Master of Arts (MA): Music Education Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Music Education programs offer opportunities for teachers to develop as leaders and researchers in school settings. These programs are generally designed for experienced educators who currently hold initial licensure.

Essential Information

In addition to didactic education, students might complete seminars and independent research in music education as well as a thesis and internship. Master's degree candidates sometimes engage in workshops to develop an understanding of school environments and students' learning. Most programs require teachers to create a portfolio of work that reflects their progress throughout the program and identifies future goals. Some programs offer a concentration or emphasis in music therapy.

For admission, a bachelor's degree in a related field, teacher certification with some teaching experience, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and an instrument or vocal audition is often necessary.

Master's Degree in Music Education

Programs in music education commonly offer coursework that develops discipline, offers knowledge in music theory and teaches scholars how to enrich the lives of their students. They commonly expand on music philosophies and theories learned in undergraduate training and encourages teachers to build a sense of autonomy in the classroom. Course topics in a music education program can include:

  • Music literature
  • Music education history
  • Educational leadership
  • Instructional methodology
  • Curriculum assessment

Popular Career Options

Graduates with a Master of Arts in Music Education that demonstrate musical proficiency and classroom management, leadership and assessment skills can gain careers in education and music. Individuals could pursue such careers as:

  • Music educators
  • Musicians
  • Music therapists

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that employment of all kindergarten and elementary school teachers, including music teachers, is expected to grow by 3% between 2018 and 2028. Employment of secondary teachers is also only expected to rise by 4% during that period. Secondary teachers made an average salary of $64,340 in May 2018, though salary can vary widely by specialty area. At that same time, elementary teachers had an average salary of $62,200, per the BLS.

Continuing Education

Master's degree-holders could choose to pursue doctoral studies in music education or a related field. Some concentrations in a doctoral program include music therapy, composition, theater and performing arts. Doctorate programs in music education are heavily influenced by research and criticism in the field. With a doctoral degree, graduates can qualify for university-level teaching positions. Other career options include private training, conducting, composing or music therapy, depending on the scholastic area of focus.

Master's programs in music education are often designed for licensed teachers seeking career advancement. Research is the focus, and students may be asked to create a portfolio as part of the curriculum. Graduates could go on to pursue doctoral degrees in music-related fields.

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