Master of Arts in Music Education

This distinctive degree program is designed for practicing music educators seeking graduate study that combines theory and practice. Emphasis is placed on musical artistry and teaching style, together with developing students’ research skills. Students choose a concentration in either Choral, Instrumental, Kodály, Orff Schulwerk, or Piano Pedagogy. Each concentration addresses the needs of music educators. Instructors are nationally recognized practitioners in their respective areas of concentration.

Program Structure

The Master of Arts in Music Education curriculum requires 33 semester hours and consists of three elements:

  1. Core courses cover teaching and learning, foundations of music education, musicianship and ensemble, perspectives in music theory, and music education research methods;
  2. A specialized field of concentration offers opportunities to develop specific skills; and
  3. A master's thesis or final project allows students to conduct applied research in music education.

The Master of Arts in Music Education degree program is designed for working music teachers who wish to pursue graduate study without interrupting their professional lives. All courses required for the degree are available during the summer term in an interlocking arrangement of day and evening courses. Field of concentration courses are offered in notations of even- and odd-numbered years. For the convenience of those teachers who live in the Twin Cities' metropolitan area, most core courses are offered also during the fall and spring semesters.

Advising

The program director serves as academic adviser for all students until course work is completed. Degree plans are prepared during the admissions interview.

Admission and Transfer Guidelines

Admission Deadlines

Summer Term     April 1
Fall Term             July 1
Spring Term        Dec. 1

Complete applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of six semester hours completed at another accredited institution prior to entering the program may be considered for transfer to meet degree requirements if the course work was:

  1. graded "B-" or better;
  2. taken within the last seven years;
  3. comparable in content and approach with those in the University of St. Thomas Master of Arts in Music Education degree program:
  4. acceptable at the granting institution toward a graduate degree there; and
  5. not used to fulfill requirements for a previously granted degree.

Transfer credits from another institution may not be applied to Level II or III of either the Orff Schulwerk or Kodály fields of concentration; however, they may be applied to the core requirements and Level I in these fields of concentration.

Six graduate credits earned as a nondegree student in UST courses that also are requirements for the graduate program may be transferred to meet the student's course requirements. The total number of transfer credits from other institutions and the University of St. Thomas may not exceed six.

Music Education Core Courses

Core courses provide opportunities for students to place their specific skills within a broader musical and educational context. Areas of study include:

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship and Research Methods in Music Education, 3 cr.  An introduction to scholarship and research methods in music education.

GMUS 601 Teaching and Learning, 3 cr.  An examination of conditions that affect the learning process and ways they can be mediated to influence student development.

GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.  A survey of ideas, forces, philosophies, and values that have shaped American music education.

GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.  An examination and application of traditional and contemporary music theory scholarship.

GMUS 612 Topics in Music History, Literature and Theory, 3 cr.  In-depth consideration of music history, literature, and theory devoted to a particular historical period.

GMUS 750 Musicianship, 1 cr.  Systematic study of applied musicianship skills in tonic solfa and choral ensemble.

GMUS 890 Master of Arts Final Project, 1 cr.  Application of music education research to final projects and thesis writing.

M.A. Final Project

After completing the coursework for the Master of Arts degree in music education, students will complete a Master of Arts (M.A.) Project chosen from one of several designs, all of which conclude with submitting four hardbound copies of a written component formatted according to Graduate Programs in Music Education (GPME) Project-Writing Guidelines. The following one- and two-semester designs are not intended to be exhaustive but rather to serve as a basis for other designs along these or other lines. Most projects will take one term to complete, and no projects will take longer than two terms to complete.

One-Semester Designs (register for GMUS 890-xx M.A. Project)

Design One: Curriculum Project

  1. Includes but is not limited to the development of an extended listing of content and outcomes that may be suitable for use in a teaching studio, classroom, or school district.
  2. The anticipated outcome of this design is a document that outlines the applicable national, stator or local standards, goals, lesson plans, objectives, learning activities, assessments and/or other pertinent information related to learning.
  3. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.
  4. Assessing the effect of a curriculum or lesson plans with a graduate student's students, or some other project using human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Design Two: Research Paper

  1. Designed to refine skills in a new area for the student or in re-thinking and re-envisioning a previously considered idea.
  2. The topic may evolve from a previously written graduate paper or project or may be a topic of a new departure for the student.
  3. The format for the paper is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.
  4. A study involving human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Design Three: Composition and Commentary

Includes but is not limited to students composing and describing in detail a composition, or compositions they have composed and/or arranged for their students. This type of project typically consists of:

  1. Composing or arranging the composition/arrangement resulting in a full score.
  2. A detailed written description of the composition, the compositional process, and the implications that the composition may have for the music education community. It is assumed that the emphasis of this composition will have direct implications for music education.
  3. An audio recording of the composition(s)/arrangement(s).
  4. The full score of the composition with the description/commentary and an audio recording are included with the bound written element, although the format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines. The written component must include and describe pedagogical implications of the composition.
  5. Assessing the effect, impact or perceptions of the composition with a graduate student's students, or some other project using human subjects is not possible within this design. See Design Five for accomplishing this.

Two-Semester Designs (first semester register for GMUS 876-xx Directed research; second semester register for GMUS 890-xx M.A. Project)

Designs four and five are the only options for doing two-semester M.A. projects involving GMUS 876 Directed Research the first semester and GMUS 890 M.A. Project the second semester. Students seeking to do either design four or five need to obtain the approval of the GPME Director two terms before the beginning of the first semester of the project.

Design Four: Lecture-Recital

Public presentation of lecture-recital of student's area of expertise, typically consisting of:

  1. Proposal of a couple of pages containing a working title; a brief description of the proposed lecture-recital/demonstration; proposed bibliography; and significance of the project. It is assumed that the emphasis of this lecture/recital will have a focus on music education and potential pedagogical implications.
  2. The lecture-recital/teaching demonstration will be performed as a "hearing" for the committee for its approval no later than two weeks before the scheduled public presentation.
  3. The actual public lecture-recital/demonstration (video-audio recorded) should last approximately 50 to 60 minutes. The lecture portion should comprise at least half of that duration.
  4. Four hardbound copies of the lecture portion in written form, together with a bibliography and other pertinent material (scores, etc.). This written portion may be considerably shorter than that of other projects and may simply contain a few pages of the aforementioned material and will be submitted with a video-sound recording. It is assumed that the emphasis of the written portions of the lecture will have direct implications for music education.
  5. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.

Design Five: Thesis

The two-semester thesis is built along the lines of a scholarly paper but conforms to more traditional research lines of qualitative, quantitative, historical, philosophical, descriptive and mixed methodologies--or it is based on Designs One, Two, or Three with a human subjects component. Other distinctive features include:

  1. A formal thesis committee (rather than faculty readers).
  2. A formal proposal agreed upon by the committee.
  3. A formal defense involving the student, advisor and committee members.

Moreover:

  1. If a student is interested in doing some kind of assessment with their students or a survey or other kind of study that involves human subjects, they need to proceed through the appropriate UST Institutional Review Board (IRB). This simple act typically adds one semester to a study.
  2. An excellent introduction to research methodologies can be found in Kenneth Phillips' Exploring Research in Music Education and Music Therapy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). It is highly recommended that students review the materials pertaining to their methodology well before they begin Design Five: Thesis.
  3. The format for the written component is left to the student in consultation with the advisor according to GPME M.A. Project-Writing Guidelines.

Choral Concentration

Required music education core courses (14 credits)

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship & Research Methods in Music, 3 cr.
GMUS 601 Teaching and learning, 3 cr.
GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.
GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 750 Musicianship & Ensemble I, 1 cr.
GMUS 890 M.A. Final Project, 1 cr.

Required choral concentration courses (13 credits)

GMUS 673 Choral Score Study and Literature I, 2 cr.
GMUS 674 Choral Score Study and Literature II, 2 cr.
GMUS 676 Voice Fundamentals, 2 cr.
GMUS 726 Intermediate Choral Conducting, 2 cr.
GMUS 727 Advanced Choral Conducting, 2 cr.
GMUS 728 Advanced Choral Conducting Lab, 1 cr.
GMUS 574 Applied Voice Study, 1 cr.
Private study; 12, 30-minute lessons arranged with the instructor.

Diction (choose 1):
GMUS 530 IPA/English/French Diction for Singers, 1 cr.
GMUS 531 IPA/Italian/German Diction for Singers, 1 cr.

Choral elective courses (minimum of 6 credits) 

GMUS 517 Developing the Child Voice in the Classroom, 2 cr.
GMUS 518 Teaching Choral Music to Young Singers, 2 cr.
GMUS 523 Teaching Adolescent Voices in a Choral Setting, 3 cr.
GMUS 527 Vocal Jazz Techniques, 2 cr.
GMUS 536 Smithsonian Folkways Certification in World Music Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 537 Latin American Music, 1 cr.
GMUS 544-xx Topics in Music Education, credits vary (advisor approval required)
GMUS 612 Topics in Music History, Literature and Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 651 Dalcroze Musicianship, 3 cr.
GMUS 742 Kodály Level II, 3 cr.
GMUS 765 American Folk Music, 3 cr.
Other courses considered for elective credit (advisor approval required)

Non-course requirements

Music Diagnostic Exams
Oral Comprehensive Exam

Instrumental Concentration

Required music education core courses (17 credits)

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship & Research Methods in Music, 3 cr.
GMUS 601 Teaching and learning, 3 cr.
GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.
GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 612 Topics in Music History, Literature, and Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 750 Musicianship & Ensemble I, 1 cr.
GMUS 890 M.A. Final Project, 1 cr.

Required instrumental concentration courses (11 credits)

GMUS 570-592 Performance Studies - Piano, 2 cr.
    Major Instrument 30-minute lessons
    Secondary Instrument 30-minute lessons
GMUS 665 Instrumental Musicianship Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 687 Advanced instrumental Score Study & Literature, 3 cr.
GMUS 690 Advanced Instrumental Conducting, 3 cr.

Instrumental elective courses (minimum of 5 credits) 

GMUS 536 Smithsonian Folkways Certification in World Music Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 537 Latin American Music, 1 cr.
GMUS 544-xx Topics in Music Education, credits vary (advisor approval required)
GMUS 557 Marching Band Techniques, 1 cr.
GMUS 558 Small Ensemble and Solo Literature, 1 cr.
GMUS 651 Dalcroze Musicianship, 3 cr.
GMUS 664 Jazz Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 671 African Music Ensemble, 2 cr.
Other courses considered for elective credit (advisor approval required)

Non-course requirements

Music Diagnostic Exams
Oral Comprehensive Exam

Kodály Concentration

Required music education core courses (16 credits)

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship & Research Methods in Music, 3 cr.
GMUS 601 Teaching and learning, 3 cr.
GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.
GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 612 Topics in Music History, Literature, and Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 890 M.A. Final Project, 1 cr.

Required Kodály concentration courses (15 credits)

GMUS 651 Dalcroze Musicianship, 3 cr.
GMUS 731 Orff Schulwerk Level I, 3 cr.
GMUS 741 Kodály Level I, 3 cr.
GMUS 742 Kodály Level II, 3 cr.
GMUS 743 Kodály Level III, 3 cr.

Kodály elective courses (minimum of 2 credits) 

GMUS 517 Developing the Child Voice in the Classroom, 2 cr.
GMUS 518 Teaching Choral Music to Young Singers, 2 cr.
GMUS 523 Teaching Adolescent Voices in a Choral Setting, 3 cr.
GMUS 527 Vocal Jazz, 2 cr.
GMUS 530 IPA/English/French Diction for Singers, 1 cr.
GMUS 531 IPA/Italian/German Diction for Singers, 1 cr.
GMUS 536 Smithsonian Folkways Certification in World Music Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 537 Latin American Music, 1 cr.
GMUS 544-xx Topics in Music Education, credits vary (advisor approval required)
GMUS 570-592 Performance Studies, 1 cr. each
GMUS 671 African Music Ensemble, 2 cr.
GMUS 676 Voice Fundamentals, 2 cr.
GMUS 727 Advanced Choral Conducting, 2 cr.
Other courses considered for elective credit (advisor approval required)

Non-course requirements

Music Diagnostic Exams
Oral Comprehensive Exam

Orff Schulwerk Concentration

Required music education core courses (17 credits)

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship & Research Methods in Music, 3 cr.
GMUS 601 Teaching and learning, 3 cr.
GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.
GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 612 Topics in Music History, Literature, and Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 750 Musicianship & Ensemble I, 1 cr.
GMUS 890 M.A. Final Project, 1 cr.

Required Orff Schulwerk concentration courses (11 credits)

GMUS 731 Orff Schulwerk Level I, 3 cr.
GMUS 732 Orff Schulwerk Level II, 3 cr.
GMUS 733 Orff Schulwerk Level III, 3 cr.
GMUS 735 Curriculum Development, 2 cr.

Orff Schulwerk elective courses (minimum of 5 credits) 

GMUS 517 Developing the Child Voice in the Classroom, 2 cr.
GMUS 518 Teaching Choral Music to Young Singers, 2 cr.
GMUS 532 Orff Master Class, 2 cr.
GMUS 536 Smithsonian Folkways Certification in World Music Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 537 Latin American Music, 1 cr.
GMUS 544-xx Topics in Music Education, credits vary (advisor approval required)
GMUS 571 Advanced Performance Studies - Piano, 1 cr.
GMUS 651 Dalcroze Musicianship, 3 cr.
GMUS 671 African Music Ensemble, 2 cr.
GMUS 726 Intermediate Choral Conducting, 2 cr.
GMUS 741 Kodaly Level I, 3 cr.
GMUS 765 American Folk Music, 3 cr.
Other courses considered for elective credit (advisor approval required)

Non-course requirements

Music Dignostic Exams
Oral Comprehensive Exam

Piano Pedagogy Concentration

Required music education core courses (17 credits)

GMUS 600 Introduction to Scholarship & Research Methods in Music, 3 cr.
GMUS 601 Teaching and learning, 3 cr.
GMUS 608 Foundations of Music Education, 3 cr.
GMUS 611 Perspectives in Music Theory, 3 cr.
GMUS 651 Dalcroze Musicianship, 3 cr.
GMUS 750 Musicianship & Ensemble I, 1 cr.
GMUS 890 M.A. Final Project, 1 cr.

Required piano pedagogy concentration courses (11 credits)

GMUS 571 Performance Studies - Piano (three semesters of 50-minute lessons), 3 cr.
GMUS 771 Elementary Piano Materials & Teaching Techniques, 3 cr.
GMUS 772 Intermediate Piano Materials & Teaching Techniques, 3 cr.
GMUS 800 Supervised Teaching, 2 cr.

Piano elective courses (minimum of 5 credits) 

GMUS 536 Smithsonian Folkways Certification in World Music Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 537 Latin American Music, 1 cr.
GMUS 544-xx Topics in Music Education, credits vary (advisor approval required)
GMUS 571 Advanced Performance Studies - Piano, 1 cr.
GMUS 615 Performance Practices, 3 cr.
GMUS 619 Keyboard Literature, 3 cr.
GMUS 773 Advanced Piano Pedagogy, 3 cr.
GMUS 800 Supervised Teaching (additional semester), 1 cr.
Other courses considered for elective credit (advisor approval required)

Non-course requirements

Music Diagnostic Exams
Oral Comprehensive Exam
Piano Recital


The University of St. Thomas Music Department is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the National Association of Schools of Music.

The University of St. Thomas is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.