Music education is all about teaching students how to listen to, understand, and create music. Music educators may specialize in particular areas of music, like singing, music history, or composition, but many music education students take a broad range of courses preparing them to instruct music courses of all types. Those with master’s degrees in music education should graduate ready to teach music in schools from Kindergarten to high school. They may also be qualified to teach at the university level. If you have a passion for music and are interested in an education degree, music education could be a great choice.
Why a Master’s Degree?
A master’s degree in music education will prepare students to teach music education at most levels. Graduates will have the appropriate degrees to teach in primary and secondary schools. They can also pursue positions at colleges and universities, because music professors and instructors at the college level need at minimum a master’s degree. Music education professors made an annual salary of $73,340 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).The wages for those with master’s degrees in music education may be higher than for those with bachelor’s degrees in music. For example, music directors or composers with at least bachelor’s degrees made around $45,970 per year.
Getting into a Master’s Degree Program
Most students will see that many of the requirements for acceptance to master’s programs are common across the board. While each school is different, here are some things you should expect to provide:
- A Bachelor’s degree in a related subject.
- GRE scores.
- A GPA that meets the minimum requirements put forth by the university.
- A personal statement.
- Academic and/or professional references.
Inside a Music Education Master’s Degree Program
Online masters music education programs can last anywhere from one to two years. A music education master’s program should follow bachelor’s work in education, preferably music education. Students will study all areas of music teaching, and they may also choose to specialize in one particular area. Coursework will include topics such as sheet music, composition, instruction methods for beginning musicians, voice work and song, music history, and music theory. Master’s students are usually required to perform quite a bit of research and critical writing, and they may also be required to finish a capstone research project at the end of the program.
Any online program should follow the same general academic structure as a traditional course. Students will start out taking classes in broader topics and move on to more specific and in-depth studies as they progress. They will attend class by looking at lecture slides or videos and they will correspond with classmates on discussion boards to re-hash what was covered in the lecture and make critical arguments. Online students have access to their courses 24/7, complete work on their own time, and take quizzes and tests online.
What’s Next for Music Education Master’s Degree Holders?
Graduates with online masters degree programs music education concentrations are very likely to go into teaching music at the K-12 or postgraduate level. According to the BLS, employment for college professors in the arts is projected to grow by only 2.2%, which means there should be high competition in these fields. Opportunities to teach in primary and secondary school are available for music education graduate degree holders, and they can also work as conductors for symphony orchestras.
According to the BLS, employment of music directors and composers is estimated to grow by 10% from 2010 to 2020. This is around the national average for all professions. At the master’s degree level, there are still educational opportunities for students who wish to get their doctoral degree in a related subject.