Music Education Department

Music Education FAQ

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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 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proposal. 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.


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 and elective which may enrich their experience at IWU.


What is the successful placement rate among graduates?

100% of students have obtained jobs in music education in recent years. These graduates are working both in-state, as well as in other parts of the country.


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 licensure.

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 school choir).


What opportunities exist for observation and laboratory teaching experiences prior to formal student teaching?

All courses in the Professional Education classes 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 IWE 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 21st-century music and teaching methods.