General music and choral music: Which specialty interests you?

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Teacher and young child
As a music educator, you’re responsible for creating a comfortable, empowering environment in which students can learn and further their passion as musicians. Understanding how to connect with students on an emotional level can help them celebrate the world of music and potentially pursue a career in the field in the future.
Some of the skills needed to excel as a music educator include patience, enthusiasm, flexibility, motivation, organization, and in-depth knowledge of general music and your specialty. Anthony Mazzocchi, a Grammy-nominated music educator writing for the Music Parents’ Guide — and later published by the National Association for Music Education — shared the following traits that make an excellent music teacher:

  • Understand how to connect to students on an emotional level.
  • Ensure students are comfortable in their learning environment.
  • Share key concepts of learning matter with students in an efficient way that works for each individual.
  • Create a strong foundation of music education with fundamental expertise.
  • Be a stern, yet respectable educator.
  • Self-assess and reflect throughout your professional music journey.


While all of these traits are found in excellent music educators, in this field, one also has the ability to specialize in either general music or choral music instruction. The two career paths differ based on personal interest and attainable goals in the field.

If you’re interested in specializing, but you’re not sure which path is right for you, read on to learn whether you should pursue the Kent State online Master of Music in music education program with a focus on general music or choral music.

How can Kent State assist general music students?

As a general music educator, you’ll share your love and appreciation for a variety of performers, styles and history of the subject with your students. At Kent State, the Master of Music in music education program teaches students about music history, theory, practice, pedagogy and application. Students who choose to focus on general music as a specialty can enroll in a variety of courses that can help shape their careers and prepare them for the working world. Some of the courses a student concentrating in general music can take include:


  • Foundations of Music Education
  • Inquiry in Music Teaching and Learning
  • America’s Music


The most important course for students following this pathway is the Advanced Studies in Teaching General Music class. Worth three credits, this course helps prospective teachers learn how to design and implement instruction by using a variety of strategies, tools and research that would work in the music classroom. Some of the content concentrations include:


  • Program development
  • General music approaches
  • Inclusion
  • Strategies for addressing national music standards
  • Curricular materials
  • Transferring theory into practice


By taking these courses, future teachers can learn how to connect with students, organize lesson plans, discover new trends in general music education and re-assess their own skills in musical practice.

How can Kent State assist choral students?

Someone interested in pursuing a career in choral music education has an ear for vocal talent and has taken the rigorous courses for teaching students how to gain insights into their technical music performance. As a choral teacher, you’ll coach students in the art of tone and pitch. At Kent State, students attending the online Master of Music in music education program can concentrate on choral music, learning the skills and knowledge needed to hone the craft of lyrical and poetic music and how to pass expertise on to future students. Those who choose to pursue choral music at Kent State can enroll in a variety of courses that can help shape their careers and prepare them for the field. Some of the classes a student concentrating in choral music can take include:


  • Inquiry in Music Teaching and Learning
  • Music Analysis
  • Music from World Cultures


Much like the general music concentration, students interested in pursuing choral studies must enroll in the Advanced Studies in Teaching Choral Music course. In this class, students will learn how to develop teaching material and instructional strategies for choral music, emphasizing in lyrical structure, rehearsal procedures, analytical techniques and more. Throughout the course, students will learn a variety of choral methods that can set them up for success in any classroom setting, ranging between elementary grade levels and senior year of high school.

How Kent State can help you pursue both pathways in music

Whether you’re interested in general or choral music, the online Master of Music in music education program at Kent State can prepare you to excel in your profession. With our dual-focused curriculum, you can customize your coursework in general, choral or even instrumental music. You can graduate with the tools and skills to improve classroom planning and instruction, and become an advocate for communication and leadership in music. More importantly, you can learn how to form deeper emotional connections with students. Developing these skills in either music specialty allows you to prepare yourself for a changing industry, providing flexibility and security as a music educator.
Are you interested in pursuing the Kent State online Master of Music in music education? Visit or call 1-888-989-7072 to speak with an enrollment advisor today.


Recommended Readings:

Classes you can take in Kent State’s music education graduate program

What is a Master of Music in Music Education Online Degree?



Lifelong learning for music educators – NAfME
Choral teacher shares the uniqueness of music with students – NAfME
ONet Online
Kent State MMME
What makes a great music teacher – NAfME
What makes a great music teacher – Music Parents Guide
American Choral Directors Association



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