Graduate programs in music education train students in both music and teaching and provide a broad overview of current issues in education. Several degree options are available, including a Master of Arts and Master of Music; the programs are quite similar in curricula and structure. Over the course of these programs, students learn about classroom management and curriculum development for music class levels between kindergarten and high school. Specialization options include choral music and instrumental music.
Most master's degree programs are flexible and can be completed in one to three years. Currently licensed teachers may pursue their graduate degrees on campus or online, but those without certification generally must enroll in classroom-based programs. To gain admittance to music education master's degree programs, students must hold a bachelor's degree in music and pass an audition process. Some programs may require previous teaching experience.
Master's in Music Education
Students in these programs should expect to take a combination of lecture and practical coursework, and may need to complete a thesis. Possible course topics in master's degree programs include:
- Philosophy of music education
- Curriculum development
- Choral conducting
- Instrumental conducting
- Music history and theory
- Music education research
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment for kindergarten and elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 3% between 2018 and 2028; this growth was expected because of increases in student enrollment. The BLS projected the same employment growth for middle and high school teachers. The mean annual wage for high school and middle school teachers was $60,440 and $62,030, respectively, in 2018. In the same year, elementary teachers made a mean annual wage of $62,200.
Doctoral degree programs in music education are readily available. Some programs focus on practitioner training, which generally leads to a Doctor of Education, while others focus on scholarly training in the field and lead to a Doctor of Philosophy.
A music education master's degree program offers current and aspiring music teachers the opportunity to study music theory and performance alongside techniques for providing effective instruction in elementary, middle or high school music classes.