Clefs, staves, half notes, semitones, rests. These are just a few of the
terms music education majors will need to know.
Some undergraduate programs combine classes in the areas of music and
education. In other places, you must earn a degree in music, then take
another degree in education.
Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in music education will
be able to teach music at the elementary or secondary level. It may take between
three and five years to complete this program.
Those who want to teach in colleges and universities may need a graduate
degree. Associate's degrees in music education are also available.
Being musically gifted will help you in the audition that is usually
part of the admission process. But you'll also need good grades, says
James Mark. He is a professor of music.
"While musical talent is obviously of great importance to us in evaluating
applicants, good marks in high school, no matter what area, are of great interest
to us, because they demonstrate good study habits, self-discipline and perseverance,
all of which ensure success in a university music degree program."
Kansas State University (KSU) has a bachelor of music education program.
Most of the university's music majors choose to specialize in this field.
"Experience in performing groups such as choir, orchestra and band is
helpful," says Jana Fallin, who chairs KSU's music education department.
"And work with theory courses, if available, is most helpful. Piano skills
can really help a student with theory in college also."
It's a good idea to get private lessons, if needed, so you develop
your skills in one or two instruments of your choice. Your favorite instrument
could be your voice. Piano skills are often necessary.
KSU's music department says students need to have a basic understanding
of music before admission. Students should have been exposed to scales
(major and minor), key signatures, intervals and chord types.
You'll also need to be familiar with rhythmic values in triple, compound
and mixed meters, tempo marks and figured bass symbols for triads and seventh
chords. In short, take as many high school music courses as you can.
Train your ear musically. Students may spend a lot of time perfecting
their performance skills, but their ear also needs to be highly developed.
There are computer programs that can help students in ear training.
You need certification in order to teach. Most programs will prepare you
to meet these certification requirements.
Most music education programs include a practicum. That provides
some classroom teaching experience to students.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Teachers
-- Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and Secondary
National Association of Schools of Music
Find an accredited music school near you
National Association for Music Education
Addresses all aspects of music education and provides resources
for students, teachers, parents
How Music Royalties Work
Learn how it all works from the folks at HowStuffWorks