Online Master’s in Music Education Programs 2021

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Music education builds more than just an appreciation for the arts: Studies show that proper music education can enhance language capabilities, improve memory, and develop better study habits. For music lovers interested in teaching, a music education degree offers the fastest career path for a music teacher or educator in K-12 schools.

Along with rewarding work, music education offers competitive salary levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that music directors and composers earn an annual median salary of $51,670, while art, drama, and music teachers earn an annual median wage of $69,530.

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Master's in Music Education: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What can you do with a music education degree?

    A music education degree prepares graduates for careers including middle or high school music teacher, band director, music director, and community college instructor.

  • Q. Is a music education degree worth it?

    A music education degree offers varied career opportunities and enables graduates to earn a living related to music, making the degree a practical choice for many musicians.

  • Q. Are music teachers in demand?

    The BLS projects jobs for middle and high school teachers to increase 4% from 2019-2029, keeping pace with the national average.

  • Q. Can you get a music degree online?

    Many colleges offer online music education degrees. Although, candidates may need to complete teaching and other experiential learning opportunities in person at K-12 schools.

Why Get a Degree in Music Education?

A music education degree helps build advanced knowledge in music pedagogy, preparing graduates to teach music and lead school bands at the K-12 level. While not required to teach at K-12 schools, a master’s degree in music education can help teachers stand out for more competitive jobs with higher salary potential.

Many colleges offer online music education degrees, which give students the flexibility to maintain their current career while pursuing an advanced education. These programs commonly combine online courses with in-person teaching and other experiential learning opportunities. Online programs may also offer more affordable tuition rates.

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How Much Does a Music Education Degree Cost?

As with any graduate program, the cost of a music education degree varies among schools and programs. However, the average U.S. student pays around $30,000-$40,000 for a master’s degree. Tuition rates at private colleges generally run much higher than public colleges, but some schools offer online learners discounted tuition rates. Public schools may also offer a reduced in-state tuition rate to online students regardless of residency.

An online music education degree can help learners avoid common expenses associated with college. Online learners may even eliminate or greatly reduce expenses like relocation, transportation, parking, and childcare. The most flexible online programs also enable students to maintain full-time employment while earning a degree, which greatly affects budgeting for higher education.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

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How Much Do Music Education Majors Make?

Music education commonly prepares graduates for careers in K-12 education.The BLS reports that middle school teachers earn a $59,660 annual median salary, while high school teachers earn an annual median salary of $61,660. However, earning a master’s may increase average salary levels, as many schools pay higher wages to teachers with advanced degrees. Teachers can also obtain professional certifications to increase their career prospects and salary potential.

While most music education graduates pursue careers as K-12 teachers or band directors, they may also find work as postsecondary teachers instructing music courses at community colleges. The BLS reports teachers at junior colleges earn an annual median salary between $61,430-$82,850. Other possible career paths include music director, earning an annual median salary of $51,670, and music performer or singer.

Courses in Music Education

A master’s degree in music education emphasizes music history, pedagogical approaches to music education, and the use of research to inform teaching practice. Most music education degrees include a significant experiential component enabling students to apply program learning to teaching practice in a professional education environment. Many programs also include a culminating requirement such as a capstone or thesis, which requires students to research and address an issue in contemporary music education.

This list highlights three common courses found in music education degrees. While exact course titles and content may vary, these topics typically appear in music education curriculum models.

  • History and Philosophy of Music Education

    Music education dates back to ancient Greece, and this course encourages students to examine the historical role and function of music in general education practice. Students receive an overview of the history of music education, exploring the philosophical and pedagogical foundations that inform the field.

  • Music Education Research

    Research plays an important role in the development, practice, and assessment of music education programs. This course introduces students to research methods and strategies for assessing research literature. Students can also explore research design techniques and methods in application to action research studies, capstone projects, or thesis projects.

  • Psychology and Sociology in Music Education

    This course highlights the social and psychological principles of human interactions with music and music education. Students explore various modes of interaction with music, including performance, composition, listening, and teaching. The course may also explore broad psychological and sociological concepts related to classroom teaching, such as group dynamics.

Certifications and Licensure for Music Education

Professional licensure and certifications demonstrate widely applicable proficiencies and competencies in the music education field. Many positions require these credentials, particularly for teaching. Other certifications help music educators pursue more advanced positions or earn higher salary levels. This list highlights two popular certifications along with a certificate for music education professionals.

Serving music teachers nationwide, MTNA offers certification credentials for teaching performance in areas including piano, violin, flute, and voice. Certification applicants teaching at the K-12 level submit a series of five projects related to their teaching philosophy, education assessment skills, teaching practice, studio ethics, and teaching environment. All U.S states require teachers to hold state certification to teach music at public K-12 schools. Certification requirements vary among states, but all teachers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Many states offer a general K-12 music education credential, though some require specific certifications to teach vocal or instrumental music. The Boston Conservatory at Berklee offers a specialized graduate certificate in music education and autism, training music teachers to work with special needs students. The certificate focuses on teaching strategies with a background in autism and special needs-related studies.

Scholarships for Music Education

Scholarships offer financial support for college that never requires repayment, making them one of the most popular financial aid options. Some scholarships serve applicants pursuing a specific career path, while others serve students of specific backgrounds. This list highlights three popular scholarships for online music education degree candidates.

  • Dr. Robert Hawkins Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The John Philip Sousa Foundation offers this scholarship to students pursuing a degree in instrumental/band music education and planning to become band directors after graduation.

    Amount: $2,000

    Explore Here

  • Great Value Colleges Music Scholarship for Black Students

    Who Can Apply: Great Value Colleges offers this scholarship to Black students pursuing music programs at the undergraduate or graduate level. Applicants must submit a short written or video essay.

    Amount: $5,000

    Explore Here

  • Against the Grain Artistic Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Against the Grain Productions offers this scholarship to Asian or Pacific Islander students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs in the arts (including music).

    Amount: $1,000

    Explore Here

Online Master’s in Music Education Programs 2021

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  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    UF is a public university in Gainesville. The school's online master's in music education helps music teachers improve their performance and teaching skills. The curriculum covers musical study and teaching methods. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

    UF's program includes foundational courses on music education and musicology. Students complete specialized classes covering music assessment and learning technologies. Enrollees can complete the 33 required credits in 24 months.

    Applicants qualify for research awards. Prospective students need a bachelor's degree in music and a 3.0 GPA. They also need professional music teaching experience. UF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Miami-based FIU hosts an online master's in music education. Students can complete the program online or in a hybrid format. The program provides music teachers with advanced skills in music pedagogy and performance.

    The program comprises 30 credits and includes core and specialized coursework. Learners study the fundamentals of music curriculum design. Electives focus on subjects like marching band techniques and choral conducting. Enrollees complete a three-credit capstone or master's thesis.

    Applicants submit two recommendation letters and evidence of teaching experience. Additional requirements include a recording of a classroom teaching session, an essay, and a resume. Prospective students need a bachelor's degree in music and a 3.0 GPA. FIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC



    UNCG offers an online master's in music education for music education professionals. The program includes online and hybrid course options. Students can start the program in the fall or spring semester. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

    Learners complete core and specialized classes. Foundational topics cover pedagogical conducting and music supervision. Electives include music ensemble courses and private music lessons. Students also complete a capstone experience. Graduates may qualify for advanced licensure in music.

    Applicants submit transcripts, recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a resume. Prospective enrollees need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. UNCG is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC



    ECU's online master's in music education offers concentrations in many performance and educational styles. Students can complete the music education specialization online. The degree consists of 30 credits and leads to licensure in music teaching.

    The school's master's in music education program includes both core and specialized courses. Learners take foundational classes in music structure and research methods for music education. Concentration courses cover topics such as choral conducting and ensembles. Degree-seekers complete a capstone experience to graduate.

    Learners can transfer up to six credits toward their degree. Applicants submit official transcripts, a resume, and three recommendation letters. They also need a music teaching philosophy, evidence of superior teaching, and an article critique. ECU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Georgia College & State University

    Milledgeville, GA



    Milledgeville-based Georgia College offers an online master's in music education program for working musicians and music teachers. The program prepares students for music education careers. Enrollees also learn how to research music teaching.

    This 30-credit program includes introductory courses in music theory and performance. Learners also take specialized classes such as music instruction for elementary students. Degree-seekers complete a comprehensive exam and capstone project to graduate.

    Georgia College offers graduate assistantships. Applicants must submit transcripts, reference letters, and test scores. Additional materials include a personal statement and resume. Georgia College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX



    Texas Tech offers an online master's in music education through its School of Music. Learners can specialize in music pedagogy for strings and the keyboard. Students can also pursue graduate certificates in early music, collaborative piano, and opera studies. Texas Tech provides both asynchronous and synchronous virtual instruction.

    Enrollees can pursue a 30-credit thesis option or a 36-credit non-thesis option. The program includes five core courses in areas such as music education and music theory. Electives focus on best practices in performance and conducting.

    Applicants submit a resume and reference letters. They also provide a personal interview, a teaching recording, and a writing sample. Texas Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. University of Northern Iowa

    Cedar Falls, IA



    UNI's online master's in music education offers synchronous and asynchronous courses. Learners use video conferencing and a learning management system. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis track. Degree-seekers can also participate in the school's many ensembles.

    The program features classes on learning behavior and music theory. Elective classes cover topics such as performance, conducting, and ensembles. Students complete 33 credits over two years. The curriculum focuses on training enrollees in the latest music education methods.

    Applicants submit transcripts, two recommendation letters, and a resume. Additional requirements include a personal statement and an audition video. UNI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Northern State University

    Aberdeen, SD



    NSU is located in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The school's online master's in music education serves working music teachers and other music professionals. The program features online classes. Students take 30 credits to earn the degree. Enrollees also complete two week-long summer sessions on campus. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

    NSU's program teaches learners about the latest research on music education. Coursework covers the foundational concepts of music education. Degree-seekers take specialized classes on curriculum writing and rehearsal techniques. Students can complete the degree in two years.

    Applicants need a 2.75 GPA. Prospective students submit transcripts and two recommendation letters. Enrollees may start in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. NSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Southern Utah University

    Cedar City, UT



    SUU's online master's in music education serves current school ensemble directors. The degree combines online courses with a three-week on-campus component. Students can also attend several professional development workshops for credit. The degree requires 30 credits total.

    SUU's program mixes practical training in music education with project-based classes. Core requirements cover topics like music teaching and learning. Students also take electives such as band repair and arts administration. Enrollees can earn the degree in two years.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree in music with a teaching license. Prospective students submit transcripts and three recommendation letters. Additional requirements include evidence of music teaching experience, a personal statement, and a resume. SUU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  10. University at Buffalo

    Buffalo, NY



    UB's online master's in music education trains music teachers to design curriculum and assessments. The program prepares learners to meet the Common Core standards for music instruction. Graduates may qualify for New York state professional certification in music education.

    Degree-seekers can complete the 33 credits needed in 2-3 semesters. Required courses focus on music assessment and the instructional foundations of music education. Students also take elective courses on music styles and music education technologies. Many classes include clinical components that give learners hands-on experience.

    The school features fall, spring, and summer start dates. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in music. They must also be proficient in at least one instrument. Additional requirements include transcripts, a personal statement, and two reference letters. UB is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Portrait of Reese Lopez

Reese Lopez

Reese Lopez is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the education field. After earning his BA in English from Evergreen State College, he worked as an English language instructor and tutor before joining Affordable Colleges Online. Reese lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also writes fiction and performs in the local music scene.

Portrait of Amy Mallory-Kani

Amy Mallory-Kani

Dr. Amy Mallory-Kani has nearly 15 years of experience as a professor, writer, and student advocate in higher education. Her work has appeared in a number of online publications and scholarly journals. She lives with her family in Indianapolis.

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