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Music Teacher Education

Program Description

Just the Facts

Music Teacher Education. A program that prepares individuals to teach music and music appreciation programs at various educational levels.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Clefs, staves, half notes, semitones, rests. These are just a few of the terms music education majors will need to know.

Some undergraduate programs combine classes in the areas of music and education. In other places, you must earn a degree in music, then take another degree in education.

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in music education will be able to teach music at the elementary or secondary level. It may take between three and five years to complete this program.

Those who want to teach in colleges and universities may need a graduate degree. Associate's degrees in music education are also available.

Being musically gifted will help you in the audition that is usually part of the admission process. But you'll also need good grades, says James Mark. He is a professor of music.

"While musical talent is obviously of great importance to us in evaluating applicants, good marks in high school, no matter what area, are of great interest to us, because they demonstrate good study habits, self-discipline and perseverance, all of which ensure success in a university music degree program."

Kansas State University (KSU) has a bachelor of music education program. Most of the university's music majors choose to specialize in this field.

"Experience in performing groups such as choir, orchestra and band is helpful," says Jana Fallin, who chairs KSU's music education department. "And work with theory courses, if available, is most helpful. Piano skills can really help a student with theory in college also."

It's a good idea to get private lessons, if needed, so you develop your skills in one or two instruments of your choice. Your favorite instrument could be your voice. Piano skills are often necessary.

KSU's music department says students need to have a basic understanding of music before admission. Students should have been exposed to scales (major and minor), key signatures, intervals and chord types.

You'll also need to be familiar with rhythmic values in triple, compound and mixed meters, tempo marks and figured bass symbols for triads and seventh chords. In short, take as many high school music courses as you can.

Train your ear musically. Students may spend a lot of time perfecting their performance skills, but their ear also needs to be highly developed. There are computer programs that can help students in ear training.

You need certification in order to teach. Most programs will prepare you to meet these certification requirements.

Most music education programs include a practicum. That provides some classroom teaching experience to students.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Teachers -- Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and Secondary

National Association of Schools of Music
Find an accredited music school near you

National Association for Music Education
Addresses all aspects of music education and provides resources for students, teachers, parents

How Music Royalties Work
Learn how it all works from the folks at HowStuffWorks


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