of ten (10) hours of observation and/or teaching at local middle/high school and/or elementary grade levels.

Who Participates in Field Experience?  Music Education Students Who:

  • Have passed the MTEC exam

  • Have been admitted to the music education program

  • Are enrolled in 400 level Methods courses and/or certain 300 level Education courses

Field Experience Registration is a two-step process. 

Step One

  1. Go to this link and complete the Field Experience Preference Request.

  2. The teacher you requested will then be contacted by a GMU faculty member, who will request approval for your placement (students are NOT ALLOWED contact public school teachers, building administrators, or central office personnel for placement.)

  3. You will receive a confirmation email once the field experience teacher has agreed.

Keep in mind that your field experience preference needs to be collected in this fashion, as the Director of Music Education is required to submit this information directly to the CEHD prior to February 15th.  If you do not have a field experience preference, (a) the music education faculty can recommend a placement or (b) a clinical practice specialist at the CHED can arrange a placement for you.

Step Two

Complete the field experience request form (FERF), which is now open at so students should begin submitting their placement requests as soon as possible. All students completing field experience are required to submit the online FERF form. The deadline is February 15; no requests for classes beginning January 21 will be accepted after that date.

Some Points to Keep in Mind:

  • Students are placed in the order in which their placement is received. The Clinical Practice Coordinator receives between 200-300 placement requests per semester.

  • When submitting their form, students should include all classes that require field experience this semester. The form can only be submitted once.

  • Students will receive an automatic confirmation email after submitting their form. If a student does not receive a confirmation, there was an error during submission. They should try to resubmit the form and if they continue to experience issues, they should reach out to .

  • All communications are sent to students’ Mason email addresses. Students should check their email frequently, including junk/spam folders.

  • Students are required to complete fingerprinting and a background check before they can be cleared to begin their field experience so students should request their placements as quickly as possible. Please note that only students placed in Fairfax County Public Schools receive badges.

  • Students must completely disclose any and all incidents on their record at the time the background check is conducted.  Failure to disclose even minor infractions is cause for a school division to deny placement.

  • Location preferences are not guaranteed.  Students with travel restrictions or without transportation should note this on their FERF by checking the limited transportation option.

  • Grade level and other educational setting preferences are not guaranteed unless they are specified by the instructor in the course/assignment.

  • Students are not allowed contact public school teachers, building administrators, or central office personnel for placement.

  • The only students who are allowed to place themselves are full-time contracted teachers.  Long-term substitutes and instructional assistants with questions should contact the Clinical Practice Coordinator at to discuss their situation.

If students have questions regarding the placement process, please ask them to contact the Clinical Practice Coordinator at