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Music Education

The Breakdown

It inspires. It moves. It transcends. And sometimes, it simply makes you want to shake your booty. Indeed, music is a very powerful and moving art form. It nourishes and sustains us and provides a great outlet and release. As a music teacher, you’ll have the privilege of fostering a new generation of artists and listeners. You’ll help your students delve deeper into this art and in turn, learn more about themselves and the world around them.

Music education often feels very interdisciplinary as the requirements typically touch upon a variety of fields. Many programs incorporate history, literature and, of course, education methods and practices. You will become well versed in all aspects of music from history and theory, to pedagogy and performance. Additionally, some schools might have you select an area in which to specialize like vocal music, instrumental music (perhaps with a brass, woodwinds or percussion focus) or piano. A number of universities will likely require participation in a musical ensemble as well. Your education will culminate with a student teaching practicum, giving you an opportunity to fully experience life inside the classroom. Finally, most programs will prepare you for state certification licensure.

Obviously, it’s important that majors have a great ear and innate aptitude for music, along with a sense of timing and rhythm. Strong communication skills and patience are also essential. Perhaps even more important, however, is your ability to inspire your students’ own talents and creativity through your passion for music.

Nuts and Bolts

So, you want to know what you’ll really be delving into as a music education major? Should you choose this route, your schedule could include any one of these classes: Elementary Classroom Methods, Arranging for Secondary Vocal Ensemble, Music, the Brain and Learning, Methods and Materials for Marching Band, Survey of Instrumental Literature, Instrument Repair, Keyboard Harmony, Fundamentals of Conducting and Woodwinds Practicum.

Decisions, Decisions

Music education majors are also likely to consider music theory, music history, ethnomusicology, performance studies, conducting, music therapy, psychology, voice, jazz studies, education, anthropology or art history as a course of study.

What's Next

We all recognize majoring in education can lead you directly into the classroom. And many ed majors sustain satisfying teaching careers over the course of their professional life. As you’re also no doubt aware, some translate classroom experience into administrative positions and become principals, vice principals, guidance counselors, etc. However, others find a passion for policy work and land jobs at non-profits, think tanks and various departments of education. Additionally, some majors take advantage of their extensive knowledge of child development and education and seek employment with companies that create products and entertainment for children. Still others combine their studies with a passion for other cultures and look for work involving international education, be it study abroad or development in third world countries.


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Don Munce