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Launch Yourself
Jesse "Air" Ojanen (B.M. '18) takes flight during one of the Friday Music Education Forum sessions.

Music Education

Excellence as a musician is as important as having a strong theoretical and practical foundation in music education. Our carefully coordinated courses emphasize how to sequence instruction for students' musical development and incorporate ideas drawn from theory, research, and the practical experiences of the faculty and other successful practitioners.


EVENTS

Student bassists

Music Education Program

Music is a universal pleasure that everyone can enjoy. If we are lucky, we have opportunities throughout our life to learn about and appreciate music. Music education matters for a variety of reasons: playing and listening to music reduces our stress level, improves our brain health, builds social connections, and is just plain fun. This is where music educators come in: as a music educator, you can help various populations increase their involvement in music. Whether you end up working in an educational or community context, music education majors provide society with music’s essential beauty.

Student bassists
Students in graduate forum

What is Music Education?

Music education is the study of the teaching and learning music. Studying music education means that you are readying yourself for a satisfying and gratifying career in teaching music to others. For hundreds of years, music teachers have worked in a variety of contexts and experimented with best practices. This research has changed music education over time: the more we’ve learned about brain science and pedagogy, the better able we are to efficiently and effectively teach music.

Students in graduate forum
Students playing classroom instruments

Why Should I Go to School for Music Education?

If you are interested in teaching, it’s important to attain the proper credentials. Depending on your goals, a teaching license or other state-granted credential may be necessary. Even if you are interested in focusing on teaching private lessons, studying how to teach music will aid your career for years to come. Even if you have an idea of the context you’d like to work in, music education school may illuminate some career paths you previously didn’t have the chance to consider.

Music school also supports your development of a diverse and flexible skill set. As a music educator, it’s important to have an understanding of a wide variety of instruments. That being said, you will likely have a focus instrument. In combination, all of your musical skills will work together to create a superbly well-rounded knowledge base.

Students playing classroom instruments
Lake Osceola

What Should I Have Accomplished Before Applying to a Music Education program?

No music education program will expect you to have achieved complete mastery of your instrument. That being said, you will need to demonstrate that you’ve achieved some kind of musical foundation prior to your application. At a music school, you will continue to practice instruments, learn music theory and history, and, of course, study teaching.

Lake Osceola
Faculty with doctoral student

What Do Music Education Majors Learn?

  • Communication skills. In order to teach material, instructors need to be expert communicators. You will learn key ways to get your point across.
  • Instructional skills. Expert teachers understand psychology, brain science, and which instructional methods work best. A music education program teaches you to use research to the advantage of everyone in the classroom.
  • Musical theory. Understanding the theory behind what makes music work is a key part of learning and teaching music. All music teachers must have a solid understanding of theory. A music education program is a good place to build this foundation
  • Classroom management. Especially if you plan to work with young students, classroom management skills are imperative. Music education program have a repository of classroom management methods that you can learn and use.
Faculty with doctoral student
New Student Center at the University of Miami

What Does a Music Education Program Entail?

As you advance as a music education major, you will be teaching and learning at the same time. It is the recursive nature of an education program that makes it truly unique. Practicing your instrument helps you build a foundation for teaching others. In order to teach something, you have to understand it at a deep level. Music is no exception. Later on in your career, you may be required to manage a large group of musicians playing a wide variety of instruments. Or, you may be working with an ensemble in which the musicians possess a wide range of skill levels. How do you get a group to work together? As an educator, you cannot predict the variety of situations you will find yourself in. This is why a music education program seeks to create well-rounded graduates.

New Student Center at the University of Miami
Students celebrating graduation

What Kinds of Careers Do Music Education Majors Pursue?

Some music education majors work as music teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. Other music education majors work as private teachers, coaching individual students in private lessons. Some music education majors are interested in research components of the field, and go on to further higher education so that they can continue to work as educational researchers. Music education careers are as diverse as the individuals who have pursued them. As a music education applicant, you may be interested in approaching a program and asking them about what they graduates have gone on to achieve.

Students celebrating graduation
Umbrellas and fountain at the University of Miami

What Should I Look for in a Music Education Program?

A quality music education program first provides students with the skills and theoretical approaches they need to teach, then places students in teaching situations under supervision. In the field, students can practice what works for teaching and what doesn’t, and begin to develop their personal approach to pedagogy, informed by decades of research. When researching music education programs to apply to, it’s important to investigate what kinds of hands-on opportunities the program affords to its students.

Umbrellas and fountain at the University of Miami
Dr. Abril with graduate student

How Do I Find the Best Music Education Program for Me?

Learning how to teach requires having excellent teachers. In the music education field, the lineage of teachers—teaching and being taught—is visibly apparent. The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has an established music education program with a reputation for turning out excellent teachers. The Frost School is the only school that uses The Frost Method™, a collaborative, small-group approach. With a small cohort of peers, instructors facilitate teaching and learning in a personalized environment. At the Frost School, you will learn best practices for teaching from the very best teachers.

Dr. Abril with graduate student