Music Education

Dr. Jan Edwards at the SmartboardRobert Gillespie, area head

Faculty List

The Music Education program in the School of Music is one of the leading programs in the nation. With a long tradition of excellence in initial teacher preparation, graduate education, and professional development for in-service teachers, the program is known for a comprehensive, field-based curriculum that is rich in music methods and techniques instruction; an outstanding faculty of specialists; and an impressive record of accomplishments by its graduates. (Pictured: Dr. Jan Edwards)

The Undergraduate Program

The program is designed to prepare music teachers for successful work in a variety of settings. Through partnerships with urban and suburban school districts in the Columbus area, students gain a wealth of experience and a broad perspective on music teaching and learning. Three tracks lead toward Ohio pre-K–12 licensure in music (view these curricula at Undergraduate Curriculum Information; Four-Year Plans):

  • Choral Music Education Curriculum—Students prepare to teach and direct middle and high school choruses;
  • General Music Education Curriculum—Students prepare to teach elementary classroom music and secondary-school non-performance classes;
  • Instrumental Music Education Curriculum—Students prepare to teach wind and percussion or stringed instruments from beginning through advanced levels. See also the Instrumental Music Education/Jazz Principal Curriculum.

To prepare for teaching positions involving multiple responsibilities, students may complete coursework in more than one specialization. Ohio State's music education degree program prepares students to become confident and competent school professionals.

Students are admitted officially into the music education major through a process leading to Professional Standing and subsequent recognition by the College of Education of their candidacy in teacher education. Application for Professional Standing occurs during the fourth semester and leads to review by area faculty members of academic progress (2.75 overall GPA, 3.0 GPA in music); documentation of 100 hours of early field experiences and recommendations by School of Music faculty members and field-experience mentors.

Post-Baccalaureate Licensure in Music Education

This non-degree program is designed for music graduates (BM, BA) who wish to obtain a license to teach choral, general, and/or instrumental music in Ohio public schools, pre-K—12. The program also is required for BA and BM graduates who wish to pursue a master’s degree in music education.

Students interested in exploring this option should review the Curricular Requirements for Post-Baccalaureate Licensure [pdf] then submit the Post-Baccalaureate Licensure Program application [pdf] along with an undergraduate transcript, an autobiographical written statement, and audition CD or DVD to Dr. Robert Gillespie, Area Head of Music Education, c/o Undergraduate Studies, Ohio State School of Music, 1866 College Road, Columbus, OH 43210. An on-campus interview follows review of the admission materials.

Once admitted into the BME degree program, the post-baccalaureate student will proceed to (1) take any courses from the first four semesters of the undergraduate music education curriculum not already completed, (2) accumulate the necessary field-experience hours, and (3) make application for Professional Standing (see above).


Ohio has licensure reciprocity with most other states in the nation. See Educator Preparation Interstate Agreement and NASDTEC Interstate Agreement information.

Students in both the Bachelor of Music and post-baccalaureate licensure programs are subject to additional requirements that satisfy College of Education and Human Ecology (CEHE) and State of Ohio mandates for achieving licensure to teach in the state's public schools. The CEHE has provided a chart of licensure costs to facilitate student planning. Additional information about the individual mandates is provided by area faculty members during appropriate courses and at the time of student admission to Professional Standing.

Once all requirements have been met and application made, the music education area head will recommend licensure to the College of Education and Human Ecology, the official university agent recognized by the Ohio Department of Education.

The Graduate Program

The graduate program in music education epitomizes the faculty's commitment to practical teacher development, scholarship and intellectual growth as well as a positive and supportive learning environment for students. The goals of the Master of Arts degree are to help in-service teachers refine teaching skills in the area of specialization, and deepen their understanding of critical issues in the field. The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares artist-scholar-teachers to become leaders in music education from within their positions in colleges, universities or other educational institutions. Doctoral study in music education is primarily a residential program in which the students and advisors develop courses of study based on individual goals and interests. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged and myriad opportunities exist for participation in research and outreach projects.


Graduate assistantships and fellowships are available for both MA and PhD students. Responsibilities may include teaching class piano or music courses for early-childhood specialists or assisting professors in the major music methods courses.

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