While online master's degree programs in music aren't typically available, there are several online master's degree programs related to music, including music technology, music education and music therapy. These programs are often available entirely online, although some may have on-campus requirements such as on-campus classes, practices or internships .
Students generally are able to view recorded lectures and access course materials at a time convenient to them, within established deadlines. For many of these music courses, especially in the music technology program, students may need special software and recording equipment.
All of these programs require a bachelor's degree and previous training in music. Many music education programs only accept students who are licensed teachers and some programs require teaching experience as well. Most online master's degree programs in music therapy are designed for certified therapists seeking graduate training. Each program can be completed in 2 to 3 years.
Master's Degree in Music Technology
This program explores the production of music through computer-based, digital tools. Music technology studies focus on production using emerging multimedia tools and interactive design. Students apply digital technology to the conception and realization of music and related creative material, such as video and graphic arts.
Program Information and Requirements
Applicants must already hold a bachelor's degree and demonstrate previous training in music. With this program offered entirely online, students will need to provide their own instruments and recording tools. However, the school hosting the program may have such resources available for the student who can come to campus to get them.
Students must have access to high-speed Internet and a computer with audio and visual capabilities. Music technology programs may require students to download or purchase certain audio and multimedia production software. Instructors can be reached by phone or e-mail.
The online master's degree in music technology requires classes in theories and methods of modern music and multimedia production. Students have the opportunity to round out their degree with professionally useful electives in areas such as computer science, law, business or fine arts.
Music Production Foundations
Students are involved in the creation of music as a product from start to finish. This includes recording, mixing, mastering and design. This course provides an overview of the technical side of the music industry with the use of computer-based multimedia technology, authoring tools and languages, and industry-specialized software.
The digital sound course instructs students in the art of music composition using computerized multimedia applications.
Educational Multimedia Technology
This course instructs students in the innovation and use of multimedia technology for the classroom. Students learn to identify educational needs for multimedia and create instructional video, audio and graphic art.
Master's Degree in Music Education
These programs are intended for music educators in primary and secondary schools, but are useful to music teachers in higher levels of education. Students earn a Master of Music or Master of Arts. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree in music and may need to have previous teaching experience or state licensure. Other programs help students earn their state teaching certification.
Program Information and Requirements
Some online master's degree programs in music education are offered entirely online, while others are hybrid programs that require some instruction and practice on campus. Programs can be completed in 17-20 months.
Lectures are recorded and viewable online, so students need up-to-date visual and audio capabilities on their computers. Coursework is listed and submitted online. Students discuss class materials with instructors and fellow students through e-mail, online forums and instant messaging.
Music education programs combine teacher training with musical training in conducting, vocal performance, and instrument practice. Core classes are tailored specifically for music educators.
Music In Elementary School
This course covers topics and materials appropriate for different stages of elementary school music education. It includes instruction on how to build a curriculum for an elementary music program.
This course prepares teachers to teach voice at all levels, including as early as elementary school. Subjects include rehearsal techniques for individuals and large groups, voice classification and vocal group organization. The role of choral programs in music education is also discussed.
Music teachers learn to develop and run an instrumental music program in elementary, middle and high schools. Like the vocal instruction course, this course guides music teachers in rehearsal techniques for both individuals and groups.
Master's Degree in Music Therapy
Music therapy (also known as neurologic music therapy) helps clients achieve and maintain mental and physical health through the clinical benefits of music. A Master of Science in Music Therapy (MSMTh) is available online. Master of Music programs with a concentration in music therapy are also available as hybrid programs. Online music therapy programs are aimed at certified music therapists who wish to complete their graduate education on their own schedule. Some programs specialize in the use of music technology to collect and analyze data and utilize multimedia in therapy sessions. Programs can be completed in 2-3 years.
Program Information and Requirements
A music therapy program can be completed entirely online with no on-campus requirements. However, some schools offer master's degree programs with classes both online and on-campus, along with an internship. Applicants must already be certified in music therapy to be eligible for some online programs. Many hybrid programs allow students to enroll without previous licensure.
Lectures are viewable by streaming video. Instructors and other students can be reached by e-mail or through online discussion forums.
Students study the scientific basis of music therapy in courses about biopsychology and neuropsychology. Courses identify and address the diseases and conditions for which music therapy is effective. Some classes in the history of music and music theory are required.
Quantitative and Qualitative Data
Students learn how to design data collection and interpret quantitative and qualitative data for research. This course acquaints students with the technology and statistical methods available for interpreting results.
Scientific Foundation of Music in Medicine
This course surveys the available literature for the medical application of music therapy, including recent innovations and biomedical research. Advanced clinical practices are evaluated based on scientific evidence.
Clinical Applications of Neurological Music Therapy
This class teaches how to administer neurological music therapy (NMT) techniques. Students discover the specific benefits of NMT for sensorimotor, speech, pain, stimulation and cognitive issues.
A master's degree in music technology is appropriate for careers music production, composition, multimedia development, audio software design and music education.
Primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and performing arts companies have a need for music educators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), post-secondary music, art and drama educators earned an average annual wage of $76,710 in May 2015. In addition, teachers in elementary school, not counting those who work in special education, earned an average salary of $57,730, middle school instructors who didn't work in technical or special education earned $58,760 and high school teachers in the same fields averaged $60,440 annually.
Programs that do not require current licensure in music therapy prepare graduates to take a certification exam with the Certification Board for Music Therapy. Music therapy professionals are useful in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, special education institutions, nursing homes, pain management centers, day care centers for adults or children, schools and correctional facilities. According to PayScale.com, music therapists earn a median income of $40,295 per year as of 2016.
Earning a master's degree in music entirely online is possible with majors in music technology, music education or music therapy. Some in-person requirements may be required in such programs, such as internships or practices.