How Can You Specialize a Music Education Degree?

Facing a career in teaching music, you may also be facing the need to specialize a music education degree. Many musicians pursue an undergraduate degree in music education, as it is one of the best degrees for providing entrance into good employment opportunities in the music field. A bachelor’s degree in music education usually prepares you to teach at the K-12 level and also helps get you ready to follow state licensing requirements, which can vary. However, sometimes people choose to pursue a graduate degree in music education, partly to learn more effective classroom strategies, and partly because they may want to specialize in a certain area of music.

Specializing by Types of Student Populations

A specific student population is one area of focus that you may choose when undertaking a graduate degree in music education. Most graduate programs in music education will offer you the opportunity to take education courses that teach you effective pedagogy strategies when working with students. The kinds of educational methods you learn, however, may vary depending on the age or grade range of your particular students. So you might specialize in early childhood learning, for instance, or in elementary or secondary pedagogy. You may even be able to find programs that prepare you to teach music in a college setting or that immerse you in research and help get you ready for a doctorate.

The core of what you teach can help you to further hone your focus. Some students might focus on general music education, while others might specialize particularly in instrumental or vocal performance.

Other Areas of Specialty

Some other possible areas of specialization for music education majors include composition, orchestration, conducting, or music theory. All of these subjects will build on your skills as a musician as well as a teacher and can help you to teach specific subject areas. Some schools require that their undergraduates in music education major in either composition or performance, so it is likely that you will have some of these skills (or at least one or the other) firmly in place by the time you reach the level of graduate specialization. In fact, in some colleges, you can work on a Master’s in Music Education as a dual program along with your bachelor’s degree in either composition or performance, with the performance degree varying depending on whether you are focusing on vocal performance, piano, or some other other major instrument.

Related Resource: Become an Early Interventionist

Whatever area of specialization your may be contemplating, if you are already involved in music education as a professional teacher, you might want to consider joining the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) which offers valuable professional development resources for musical educators. Reading their online journals, joining in discussions and forums with other music teachers, attending their national conference, and pursuing your teaching passions in the classroom are all ways that you can decide the best way to uniquely specialize a music education degree, in ways that will enhance your teaching abilities and help foster growth in your career.