Masters in Ed vs. Music Ed
June 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm #6715
This topic was popular on the old forums (http://188.8.131.52/forums/viewtopic.php?id=2818).
MissK opened the conversation:
‘m looking into starting my master’s degree next summer. Those of you with your masters, do you have it in Music Education or Education (or possibly something completely different?)?
I ask because I think a music ed degree would be more practical to my teaching (duh), but in talking with some other teachers, they asked, “What more do you need to know?” and recommended getting a masters in education because it would be quicker/easier for the pay bump. I feel like I’d be getting my masters for the knowledge, and the pay bump would be a bonus.
I’ll post some of the responses. Let’s keep the conversation going.
NAfME StaffJune 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm #6716
A response from “thoughtful”:
I am a strong proponent of a music education masters degree. If your life situation (kids, etc.) require you to get a degree quick and easy for the pay bump, than no one will fault you for getting such a degree. Most people I have talked to who obtain a music education masters say that they learn as much or more from their classmates than they do from the content of their coursework. So think of who your classmates will be. Do you want to debate philosophy and curriculum with people who are out to get a quick and easy degree, or do you want to have these discussions with people who are devoted enough to take a more difficult road? There are some great people who decide to get the quick and easy degree, for various reasons, but these are the exception rather than the norm.
If you decide on the music education masters, then there is the question of summers-only vs. academic year, and the question of which university to attend. Here are two good sources to get you started that talk about the summers-only vs. academic year options:
1. Conway, C., Eros, J., & Stanley, A. M. (2008). Summers-only versus the academic year master of music in music education degree: Perceptions of program graduates. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education , vol. 178, 21-34. [this in only available in print, but you could get it interlibrary loan.]
2. Fredrickson, William. (2008). Epiphany. Journal of Music Teacher Educaiton, vol.18(1). 3-5. [this one is available on the MENC website.]
I hope this is helpful to you.June 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm #6717
Christine Nowmos added:
I got my masters in music ed, and I learned SO much in my coursework that I did not learn as part of my undergraduate program. Depending on the school, you can tailor your degree to fit your personal teaching situation or interests – for example, West Chester U. where I got my masters has an option of choosing a concentration in Kodaly or Orff methodology, technology, research, applied performance, etc. – you have the bulk of your credits in the area of your choosing, depending on what you think you would use most in your teaching area, plus a few required courses that all masters in music ed. students must take and room for a few electives. Even the required courses were personally/professionally beneficial – the research techniques course gave us info specifically about music ed journals and periodicals and what would be the best means of choosing a research topic that would benefit our teaching situation (I don’t know if a prof who had never taught music would be able to give guidance that would be as helpful); the philosophy course dealt with philosophy of teaching music and different approaches (which can get a lot more specific than a general overall education course might); and current trends course dealt with issues in music education (and the professor was able to gear projects towards stuff that we as music teachers said we had concerns about in our current jobs, and we were able to share strategies as music teachers–so it was topics that benefited the majority of the students rather than more general topics that really weren’t of specific help to anybody). If I’d taken just a general masters in ed course, I don’t know that I would have gotten nearly as much out of it– and there’s nothing I hate more than doing a lot of work towards something that I’m not going to able to really use. I would not be as good a teacher as I am today if I missed out on the 18 credits of Kodaly methodology that I took as part of my MM in Music Ed. If I’d gone for a M.Ed., I might only have been able to take a couple of those classes. It took me 6 years and was totally worth it–I’d definitely do it again, no matter how long it took (though, the university did give us a 6 year limit for completing the degree!).September 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm #13073
I’m glad to read in this topic. I’d like to continue my education and plan to do a summer Master in Music Ed. My question is how to find an appropriate school.
I have been teaching for 6 years and am 50 years old. I chose teaching in mid-life, obviously. I wish to continue to grow personally as I think it would help to make me a better teacher and possibly open new doors (perhaps teaching some at the college level?)
What advice can you give me about choosing a grad school?October 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm #13251
You might find some good information on the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) website:
Also check out NAfME’s Career Center Resources page (http://musiced.nafme.org/careers/career-center/resources/) and the article, “A Question of Degree Has More than One Answer,” in the January 2012 issue of Teaching Music magazine. It discusses what subject to choose for a master’s degree.
The Summer Study section we run in each April issue of Teaching Music magazine lists details about summer music programs.
Linda Brown, NAfME staffOctober 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm #13277
Choosing a grad school can be challenging, but the summer study issue of TM might be a great place to start. You might also talk to colleagues and others in your area and ask them about their experiences. Many of the students who come to our graduate program come to us by word of mouth! I would look over the websites very carefully to see if the coursework suits your needs and interests. For example, look for a degree program that offers a “concentration” in the area of interest. Many schools offer what is described by Linda. For some people cost, location, and the availability of loans and other financial aid can play a factor. After you have your search narrowed down using those criteria, make some phone calls and send some emails to the people and places that are of interest to you. I think you can learn a lot about programs based upon those conversations as well.
DougOctober 24, 2012 at 10:54 am #14305
When choosing a school to pursue a masters degree, it is important to understand the purpose of the masters program you are applying for… Some schools have research-oriented degree programs that prepare you to go on to earn a doctorate, while others provide a more practical, hands-on approach that some teachers prefer. In addition, some schools offer degrees that may be earned over the course of several summers, which allows you to keep teaching in your current position, while others require that you become a full-time student. One advantage of attending full-time os the possibility of graduate research/teaching assistantships, which often provide tuition/stipends to offset the cost of pursuing your degree.
When deciding the type of degree or the specific university, it is helpful to have an idea of where you want to go next/why you want to obtain the degree. It is also important to talk with faculty at the school to find out where their degree program lies in this spectrum to make sure that the program is a good fit for your future needs.December 15, 2012 at 2:34 am #16900
I got my masters in education, rather than music ed. I can see why some might think it is easier to go the ed.m route, but I personally disagree with that notion. Because I am a musician, I don’t find studying music to be particularly hard – challenging, yes, but it is something I love and identify with. Pursuing a masters in education taught me about literacy, about curricula, about assessment in a way that many music programs just won’t.
Furthermore, if you have the chops to get a B.A. in music, you probably have the tools to learn much about what you will study in grad school through your own independent study, incessant networking, and research.October 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm #29734
I hold an M.M., with major in music education, NOT an M.M.E. Difference? Lotsa music history-theory, performance. The university I attended included conducting within the M.M. program, so that’s what I took. I have found what I learned in the coursework has served me very well in teaching and conducting.
Check out a few universities online and compare what they require for an M.Ed. with an M.M.E. I think the M.Ed. may include more courses from the College of Education, and the M.M.Ed might include more courses in the Music Department or College of Music.
Carl SmithFebruary 15, 2016 at 9:36 pm #80466
As someone who is a few months from finishing my Master’s in Music Education, here are my thoughts. First off, if your undergraduate degree is in music education, there will undoubtedly be significant overlap between the classes offered to graduates and undergraduates. This is a pro and a con, in that each school is different and has their particular focuses, ie. one might have a stronger Kodaly focus, but not have a lot of expertise in Gordon etc, so retaking some core classes helps to give a broader picture. This could also feel like busy work if you’ve already done everything. With my degree, I am taking at least one education course per semester, and those are often the ones that, while useful, are not always the most practical as they are geared for all the education majors and it is up to us to figure how to apply it to music, art, gym etc. With the music education degree you also will be more focused on the music life, access to the music resources easier, and access to the music faculty. If that’s something that excites you, it is a big pro.
I think if you’ve already got the mindset of getting masters for the information, then you have your answer. You’ll have access to more materials, teachers, musicians, music lessons, music classes, and even ensembles if you find extra time… somehow. Good luck!
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