Music education degree student

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music Education

Love music and teaching? Earning a B.A. in music education is a great choice, whether you want to teach children in a K-12 school environment or give private music lessons for children and adults.

According to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), children experience a number of important benefits from music education, such as:

  • Building language and reasoning skills
  • Mastering memorization
  • Improving hand-eye coordination and motor skills
  • Developing stronger interest and engagement in academic life
  • Encouraging intellectual curiosity and an expanded imagination
  • Fostering self-discipline required to practice and improve personal performance
  • Boosting teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Forging greater self-confidence

In many cases, adults can experience some of the same benefits.

Why choose the B.A. in music at Marian?

Teach students of all ages and backgrounds to appreciate the power and magic of music!

As a B.A. in music education student at Marian, you will gain the deep knowledge and broad perspectives you need to teach students about all aspects of music. You will choose one of two tracks on which to focus your studies:

  1. Vocal music education
  2. Instrumental music education

Whether your interest lies in vocal or instrumental music education, you’ll study the latest teaching tools, technologies, and best practices for music education.

You will explore a full range of historical, cultural, and technological influences on music and music education. In addition, you’ll develop the experience and skills you need to inform, guide, and encourage K-12 children as they blossom intellectually, creatively, socially, and emotionally through vocal and/or instrumental music.

Specifically, you will:

  • Gain broad knowledge of music history, theory, composition, performance, and other subjects
  • Explore the educational needs and learning styles of elementary, middle, and high school students
  • Take coursework need to successfully pursue teaching licensure in the State of Indiana

What makes our program unique?

Here are a few things that make Marian’s B.A. in music education a great choice for future music teachers:

  • We offer a high-impact, experiential curriculum that provides you with broad insights and perspectives into today’s K-12 educational environment.
  • You may be eligible for generous, annually renewable music scholarships, like our talent-based fine arts awards for instrumental or vocal performance as well as scholarships for participating in the marching band, jazz band, color guard, and other ensembles. Auditions may be required.
  • Some music education degree students at Marian are interested in sacred music. If you want to teach in a private parochial school that’s affiliated with a church or religious organization, consider pursuing a double-major, academic minor, or concentration in a field like theology, pastoral leadership, pastoral music ministry, philosophy, religious education, Catholic studies, or faith-based teaching.
  • We have partnerships K-12 schools throughout Indianapolis and central Indiana where you’ll gain student teaching and field experience. In addition, we have relationships with Drum Corps International, Music for All, Percussive Arts Society, and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, among others, where you may be able to pursue internships or employment opportunities before or after graduation.
  • Our music education classes are taught by experienced faculty, not graduate students. Class sizes are small, averaging 13 students to every one faculty member. You’ll build close relationships with your professors and peers.
  • Marian University’s music program is delivered in a supportive, creative, and encouraging learning environment that emphasizes practical, applied music education skills.
  • You’ll complete coursework that is academically challenging, but you’ll have access campus resources designed to help you excel, including the Writing Center, Speaking Studio, peer tutoring, and career development programs and services.

What will you study?

The 128-credit B.A. in music education major requirements include general education, elective, required, and core music courses.

You will complete courses that provide you with a broad understanding of music history, culture, and literature. Depending on whether you choose instrumental or vocal music education as your area of emphasis, you will also explore a range of special topics.

As an incoming freshman or transfer student, you are considered a pre-music major until you’ve successfully completed our required fourth-semester qualifying exam to evaluate your musical skills, knowledge of music theory, and keyboarding proficiency on piano.

After passing the qualifying exam, you’ll formally be recognized as a music education major and proceed with upper-level coursework.

Examples of courses you may complete include:

  • EDU 122: Intro to Teaching Music
  • EDU 322: Elementary Music Methods
  • EDU 325: Teaching in a Diverse World
  • EDU 327: Secondary Music Methods
  • EDU 353: Literacy in the Fine Arts
  • EDU 446: Creating Positive Classroom Environments
  • EDU 473: Clinical Internship (student teaching)
  • EDU 491: Clinical Internship Senior Seminar
  • MUS 125: Theory I
  • MUS 226: Vocal Pedagogy
  • MUS 251: Music Technology
  • MUS 328: Instrumental/Choral Arranging
  • MUS 340: Music of World Cultures
  • MUS 348: Music History I
  • MUS 490: Music Seminar
  • MUL 225: Class Piano III

Vocal Music Education sample four year plan (pdf) Instrumental Music Education sample four year plan (pdf)

As an incoming freshman or transfer student, you are considered a pre-music major until you’ve successfully completed our required fourth-semester qualifying exam to evaluate your musical skills, knowledge of music theory, and keyboarding proficiency on piano.

After passing the qualifying exam, you’ll formally be recognized as a music major and proceed with upper-division music courses, private lessons, and required on- and off-campus recitals.

If you specialize in instrumental music, you will complete at least eight credits of private lessons with instructors who specialize in all major instrument types, including:

  • Brass
  • Guitar
  • Keyboard (piano, organ, and harpsichord)
  • Percussion
  • Strings (violin, viola, cello, bass, and harp)
  • Woodwinds

You will also complete required participation as a member of our concert band, jazz band, chamber ensemble, percussion ensemble, marching band, basketball band, drumline, show choir, sacred choir, and/or acapella vocal group. Auditions may be required.

What are your career paths?

With a music education degree, you have a range of career options.

Many graduates combine full-time music teaching with performing as a professional singer, musician, music director, or songwriter/composer, resulting in multiple income streams.

  • Most music education majors at Marian want to teach children and teens in elementary, middle, or high school settings, although some want to work as private music teachers who give lessons and instruction from a studio.
  • If you plan to teach in a public or private K-12 school, you and your advisor will work closely in order to ensure you are prepared to meet Indiana Department of Education’s standards for obtaining a state teaching license in instrumental and general music.
  • If you specialize in vocal music education, you will be prepared to pursue employment as a choir director or vocal coach in educational, church, or performing arts organizations.
  • With an instrumental music education focus, you’ll take coursework that prepares you for employment as a band or music director in a school, religious, civic/community, or arts and cultural settings.

The job outlook for college graduates with music degrees is good, with an expected job growth of six percent (as fast as average compared to other careers) according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupation Growth through 2026  Median 2017 salary 
Art, drama, and music teacher (post-secondary) 2.1 percent $66,930
Musician or singer  6 percent  $56,076
Music director and composer 6 percent  $50,590 
Elementary school teacher 7 percent  $56,900
Middle school teacher 8 percent $57,720
High school teacher  8 percent $59,170
Producer and director  12 percent  $71,620 

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