Survival Guide (Handbook for Music Education Majors)

This guide consists of both formal and informal advice, policies, and procedures designed to help the music education student navigate and negotiate the rigors associated with the music education major.

Program Overview

The music education program at Ball State University is one of the leading music teacher-training programs in the nation. Faculty members are regional and national leaders in the profession, serving as clinicians, guest conductors, performers, invited authors, teaching strategy consultants, and researchers – and all with extensive experience teaching in K-12 schools.

Undergraduate music education majors pursue a fully accredited and newly expanded and revised curriculum which develops musical knowledge and skills, immersing students in practical experience throughout the four-year program. Aspects of the curriculum are quickly becoming models for teacher-training institutions across the nation. The curriculum includes significant observing/teaching opportunities in K-12 school music classrooms beginning the first semester and extending throughout the undergraduate program. In contrast to many music teacher-training programs, undergraduate music education majors at Ball State actively participate in teaching situations both inside and outside the university classroom every semester of their four-year program. As a result, Ball State graduates are better prepared for the complexities of the K-12 classroom and are hired by Indiana K-12 schools at nearly twice the rate of any other institution.

Students choose between two Indiana licensing tracks: Instrumental/General or Vocal/General. This requires that all music education majors be trained and meet standards for music generalists, and standards for either Vocal or Instrumental Music. As for all music majors, music education majors complete an intensive curriculum in music theory, history, and performance.

The BSU music education philosophy focuses on "comprehensive musicianship through performance", which prepares elementary level music educators to incorporate performing opportunities into the general music classroom, and secondary level music educators to teach music fundamentals as well as performance excellence in school ensemble classes.

During the first two semesters, all music education majors complete vocal/instrumental technique courses and MUSED 100 and 150. These courses establish a foundation for basic teaching skills and classroom musicianship upon which specialty methods courses can build. Advanced methods courses in elementary general music, secondary general music, and choral or instrumental methods (depending on the license track) are taken during Semesters 3 through 6. It is important to note that each of the 300-level courses include significant field experience components, assisting students in the development of fundamental teaching skills. This is a very progressive and powerful aspect of the Ball State music education curriculum. MUSED 350, a 3-credit course involving extensive field experience in the k-12 school music setting, is taken during Semester 7. Semester 8 is reserved for the 16-week student teaching practicum.

Four-Year Plans 

Four-Year Plans outline a recommended course sequence.

The music education program is a very intensive one, with a very prescriptive sequence for completion. Course and grade (C or better) prerequisites are common throughout the sequence. Many courses are offered during the Fall or Spring terms only as required by the four-year plan. It is each student's responsibility to follow the prescribed sequence. Each student is strongly encouraged to meet with his/her assigned School of Music advisor each semester. If you do not know who your SoM advisor is, request this information from the Office of the Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs in Music.

Decision Points

All Teacher Education Majors must meet specific criteria at each of four Decision Points to continue through the program. These criteria are outlined in Decision Points. While most of the Decision Points criteria are met as part of the music education curriculum, a few are not. Refer to Guidelines for Music Education Decision Points Criteria for specific details regarding how to meet these additional criteria required by Ball State University or the State of Indiana.

School of Music
Hargreaves Music Building (MU) 203
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-5400
Fax: 765-285-5401
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