Music Education


The music education program at Colorado State University is designed for prospective elementary and secondary school music teachers and is a gateway to employment and growth in musical excellence. Upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree, students become licensed to teach elementary, choral, band, and orchestra music to K-12 students.

With a focus on B.M. and M.M. programs, one of the many strengths of CSU’s music education area is the personal attention given to each student, paired with ongoing opportunities for all students to have early teaching experiences working directly with school-age students. Additionally, an emphasis on performance and outstanding musicianship is highlighted.

At the secondary level, students receive extensive training in how to design and implement programs centered around comprehensive musicianship and reflective practice, while at the elementary level, the training incorporates both Kodály and Dalcroze methodologies. The teacher licensure program is nationally accredited by NCATE and includes on-site work in schools and student teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Additionally, students work with youth on campus for arts-integrated experiences such as BRAINY (Bringing Arts Integration to Youth) and the Middle School Outreach Ensemble, featuring an innovative teacher training component.

Students are extremely active within the music education area and lead their own organization (Collegiate National Association for Music Educators), which focuses on professional development, social mentoring, and community outreach. The CNAfME chapter has received a Chapter of Excellence Award from the Collegiate National Association for Music Educators.

The music education faculty work closely with the Teacher Licensure Office in the School of Education to place students in quality music classrooms throughout their degree in practicum placements and during their student teaching placement. In addition, students receive preparation to teach Early Childhood through Senior High in all areas: elementary, choral, and instrumental. The program consistently sees more than 95% job placement rate upon graduation.

The music education program is comprehensively structured to allow for continued study at the master’s level, with enrollment tripling in the last three years. A program highlight includes side-by-side work with ensemble directors, allowing full-time master’s students to assist in teaching coursework and directing ensembles.

The music education faculty is comprised of nationally and internationally-recognized educators, researchers, clinicians, adjudicators, and award-winning performers with a vested interest in the educational process of our students. There is a concerted effort on the part of all faculty to know our students on a professional and personal level, guiding their growth throughout the program.

On-campus training takes place in the world-class University Center for the Arts, an exquisite teaching, performance, and exhibition venue for music, theatre, dance, and art. The UCA is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is an inspiring setting for personal growth.

Along with the knowledge of teaching they bring to the table, music education faculty at CSU also have the personal experiences that bring different strategies and methods to life; offering a perspective at a practical level. ~ Aleaha Harkins


As the undergraduate program facilitator for the Middle School Outreach Ensemble, I have had the opportunity to learn about the joys and challenges of teaching music within a supportive environment of peers and music education faculty. The program gave me the opportunity to refine my leadership skills and work with others toward a collective goal. I now feel confident in my ability to make a positive impact when I enter the field as a full-time educator. ~ Charlie Mathews (CSU Music Education alum)

Study With

Bonnie Jacobi

  • Associate Professor of Music
  • Music Education
  • Director of Colorado Kodály Institute

Erik Johnson

  • Associate Professor of Music
  • Music Education (Instrumental)

Seth Pendergast

  • Assistant Professor of Music
  • Music Education (Choral)

Nathan Payant

  • Instructor of Music
  • Administrative Coordinator of Music Education
  • Director of the Conducting Specialization Summer Seminar
  • Director of Concert Choir

(970) 491-2346

Jessica Warner

  • Instructor of Music
  • Music Education
  • Coordinator of Community Engagement

Integrated Research

At Colorado State University, faculty research and professional activity is relevantly integrated throughout coursework in both the undergraduate and graduate degree sequences. Examples from music education faculty:

Bonnie Jacobi’s passion for on-location historical research includes a recent discovery of the first formal Dalcroze instruction that took place within an American music curriculum (1913, Bryn Mawr College), resulting in two published articles in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. Additionally, topics such as musical gesture, space, literacy, and socioemotional learning in music augment her research on the role of music in higher education for nineteenth-century females.

Erik Johnson is passionate about research directly impacting public school teachers and students, including investigating the effect of peer-teaching and collaborative learning on music achievement, engagement, motivation, and student self-concept. Results provide exciting implications for how to diversify traditional instruction in an effort to construct successful music-learning environments. At home with both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, he continues to investigate and share the exciting ways that peer-teaching can enhance student learning.


Music Education Events

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Music Education News

CSU Marching Band pictured performing at 2014 Denver Broncos Game

CSU to Host Annual National Collegiate Marching and Athletic Bands Symposium


The College Band Directors National Association’s 2015 National Collegiate Marching and Athletic Bands Symposium will be held at Colorado State University, hosted by CSU’s Director of Bands Rebecca Phillips, and Associate Director of Bands Richard Frey. The conference is scheduled for May 28-30 at the University Center for the Arts, with special activities held regionally. […]

Charlie Mathews Awarded Exclusive Scholarship by CBA


The 2015 Colorado Bandmasters Association Student Teacher Scholarship was recently awarded to Colorado State University Music Education student, Charlie Mathews, who is currently student teaching with Raleigh Eversole at Palmer Ridge High School, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Amy Abbott at Red Hawk Elementary School, Longmont, Colo. According to the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA), the award […]

Students pictured roasting marshmallows

Music Alumni Spotlight: Heather Stenner ’96


Growing up in a musical family in Pella, Iowa, many of Heather Stenner’s fondest memories are centered around the power of music. With parents who both played the saxophone, a mother who was a drum major and a father involved in drama, Heather’s own journey in music and the arts has led her around the […]