School of Music
Music Education Department
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is music education an important component of education as a whole?
Early in 2015, music gained recognition as a core academic subject, thanks to a US Senate
proposal to revamp the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) , which was
eventually changed to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This means that music should
be seen on the same level as other core academic subject. This recognition of the importance
of music in education means that all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or
other factors, should have access to quality music education that emphasizes the National Core
Arts Standards (Create, Perform, Respond, and Connect), and also teaches music of varying
genres and origins, so that students can understand music’s role, not only in their own lives,
but also in the lives and cultures of others, which then allows them to make connections
between music and the society in which they live. Several well-executed studies have
suggested a strong relationship between music/arts education and other areas of study. This
article is a wonderful summary of why music education should be a part of a child’s learning
Is it realistic to graduate in four years with a music education degree?
Yes, if a student follows the suggested sequence of coursework (which includes one May
Term course), it is possible to graduate in 4 years. However, some students are opting to go an
additional semester for student teaching to reduce the course load, and to allow time for extra
courses (such as electives and ensembles), or even adding minor degrees which may enrich
their experience at IWU.
What is the successful placement rate among graduates?
100% of students have obtained jobs in music education or gone on to graduate programs in
music in recent years. These graduates are working both in-state, as well as in other parts of
In which states will the student be licensed to teach?
The graduate is licensed only in the state of Illinois to begin with. Obtaining licenses to teach
in other states requires going through a process that varies from state to state. Please see the
state board of education websites for each state to see that state’s requirements for teacher
For which grades and subjects will the student be certified to teach?
At IWU, you will receive a K-12 license in Music. You are certified to teach ANY grade or
area in music, as this degree does not differentiate between elementary general music, choral
music, or instrumental music. For this reason, music education majors take coursework that
covers each area (general, choral, and instrumental music) and grade level (elementary, middle
school, and high school) of music teaching.
How much student teaching is required and when does it occur in the curriculum?
The student is required to complete a full-semester of student teaching (16 weeks) during their
fourth year (either fall or spring). The student teaching can be a single 16-week placement that
encompasses both elementary and secondary classroom teaching, or two 8-week split
placements (for example, 8 weeks in elementary general music followed by 8 weeks in middle
What opportunities exist for observation and laboratory teaching experiences prior to
formal student teaching?
All courses in the Professional Education music courses require 10 or more hours of
observation and/or teaching in the public schools. These experiences are designed to allow for
practical field application of the information being taught in these courses. A total of 100 hours
of field observation and teaching is required for the degree.
How does the curriculum prepare students to obtain licensure to teach K-12 music classes?
The IWU music education curriculum includes a liberal arts education combined with an
education from a professional, NASM-accredited School of Music. Students receive a strong
general education background, as well as courses in the area of music and music
education/professional education that include not only traditional, but also 21 st -century music
and teaching methods.