Master of Music, Music Education Specialization

M.M. Music Education

The Master of Music, Music Education Specialization is designed for elementary and secondary music teachers who already hold a K-12 State music-teaching license. Specifically, this program is designed to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders in the field of music education by developing and applying scholarly research skills in the field of music education, the in-depth study of advanced pedagogical expertise, and the impact of contemporary learning theory on K-12 music education.

In this program, successful students will have the opportunity to gain content knowledge regarding the history and philosophy of music education, an understanding of how quantitative, qualitative, and historical music research is conducted, advanced skills in music analysis and interpretation, and a contemporary understanding of the pedagogy of music teaching and learning. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in CSU music ensembles to continue to develop as musical artists. Additionally, students are expected to be full-time students in residence and will most likely be given the opportunity to teach or assist with undergraduate music education coursework depending upon level of expertise and program demands.

The degree coursework is designed to be completed over a time span of two years, and includes both on-campus and online coursework. Students in this program are expected to be in residence full-time during the school year and are encouraged to take advantage of the diverse summer elective offerings.

All students in this program are strongly encouraged to undertake the Plan A Track, which involves one extra semester of coursework to write a master's thesis. The thesis distinguishes work in the program and prepares the student with the qualifications needed to pursue doctoral work in the future. Plan B Track students do not undertake a thesis.

Program-level Learning Objectives

  • Transfer research knowledge and skills to practice-based applications in K-12 music education context
  • Evaluate pedagogical approaches intrinsic to a variety of music education arenas.
  • Create innovative approaches to music learning in school systems.

Upon completion of the program, our students aspire to:

  • Be poised to be both highly qualified practitioners and leaders in K-12 education at the elementary and secondary levels
  • Apply learned skills in professional K-12 music teaching settings, including age-appropriate instructional delivery, ensemble leadership, curricular and pedagogical process, learning theory, and the impacts of assessment on student learning.
  • Develop the ability to think abstractly, analyze complex ideas or phenomena, synthesize, or generalize knowledge across disciplines and sub-disciplines, interpret and apply scholarly findings to specialized topic areas, and communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written forms.
  • Develop an awareness of substantive publications in the field of music education and the field of education as a whole.
  • Define national trends in music education that impact K-12 educational settings.
  • Describe the contemporary role that curriculum and assessment design plays in the teaching-learning process.
  • Create music curriculum assessment tools designed to measure both simple and complex learning in both classroom and studio/applied settings.
  • Engage in informed critical discussion regarding current standards-based frameworks in music and in contemporary K-12 American education contexts.


Erik Johnson

  • Associate Professor of Music

As a music education student at CSU I consistently find myself brimming with new ideas that I can’t wait to put into practice in my own music classroom in the future.” ~ Haley Heer, Class of 2013


In addition to completing Master of Music in Music Education Core Curriculum, a benefit of the M.M. Music Education program is that it is one of the few Master’s programs in the United States that is customizable where students can choose elective courses from the following areas:

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Because they are full-time, students in this program qualify to apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship within the Music Education area. GTA positions are awarded for one year and subsidize half of the graduate tuition. Selected through a competitive application process, students may request a GTA application from the music education faculty after all application material for the M.M. Music Education program have been received.