Music has the power to motivate and inspire others. The desire to offer that sense of wonder for people can encourage music education professionals to further their knowledge and study of music. However, the path to achieving this goal can seem difficult at times. Individuals who have experience teaching music to children and adolescents and want to advance their careers may think about seeking continuing educational opportunities.
A Master of Music in music education (MMME) degree program has the potential to expand your career options and could bring you closer to achieving your teaching and leadership career goals. Discover the following five opportunities that MMME degree holders can pursue.
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Earning a music education master’s degree can present opportunities such as assuming different positions of other music specialities or a higher-level faculty position at a college or university. According to becomeateacher.org, most college music professors have master’s degrees. For full-time music faculty positions at these academic institutions, music professionals are hired based on their academic credentials, their professional teaching history, and their accomplishments and experiences as musicians.
Along with academic standing, an MMME degree can also secure salary opportunities and increase knowledge of another academic speciality for degree holders. According to a Graduate Outcomes report published by the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music, 48 percent of surveyed MMME-degree graduates earn an average annual salary of $75,000 to $99,000. Eighty-eight percent of professionals report that their salary increased after graduation.
Entry Into Doctoral Program Studies Toward Ph.D. Degrees
An MMME degree can be an important first step in continuing your music education experience and training. A master’s-level music education curriculum covers areas of focus that include the foundations of music education, music analysis and advanced music instruction, and leveraging technology for music teaching and learning.
After obtaining your MMME degree, you may be compelled to advance your music studies at the doctoral program level for example a Ph.D in music education degree. According to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), doctoral-level programs involve completing selected courses in a specific field of study, passing an oral or written qualifying examination, and completing a period of supervised research. They conclude with the submission and oral defense of a research dissertation. Additionally, professionals who pursue a Doctor of Music Arts (DMA) degree must perform a series of recitals.
Upon completion of a doctoral music education program, you can be positioned to pursue teaching opportunities at colleges and universities. Tenure-track positions include assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors, which can often lead to distinguished professors or endowed chairs, according to CareersinMusic.com. This increase in professional ranking can also connect to increases in professional salaries.
“Positions at the university and college level are extremely competitive,” noted music educator Raynor Carroll for CareersinMusic.com. “A doctoral degree is necessary.”
Music Research Opportunities
Professional with an MMME degree may choose to venture out of teaching. Some individuals choose instead to immerse themselves in the work of music research, often in a particular area of interest.
For example, the NAMM Foundation, which supports grants, scholarships, and funds for music making and music education research, recognizes that “research expands understanding about the impact of music making and music education, the importance of music at every state of life, and the relationship between music and physical and emotional wellness.” The foundation’s music research grant opportunities have included the following:
- Examining the role of music education in the lives of school-age children, schools, and communities
- Examining the role of active participation in music for children, youth, adults, and seniors who are not in a formal educational setting
- Exploring the effects of hands-on music making toward cognition, development, learning, and psychological and biological responses
Coursework through an MMME degree program can help students identify an area of research that interests them. An MMME degree program can give students access to leading researchers and teachers in the field, as well as open opportunities to study alongside professors while conducting research and submitting research for review by and publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Advocate for Music Education
As noted by NAfME, school districts nationwide face reductions or eliminations of their music education programs. NAfME recognizes the needs for music education in schools as ways to “offer a multitude of invaluable benefits for students ranging from collaboration and communication skills, creativity, self-expression, and leadership to improved academic outcomes.”
Through academic preparation toward an MMME degree, professionals can strengthen their music advocacy skills as part of their professional career development, particularly when it comes to exposure to current research on music education. The League of American Orchestras believes that advocacy is part of everyone’s job description, no matter what role people may occupy in professional music associations and organizations.
In a past issue of its Symphony publication, the League recognized the importance of using current research to build a case for music advocacy: “Sound research that demonstrates the positive influence of the arts on academic performance can get you the ear of a policymaker, even if the point you want to make about the benefits of music is much more complex.”
Music Education Administrator
Ultimately, music teachers who work within public school districts or private schools follow curriculum outlined by a district’s or school’s music education administrator. While music education administrators remain involved in directly providing musical education to students, the primary duties of a music education administrator involve overseeing and directing other music educators under their supervision as well as creating and developing their school’s or district’s overall music education curriculum, according to the NAMM Foundation.
Additionally, music education administrators are responsible for ordering materials, providing evaluation and guidance for music teachers under their supervision, collaborating with the school’s or district’s administration for budgets, and coordinating cocurricular musical activities.
An MMME degree can help educational administrators prepare for this career opportunity by enhancing their communication and overall advocacy skills, furthering an understanding of the latest technologies impacting students and teachers, and introducing them to current research and assessment analysis techniques on music education.
If you’re ready to discover these career opportunities in music education today, explore the online Master of Music in music education (MMME) degree program at Kent State University’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music.
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