Majoring in Music Education

by Fitzalan Gorman, Demand Media

Majoring in music education is a solid academic choice if you want to be a music teacher. Graduates with a music education degree can teach elementary and secondary school music classes, orchestra, band and chorale. Music education is a diverse program that combines musical skills, classroom skills and live performance in one degree. At many schools, students choose between vocal or instrumental concentrations.


Depending on your university, your music department may offer anything from an associate’s degree to a doctoral degree in music education. An associate's degree enables you to teach music at some private schools and preschools. If you receive your teacher’s license after receiving your bachelor’s degree, you can teach music at a public school. A master’s or doctoral degree allows you to teach music at the college level.

Common Course Work

When working toward your music education degree, you can expect to take a range of music-related courses along with teaching courses. For example, at Indiana University, required music education classes include Introduction to Music Learning, Freshman Colloquium in Music Education, General Music Methods K-12, Teaching Music through Performance and Topics in Music Education and Pedagogy. Your coursework may also feature classical music theory and methods.

Choral Music Education

Choral music education is designed for singers or pianists who want to specialize their training in teaching general music and choral singing at an elementary, middle or high school. To be accepted into this program, students usually must show a competence in voice or piano. While in the music education program, students usually are advised to participate in a choral or instrumental group.

Instrumental Music Education

A major in instrumental music education is designed for musicians who want to teach instrumental music at an elementary, middle or high school. Applicants typically need to have extensive training in at least one instrument, along with experience playing with a band or orchestra, to be accepted to a music education program. While in this program, students are typically advised to perform with a band or orchestra.

Necessary Skills

Students pursuing a career in music education need to be patient, creative and upbeat. Studying music can be a frustrating and tedious experience for some young musicians, and you will need to inspire your students. The majority of music teachers are accomplished musicians themselves.

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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