School of Education

Music Education

Music student giving piano lessons to child
School of Education

Music Education

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Undergraduate

144-154 credits

required for program

144-154 credits

144-154 credits

required for program

Learn to teach vocal or instrumental music to children in grades K–12 in public or private school settings.


Entrance auditions are required for this major. Auditions are during the spring semester. You must be admitted to both Northwestern and the Department of Music & Theatre to major in music. Please refer to the Music Admissions & Scholarships for audition requirements and dates.

Music education may be the right degree for you if you

  • enjoy vocal or instrumental music
  • are eager to serve
  • passionate about teaching
  • are interested in a career in education

Why study music education at Northwestern?

You’ll learn the subject matter and how to create a supportive learning environment for students of all backgrounds. Our faculty believe in equipping you with the expertise and cultural competence needed to stand out from your peers

This program normally takes 4.5 years to complete, which includes a semester of student teaching. You will select one of the following specializations for your major:

  • Vocal and Classroom Music Specialization with emphasis: vocal
  • Vocal and Classroom Music Specialization with emphasis: vocal with primary instrument piano
  • Instrumental and Classroom Music Specialization with emphasis: instrumental
  • Instrumental and Classroom Music Specialization with emphasis: instrumental with primary instrument piano

The School of Education offers you the opportunity to travel to Haiti and China. This is an opportunity to learn how education is different outside the United States. Plus, you can gain even more experience by participating in our international student teaching program.

Northwestern’s School of Education provides four levels of classroom practicum experience:

  • The first level allows you to find your personal "fit" within the teaching profession.
  • The second focuses on developing theory and skills related to diversity.
  • The third engages you to apply methodologies within your chosen field by creating, teaching, and evaluating lessons in a school classroom.
  • The final level is full-time student teaching in a chosen licensure field.

The School of Education provides teacher education programs approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching and as a result, meet the state standards adopted for licensure programs as defined in state rule 8710.2000 through 8710.8080. All licensure programs are aligned with INTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards and the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice.

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Careers in music education

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in music education.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Teaching in your area of specialty
  • Private tutoring
  • Creating/directing educational programs
  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional design (technology training may be required)
  • Textbook editing
  • Online education
  • Corporate or business training and development
  • Private instructor
  • Music librarian
  • Administrative positions in music/fine arts

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Schools of all kinds-public, private, charter, international, government, residential
  • Day care and nursery school
  • Parks and recreation departments
  • Educational testing companies
  • Curriculum/educational publishers
  • School district offices
  • Educational research firms
  • Industries related to your subject area
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Universities and colleges (may require graduate school)
  • Private music studios

Strategies for success:

  • Requirements for certification/licensure vary by state. Multiple certifications will increase employability. A master’s degree will increase earning potential.
  • Be willing to work hard at finding a job and to go where the jobs are.
  • Obtain part-time, summer, internship, or volunteer experience with the age group you intend to work with in various settings: pre-schools, daycares, camps, community agencies, adult centers, YMCA’s, etc.
  • Participate in co-curricular activities and related organizations to broaden skills, interests, and opportunities.
  • Identify transferable skills learned in teaching applicable to other careers: written and verbal communication, teaching and instruction, program planning, organization and record keeping, working under pressure and meeting deadlines, motivational skills, creativity, working autonomously, decision-making, problem solving.
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meets licensure requirements for the Minnesota Board of Teaching


of Northwestern’s education graduates felt professionally prepared


UNW music degrees hold accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music

What will I learn?

You will learn to analyze sheet music and be able to teach music to children in grades K-12.

Still have questions about this program or how to apply?

Our team is ready with answers!

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