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 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

Flowers in front of UCA

MSOE Composition Competition


Announcing the 2024 Middle School Outreach Ensemble Composition Competition! Winners will have their piece performed during the 2024 MSOE Concert. We would like to invite all music students to participate in the 2024 MSOE Composition Competition. The competition is open to ALL middle school and high school students who are enrolled in their school music […]

Flowers in front of UCA

Music Education Faculty News


Music Education Faculty News by Music Education | Bonnie Jacobi | Erik Johnson | School of Music Theatre and Dance Dr. Bonnie Jacobi Music education professor, Dr. Bonnie Jacobi, was selected to serve on a national panel for historical research in music education, which was held at the Normal Symposium for the History of Music […]

Derek and Liam Smith

2023 Music Alumni Notes


2023 Music Alumni Notes by Music Education | Alicia Blanton | Alumni | Derek Smith | Gregg Cannady | Kevin Whalen | Madeleine Cort | Maisie Phillips | Megan Doyle | Sarah Vogel | School of Music Theatre and Dance | Xareny Polanco Gregg Cannady, B.M., Music Education, 1985; M.M., Music Education, 1989 Gregg co-founded […]