Music Education | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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School of Education

Music Education

Music student giving piano lessons to child
School of Education

Music Education

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Undergraduate

152 - 160 credits

required for program

152 - 160 credits

152 - 160 credits

required for program

The music education major prepares you to teach vocal or instrumental music to children in grades K–12 in public or private school settings. Graduates qualify for licensure in Minnesota.


Entrance auditions are required if you wish to pursue a degree in music. Auditions are held during the spring semester. You must be admitted to both Northwestern and the Department of Music & Theatre in order to major in music. Please refer to the Music Auditions & Scholarships for audition requirements and deadlines.

Why study music education at Northwestern?

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 for one week to learn how education is different outside the U.S. This will equip you to teach in diverse communities. You can also study abroad in China over spring break or participate in a Civil Rights Pilgrimage spring break trip with other education majors. You can gain even more experience by participating in our international student teaching program.

Northwestern’s School of Education provides you with four levels of classroom practicum experience. The first allows you to find your personal "fit" within the teaching profession. The second level focuses on developing theory and skills related to diversity. The third level 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 MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board 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.

The School of Education has hosted Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) events, and is a member of CEAI.

The School of Education attends the Compass Educator Breakfast each fall (through Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN).

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving education system.

If you enjoy vocal or instrumental music, are eager to serve, passionate about teaching, and are interested in a career in education, this might be the right degree for you.

What will I learn?

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

I received a great and well-rounded music education . . . [and] currently teach a highly successful band program that competes favorably on a national level.
Sam Anderson
Alumni | School of Education - Class of 2006

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
View Career Guide

meets licensure requirements for the Minnesota Board of Teaching


of Northwestern’s education graduates felt professionally prepared


University of Northwestern music degrees hold accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music, the principal U.S. accreditor for higher education in music

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

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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