25 Best Online Masters in Music Education [2021 Guide]

If you have a passion for music and you love sharing it through teaching, then earning a masters in music education online may be a good path for you to consider.

Masters in Music Education

Perhaps you’re looking for the salary increase that accompanies a master’s degree. Or, perhaps you want to open doors to new ideas and competencies as you learn about networking and improved methodologies for your music teaching career.

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Designed for the working music educator, an online masters in music education­ program allows you to take the next step in your educational journey without compromising your commitments to your job, family, and community.

Online Masters in Music Education

Music Teacher teaching a student to play guitar

A master’s program in music education focuses on reading, research, and hands-on learning experiences that delve into many aspects of music education.

The music courses you completed for your bachelor’s degree most likely focused on developing musicianship, applied performance skills, and knowledge of music history, theory, and technology.

In contrast to those courses, a music education masters program explores overarching concepts in music education to help you expand and develop as a professional. As you explore the philosophical and historical underpinnings of contemporary music education, you may be enlightened about your own teaching methods.

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Through research and reading about the psychological, sociological, and cultural aspects of music teaching and learning, you may also develop improved teaching skills that benefit your students. Additionally, you might learn new strategies for conducting, using music technology, teaching global music, and more.

A master’s degree in music education may provide you with greater earning potential. It may also give you an edge if you’re seeking employment in a new music teaching position.

Additionally, earning a traditional or online masters degree in education may allow you to move into a supervisory position as a lead teacher, department chairperson, or instructional coordinator.

Music Education Careers & Salaries

Music Education Careers & Salaries

Music educators who hold a Master of Music Education may teach on all grade levels and in a variety of settings. You may be a general music teacher in grades K-12. You may also seek self-employment, teaching early childhood music classes through franchises.

Other potential job opportunities include working as a band director, choral director, or orchestra director in middle schools, high schools, and postsecondary institutions. You may consider directing community ensembles or teaching instrumental or vocal music performance in private studios or businesses as well.

Here is a list of 10 jobs for music educators. The median annual salaries are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Music Video Producer $76,400
Music Professor $69,690
Lyricist $67,120
Instructional Coordinator $66,970
High School Music Teacher $62,870
Middle School Music Teacher $60,810
Orchestra Conductor $55,580
Composer $52,250
Recreational Therapist $47,710
Music Minister $45,540

Working on your master’s degree in music education provides an opportunity for you to hone your skills as a music teacher, and the completed degree gives you enhanced professional credentials.

In some cases, K-12 music teachers with a master’s degree may move up into teaching at postsecondary institutions, such as colleges or universities. Tenure-track positions, though, generally require a doctorate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average of 6% job growth for music education careers over the next decade. This projection is above the average job growth for careers in all sectors of US employment.

Music Education Masters Curriculum & Courses

The courses you’ll take to complete your master’s degree may help you dig deeper into the “how” and “why” of teaching music. These courses may also give you a more comprehensive view of music education as a profession.

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Here are examples of courses that you may typically find in an online masters program for musical education:

  • History and Philosophy of Music Education: This course helps you understand contemporary music education curriculum and instructional methods in relation to the history, development, and philosophical thought related to music education in the US.
  • Psychology and Sociology of Music Teaching and Learning: This course will explore contemporary issues in psychology, sociology, and culture as they relate to music education.
  • Contemporary Trends in Music Education: You’ll focus on 21st century issues related to policy, advocacy, and curriculum decisions in music education.
  • Curriculum Design and Implementation in Music Education: In this course you’ll investigate the application of philosophical, psychological, and sociological factors to the development and implementation of music curricula.
  • Graduate-Level Music Theory and Analysis: This course reviews bachelor-level music theory and applies it to music analysis through listening and notation.
  • Music Technology: This course includes hands-on learning and practice in the use of technologies that support music education, such as MIDI, sequencing, recording, computer-based notation, and music instruction software.
  • Pedagogy in Music Technology: Methods and materials for teaching music technology in a pre-K-12 music curriculum are covered in this course.
  • Music Notation Software: You’ll learn to develop advanced skills for composing and arranging in the latest music notation software programs.
  • Arranging for Jazz and Pop Music: You’ll use standard notation and jazz or pop harmonic language to arrange and perform music taken from lead sheets.
  • Qualitative Research and Scholarly Writing: In this course you’ll learn and practice qualitative research methods, including interviews and observations, transcribing, coding, and interpreting qualitative data for presentation in a scholarly paper.

The knowledge you gain from your program’s coursework may lead you to become more innovative in your approach to teaching practices, curriculum design, and instructional program development.

Admissions Requirements

Music Education student studying at home

After you choose a college or university for your online masters in music education, you’ll need to apply for admission. Here is a list of typical admission requirements similar to those of other masters programs like a masters in ethnomusicology.

  • Transcripts: You may be required to send in your transcripts from all the colleges you attended as an undergraduate.
  • Bachelor’s degree: A bachelors in music or music education is often required. Some schools require a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Letters of recommendation: You may need to send in one or more letters of recommendation, depending on the school and program.
  • Video sample: A video of yourself teaching a music class or lesson or conducting an ensemble rehearsal may be requested. Video stipulations could vary depending on the type of program you’re applying to.

Some programs may require a written essay or other sample of your writing. A video interview might be required as well.

Accreditation

Online Masters in Music Education Accreditation

While you’re shopping around for an online masters program in music education, you may want to keep an eye out for a program’s accreditation status.

An institution that holds regional accreditation will have received its accreditation from one of the following accrediting organizations:

You may also want to consider whether  a prospective music department holds accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). This accreditation is a seal of approval for any online music degree program that meets their standards.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Masters in Music Education Financial Aid

One of the big questions you may need to consider as you enroll in graduate school is how you’re going to finance your degree.

Fortunately, financial aid is available to qualifying students in the form of loans, grants, merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, military or veteran assistance, and tuition assistance from employers.

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You may decide to start by visiting the Federal Student Aid website. You can find out what financial assistance might be available to you by filling out the FAFSA form on the website. If you’re a working music educator, you might be eligible for financial assistance from your local school system or from your state department of education.

You may also want to search for any scholarships given by alumni associations, civic organizations, non-profit groups, and churches.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Music Education?

Online Music Teacher teaching elementary students

With a master’s in music education, you can work as a music teacher in public or private schools.

Depending on your area of interest and expertise, you may teach general music for early childhood (pre-K through elementary grades) or teach on the secondary level (middle or high school). You may even teach on the postsecondary level in a college or community college.

As a music teacher, you may also work as a middle or high school director of performing groups, such as choirs, bands, orchestras, and other types of instrumental ensembles. You may even pursue a self-employed music teaching career, teaching one-on-one lessons in a studio or in a music instruction business.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Music Education Masters Degree Online?

Music Education Masters Degree student studying online

Most graduate programs require 30 to 36 graduate credit hours for a music education master’s program. The amount of time that you can devote to completing your courses is the best indicator of how long it will take you to finish the program.

If you enroll full-time, you may be able to complete the program in 1 to 2 years. If you enroll part-time, it may take approximately 2 years or more. If you want to take more courses during the summer, it may help you graduate sooner.

What Is the Best College for Music Education?

Music Education student studying at home

When you’re trying to make a decision about which online master’s in music education degree program to enroll in, you may want to keep these factors in mind.

Institutions that are accredited are well respected in the professional world. You may want to consider colleges and universities that are regionally accredited as well as music schools or departments that are accredited by NASM.

If you want to know more about a school’s music education faculty, you could investigate to see if they’ve published any pertinent research articles in music education journals.

Reading reviews and talking to other music educators about their experiences with a particular faculty, school, and program may also help you decide which one is best for you.

You may want to consider a program’s flexibility and convenience with coursework scheduling as well. You may even be able to find a school’s track record for providing online classes with ease of navigation and communication.

Is a Masters in Music Education Worth It?

Music Teacher teaching students during Music class

Yes, a Masters in Music Education is worth it for many students. In the education, training, and library field, jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 5% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Common music education careers in this field include instructional coordinator for music or fine arts, music minister, as well as pre-K and elementary music teacher, high school and middle school music teacher, and postsecondary music teacher.

In addition to helping you improve your skills and understanding for your current music teaching career, a music education master’s can serve as preparation for continued graduate work to pursue a PhD or Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education.

If you’re particularly interested in postsecondary teaching, you may want to consider going on to receive your doctorate.

Universities Offering Online Master’s in Music Education Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Adams State University

Adams State University campus

Adams State University’s Master of Arts in Music Education program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and can be completed online in 2 years. The diverse curriculum contains topics in world music and culture, jazz and rock, American music history, and music literature.

Adams State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Anderson University

Anderson University campus

Students in the Master of Music in Music Education program at Anderson University will take 15 credits in music education, as well as 15+ additional credits in music history, theory, and performance, and education-related electives. Students will develop portfolios and take comprehensive exams, both written and oral, at the end of the program.

Anderson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Ball State University

Ball State University campus

The 30 credit Master of Music in Music Education program from Ball State University is designed specifically for current music educators who want to pursue their graduate degrees online without having to give up their full-time jobs. The curriculum features a blend of courses in music performance, history, and theory.

Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Boston University

Boston University campus

Boston University’s Master of Music in Music Education program requires 32 credits for completion and can potentially be completed in only 18 months.

Students will examine the importance of music from the psychological, sociological, and philosophical viewpoints. Other courses focus on the current problems and issues currently hindering music education.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University campus

Students interested in music education at Bowling Green State University can enroll in the Master of Music Education program and select the teaching artistry specialization, which can be largely customized as well as completed 100% online. The program has been optimized for summer start dates and can be completed in 15 months.

Bowling Green State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University campus

Campbellsville University, recently ranked fourth in Most Affordable Christian Colleges by Christian Universities Online. offers a Master of Music in Music Education program that is accredited by the NASM and can be completed in 2 years. The curriculum focuses on music throughout the ages, including courses in Medieval, Renaissance, 19th-century, classical, and Baroque music.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Eastern Illinois University

eastern illinois university campus

Eastern Illinois University offers an online Master of Arts in Music along with a concentration in Music Education. It’s a flexible, affordable program, and EIU doesn’t charge out-of-state tuition for online programs. The goal of the program is to allow music teachers to learn new techniques and improve their teaching skills.

Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of College and Schools.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

In addition to its Bachelor of Music program, Florida International University also has a Master of Science in Music Education program. It has a highly customized curriculum and allows students to narrow their focus into particular areas of interest. Students can also choose between a thesis and capstone project.

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgia College and State University

Georgia College and State University campus

Georgia College and State University’s music education masters program combines a liberal arts education with the courses needed to provide music educators with advanced professional and content-area skills and knowledge.

Teachers who work in elementary schools, choral groups, or as instrumental instructors can take specialized courses designed just for them.

Georgia College & State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University campus

The Master of Music Education program at Illinois State University allows students to learn about music education in the broader sense while letting them choose specialized areas of interest that make up the bulk of their elective coursework. These concentrations include applied instrumental or vocal lessons, education administration, and conducting.

Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Students enrolled in Liberty University’s Master of Arts in Music Education program can transfer half of the required 39 credits for completion from another program. Liberty runs courses in 8 week sessions and doesn’t require a residency component. The curriculum is NASM approved and focuses on music education, music, and research studies.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University campus

Lindenwood University’s Master of Music Education program is designed for current music teachers to build on their current knowledge bases, learn new techniques, and improve their teaching capabilities. The program doesn’t lead to teaching licensure, but it does allow educators to dive more deeply into contemporary issues, conducting, and research.

Lindenwood University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

North Greenville University

North Greenville University campus

North Greenville University’s music education masters program is beneficial for non-educators hoping to earn a music education degree and a valid teaching licensure. The degree requires 30 credits and is generally earned in 18 months. There are five start dates yearly, and courses run for only 8 weeks.

North Greenville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Northern State University

Northern State University campus

Northern State University’s Master of Music Education program is a 30 credit program in which all coursework can be completed online.

Students are required, though, to spend one week each summer on campus. It features a practice-oriented curriculum with courses in performance practices, pedagogy, music education management, and music theory.

Northern State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ohio University

Ohio University campus

The Master of Music Education program at Ohio University can be taken on-campus or online. In the online program, students will learn to apply effective strategies for student learning, become respected leaders, become effective writers concerning the evolving field of music education, and conduct, interpret, and apply music education research.

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University campus

Students in Southern Utah University’s music education masters program will be required to meet on-campus for 3 week-long sessions during the summer, but the rest of their work can be completed online. Of the required 30 credits, 10 are elective credits that students can select to mirror their specific interests.

Southern Utah University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University campus

The 36 credit music education masters program at Tarleton State University can be completed in one of three ways. Students can take all 36 credits in 12 regular courses, or they can take 10 regular courses and choose to undertake a 6 credit thesis or a 6 credit curriculum project.

Tarleton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Students in Texas Tech University’s Master of Music Education program can earn a 36 credit non-thesis degree or a 30 credit thesis degree.

Courses are made up of three required music education courses, one music theory course, one musicology course, and additional elective courses related to students’ areas of focus.

Texas Tech University is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

University of Florida offers a 100% online, NASM accredited Master of Music Education program designed for current educators looking to learn more about the field and improve their own teaching skills.

The program boasts a contemporary, hands-on curriculum that helps students become familiar with the most up-to-date digital tools and technology.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

University of Georgia offers a music education masters program through its Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

The program doesn’t lead to teaching licensure. It’s designed instead for current educators. Concentrations are available in three areas: instrumental music, choral, and general music education. Courses focus on mentorship, research, and curriculum design.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Nebraska – Kearney

University of Nebraska at Kearney campus

University of Nebraska – Kearney offers a Master of Arts in Education. Students can enroll in this program and select the music minor to gain an advanced degree in music education. The faculty is composed of professors whose backgrounds are in both music and education, and the curriculum is highly customizable.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus

Students in the music education masters program at University of North Carolina at Greensboro will be able to improve their creative, teaching, and scholarly skills and techniques in the oldest program of its kind in the entire UNC system. The online program is also less expensive than its on-campus counterpart.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of South Florida

University of South Florida campus

The online Master of Arts in Music Education program at University of South Florida features a unique, diverse curriculum that teaches participants about effectively conducting research, about alternative pedagogical techniques as they relate to music, and about managing and participating in collaborative peer-research groups.

The program requires 30 total credits for completion.

USF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi campus

University of Southern Mississippi offers a music education masters program that adheres to the highest quality and standards set by the NASM. Courses in the curriculum include a mixture of music- and education-related courses. Some of the required courses include music education curriculum development, education research designs, and music history.

The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia campus

University of West Georgia’s Master of Music in Music Education program is designed for professionals looking to improve their teaching, curriculum design, and overall music education skills or for students hoping to continue on to doctoral programs. Required courses include music history and literature, music theory, and factors of music learning.

The University of West Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Master’s in Music Education Online

Master’s in Music Education student studying in a cafe

If you’re a busy music educator, or if you’ve recently completed your bachelors and want to get your masters before launching your career, then getting your masters in music education online might be a strategic option for you to consider.

Online learning allows you the flexibility to continue meeting your current obligations while you increase your professional knowledge and skills through an accredited masters degree program.

While every graduate program requires a level of time, concentration, and effort, you may find it to be an enormously enriching experience.

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Carol Benton
WRITTEN BY
Carol Benton
Carol is a retired college professor in the field of music education. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Shenandoah University, a Master of Music in piano performance and a Bachelor of Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Carol has many years of experience as a teacher and academic advisor for undergraduates.