Music Education

Why Music Education

A Music Education degree opens the doors to a wonderful variety of career choices and other professional opportunities including:

  • Preschool music teacher
  • Elementary music teacher
  • Middle, junior or senior high school band or choir director
  • Private studio (private lessons)
  • Professional performance
  • Preparation for entrance into graduate music programs

Qualified music educators are in high demand in schools across the state and beyond. Music Education is a very demanding, yet rewarding, career in which professionals have the opportunity to continue their own creative and performance endeavors, while providing a solid music foundation and instilling the enjoyment of music in their students.

The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) has compiled a list of “Desirable Attributes” of professional music educators. If you have considered a career in music education but do not know if you have the requisite skills and personality traits, consider the following attributes from NASM.


Desirable Attributes, Essential Competencies, and Professional Procedures

The prospective music teacher should have:

1) Personal commitment to the art of music, to teaching music as an element of civilization, and to encouraging the artistic and intellectual development of students, plus the ability to fulfill these commitments as an independent professional.

2) The ability to lead students to an understanding of music as an art form, as a means of communication, and as a part of their intellectual and cultural heritage.

3) The capability to inspire others and to excite the imagination of students, engendering a respect for music and a desire for musical knowledge and experiences.

4) The ability to articulate logical rationales for music as a basic component of general education, and to present the goals and objectives of a music program effectively to parents, professional colleagues, and administrators.

5) The ability to work productively within specific education systems, promote scheduling patterns that optimize music instruction, maintain positive relationships with individuals of various social and ethnic groups, and be empathetic with students and colleagues of differing backgrounds.

6) The ability to evaluate ideas, methods, and policies in the arts, the humanities, and in arts education for their impact on the musical and cultural development of students.

7) The ability and desire to remain current with developments in the art of music and in teaching, to make independent, in-depth evaluations of their relevance, and to use the results to improve musicianship and teaching skills.

 Excerpted from: National Association of Schools of Music 2007-2008 Handbook, 2nd Ed. (pp. 93-94)


The Bachelor of Music in Music Education is typically a nine to ten semester degree in which the student graduates with a BM degree and an all-level Teacher Certification (EC-12) assuming the student passes all courses and the certification exam. There are many who may advise future and current college students to pursue an alternative degree (Bachelor of Arts or BA) that allows the student to graduate in fewer semesters, and then pursue what is called an Alternative Certification. This process allows the graduate to be hired by a school district with the contingency that he or she completes the alternative certification process within a given time-frame.

However, a BA graduate typically can only be hired as a Teacher’s Aid and will receive approximately 40% of the income of a certified teacher, and will not receive benefits. In addition, the BA graduate will be asked to complete the alternative certification process while being expected to fulfill his or her full-time teaching obligations. This can be a very costly process that typically takes up to two years of course work, exam preparation, and internship. Finally, the BA degree does not require students to take the classroom management, educational psychology, and other related courses that prepare you for a career in education. These students often experience an incredibly rough transition into the field of teaching.

Our advice for students considering this option is to pursue the correct degree. It may take a semester or two longer but the time spent in college is equal to or less than the time and expenses required of the alternative certification process. In addition, you will be much better prepared for a successful career as a music educator.

If you have any other questions related to the music degree, please visit the Question / Answer page.

We hope that you consider a career in music education and hope that this information will help you in your career choices. We also hope that East Texas Baptist University will be your choice to help you get started in your career as a professional music educator.

Contact Information:
Marilyn Johnson, Administrative Secretary
School of Fine Arts
East Texas Baptist University
One Tiger Drive
Marshall, TX 75670

Departmental email address:
Music Department-

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