Today’s university students and, by extension, music education students do not always fit the set of characteristics typically displayed by undergraduate students, differing in at least one, if not several, key areas. Often described via the blanket term “nontraditional students” (NTS), this diverse group represents a growing component of the overall population of preservice teachers. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of 5 NTS enrolled in music teacher preparation programs at two different public universities, one located on the West Coast and the other on the East Coast of the United States. Research questions included: (a) What factors motivate NTS to enter traditional preservice music teacher education programs? and (b) How do NTS describe their experiences within traditional undergraduate music education programs? The findings are consistent with past research indicating that the experiences of NTS are different from those of traditional-age undergraduate music education students and that NTS may bring additional assets, such as a depth of prior work/life experience, greater self-confidence, and an enhanced motivation to learn.

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