Master of Music: Music Education

Program Overview

Unlike many other schools, Westminster's music education majors participate fully in the college's programs and enjoy the same studio and ensemble experiences as other majors. The program aims to develop teachers who can serve as advocates for music in schools, design programs that meet national standards, integrate music into curriculum and promote critical thinking, acting and feeling in the music classroom. 

The M.M. program is designed for students who wish to major in music education with a concentration in applied music or composition. It is generally expected that students interested in the Master of Music program will hold state teaching certification and will have taught for at least one year prior to initial enrollment at Westminster. Applicants are sometimes accepted without this experience, but the Music Education Department reserves the right to require that a year of successful teaching be completed before the Master of Music degree in this major field is granted. Applicants must complete an audition as part of the admission process.  

The Master of Music degree in music education does not itself include courses leading to New Jersey certification; applicants should therefore normally possess certificates before beginning master’s work.

The Master of Music program reflects the Westminster philosophy that the music educator must be a fully capable musician. Consequently, there is a decided emphasis on performance or composition in the curriculum. The professional sequence of courses conjoins philosophy of music education, psychology of music learning and praxis. The course content is presented in the context of post-modern critical theory and connects to the social, cultural and political tensions found in schooling.  Students acquire habits of mind to challenge the status quo and complete the program as agents of change—advocating a critical pedagogy for music education that is transformational.

Curriculum Overview

The degree is for those who hold an undergraduate degree in music education and a teaching certificate. Students may not earn teacher certification in this degree program.

Courses include the history and philosophy of music education, curriculum development and evaluation, psychology for music teachers and an internship in music education. Areas of emphasis are performance or composition.

Music Education Courses Online

The following music education courses are offered in traditional (fall, spring and summer terms) and online formats throughout the year. The online versions may be offered in 13-week, 8-week and 3-week formats. Students in the MM, MME or BM/MAT programs may take either the traditional or online format to complete their degree. Students in other degree programs may take these courses as free electives:

ME 685Research in Music Education3
ME 692Hist & Phil of Music Educ3
ME 693Seminar in Music Educ3
ME 721Curric Development & Eval3
ME 723Psychology for Music Tchr3

The following courses are offered by the College of Continuing Studies and may be used as electives in graduate music education programs. They are taught quarterly, online in 8-week modules throughout the year:

CP600     Creative Practices in Music Teaching and Learning
CP620     Creative Practices in Vocal Science
CP640     Creative Practices in Choral Pedagogy
CP660     Creative Practices in Classroom

Degrees Offered

  • M.M. in Education

Contact

Al Holcomb, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education
Taylor 11
609-921-7100, ext. 8104
aholcomb@rider.edu

Program Website:  Westminster Choir College Graduate Programs
Associated Department:  Department of Music Education

Related Programs

  • Composition
  • Choral conducting
  • Master of Music Education (M.M.E.)

Faculty

Al Holcomb (chair) • Associate Professor, Music Education, and Chair of Music Education, 2011. B.A., B.M.E., Texas Christian University; M.M.E., Ph.D., The Hartt School.
Ellen Abrahams • Adjunct Instructor, Music Education, 2003.  B.M.E., Temple University.
Frank Abrahams • Professor, Music Education, 1992. B.M.E., Temple University; M.M., New England Conservatory; Ed.D., Temple University.
Janet Cape • Assistant Professor, Music Education, 2010.  B.M., University of Victoria; M.M., Arizona State University; D.M.A., Arizona State University.
James Maher • Adjunct Instructor, Music Education, 2012.  B.M., Westminster Choir College of Rider University; M.A.T., Rider University.
Sharon Morrow • Associate Professor, Music Education, 2008.  B.F.A., California State University at Fullerton; M.M., University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Colin M. Oettle • Adjunct Instructor, Music Education, 2013. B.M., Ithaca College; M.M., Rutgers University.
Marshall Onofrio • Professor, Music Education, 2007.  B.M., B.S., University of Connecticut; M.M., University of Illinois; M.M., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; D.M.A., The Ohio State University. 

This program is designed for students who wish to focus in music education with a concentration in applied music or composition. The degree is for those who hold an undergraduate degree in music education and a teaching certificate. Students may NOT earn teacher certification in this degree program.

Learn more about General Graduate Requirements.

Major Area
ME 692Hist & Phil of Music Educ 13
ME 721Curric Development & Eval3
ME 723Psychology for Music Tchr3
ME 791Internship in Music Teaching 23
Area of Emphasis
Select one of the following groups:9-12
Performance group
Voice Primary (3 terms)
Piano Primary
Organ Primary
Literature elective in primary field
Composition group
Composition Primary (3 terms)
TH 726Analysis3
Core
MH 731Intro to Musicology3
CR 509Symphonic Choir (2 terms)2
Theory or Music History elective (1 course)3
Core elective 43
Electives
Free electives3
Total Credits38-41

Notes

1

Graduates of the Westminster baccalaureate music education program may petition to substitute another graduate course for ME 692. The department, if granting approval, will specify acceptable course alternatives.

2

Those who have had significant teaching experience in American schools may petition to substitute another graduate course for ME 791. The department, if granting approval, will specify acceptable course alternatives.

3

For composition primary students, TH 625, Composition Class, may be required if it is felt that class work in composition is needed prior to private study.

4

The core elective must be a single, 3-credit graduate-level course outside the student’s major area, area of emphasis, and/or area of applied study.

5

The Master of Music degree with a concentration in Music Education does not lead to New Jersey Teacher Certification. At the graduate level, students interested in certification should apply for admission to the Master of Music Education (M.M.E.) program.

6

Students in this degree program complete a portfolio review at the end of each year of study.

7

Following departmental approval, students are required to present a public recital on the primary instrument.

Applied Emphasis or Composition Emphasis

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
Applied Emphasis
 
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
OR 641A
Organ Primary
or Piano Primary
or Voice Primary
2
Music Theory or History elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
ME 721 Curric Development & Eval 3
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
OR 641A
Organ Primary
or Piano Primary
or Voice Primary
2
Core elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Year 2
Fall Semester
ME 692 Hist & Phil of Music Educ 3
OR 641A
Organ Primary
or Piano Primary
or Voice Primary
2
Free elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours8
Spring Semester
ME 723 Psychology for Music Tchr 3
ME 791 Internship in Music Teaching 3
Literature elective in primary 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation35
Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
Composition Emphasis
 
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
Music History or Theory elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours10
Spring Semester
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
ME 721 Curric Development & Eval 3
Core elective 3
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
 Semester Credit Hours10
Year 2
Fall Semester
ME 692 Hist & Phil of Music Educ 3
Free elective 3
TH 645A Composition Primary 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
ME 723 Psychology for Music Tchr 3
ME 791 Internship in Music Teaching 3
TH 726 Analysis 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation38

Courses and Descriptions

ME 540 Choir Train for Young Singers 3 Credits

This course focuses on children’s choirs in school, church and community. Students learn strategies to teach children good vocal technique and to build musical literacy through the study of appropriate repertoire. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching.

Prerequisite(s): Junior status.

ME 563 Art of Teaching Music III 4 Credits

Through course assignments, discussion, and clinical practice in varied school and community choral settings, course participants learn how to create meaningful elementary music experiences that foster individual success, accountability, a sense of accountability, critical thinking, independence, and life-long engagement with choral music.

Prerequisite(s): ME 262, Sophomore Review.

ME 564 Art of Teaching Music IV 4 Credits

ME 581 Praxis in Elementary Music 3 Credits

This course prepares students to teach music in elementary schools. Consistent with the department’s commitment to Critical Pedagogy for Music Education, the course covers materials and methodologies to engage young children in musical experiences that are significant, transformational, and that connect to the social context in which they teach. Students learn to write and evaluate curriculum and to integrate curriculum with academic core subjects. An off campus field experience in local elementary schools is an integral part of this course. Students must provide their own transportation to practicum sites. It is recommended that students complete Deveopmental or Educational Psychology before taking ME 581. course content, activities and experiences in this course connect to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professionsl Standards for Teaching. Music Education majors will receive priority registration for this class. A minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA is required.

Prerequisite(s): For undergraduates only; ME 171, ME 172 ME 271; two semesters of Piano Secondary, not including PI 045; TH 142.

ME 582 Praxis in Secondary Music 3 Credits

This course prepares students to teach music in secondary schools. Consistent with the department’s commitment to Critical Pedagogy for Music Education, the course covers materials and methodologies to engage middle school and high school students in musical experiences that are significant, transformational, and that connect to the social context in which they teach. Students learn to write and evaluate curriculum and to integrate curriculum with academic core subjects. An off campus field experience in local middle and high schools is an integral part of this course. Students must provide their own transportation to practicum sites. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching. It is recommended that students complete ME 581 and either Developmental or Educational Psychology before taking ME 582. Music Education majors will receive priority registration for this class.

Prerequisite(s): completion of two semesters of Piano Secondary, not including PI 045, TH 142, and a minimum 2 75 cumulative grade point average.

ME 587 Music in Special Educ 1 Credits

This course is designed to acquaint the pre-service teacher with the special needs of exceptional children in music classes. Students learn to adapt instruction to accommodate a variety of exceptionalities that are both physical and emotional. Content includes categories of special students, characteristic behaviors, mainstreaming, and classroom methodology. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching. It is recommended that student take this course before the student teaching semester.

Prerequisite(s): Senior status.

ME 588 Dalcroze Studies 2 Credits

The purpose of this elective course is to provide students with an intensive experience in eurhythmics and eurhythmics pedagogy leading to an understanding of Dalcroze’s principles regarding movement, solfège, improvisation and their uses in the classroom. An important focus of the class will be to provide an insight into kinesthetic-based learning as a conduit to inform and deepen the musical experience. Opportunities for lesson planning and curriculum development in the Dalcroze model will be offered. Students will write and present practice lessons. In addition, students will develop improvisation skills necessary to integrate eurhythmics into private applied instruction.

ME 591 Choral Music Grades 5-12 3 Credits

This course is designed to acquaint the music educator with repertoire suitable for use with middle and senior high school choral ensembles. Representative repertoire from all periods of music will be discussed, analyzed and performed in class. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching.

Prerequisite(s): Junior status.

ME 592 Creativity & Music Technology 2 Credits

Creativity and Technology in the Music Classroom is designed to prepare students to foster musical creativity using a variety of approaches and tools. In particular, students will use equipment such as digital audio workstations, MIDI controllers, microphones, and SmartBoards to facilitate rich and engaging creative experiences. Students will explore ways to structure learning experiences in response to the needs and interests of students, and will examine current thinking and trends related to the uses of creativity and technology in the music classroom.

Prerequisite(s): Junior status or permission of instructor.

ME 595 Assessing Music Learning 1 Credits

This course provides pre-service music teachers with the strategies to assess music learning. Students study various testing models and learn to write and grade traditional tests such as true/false, multiple choice and essay. In addition, students examine authentic assessment, performance assessment and portfolio assessment models. Topics such as validity, reliability, standardized tests and testing bias will be included. In addition, students will learn how to read and interpret quantitative test data and examine the literature on grading. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching. The content of this course conforms to the recommendations of the Professional Teaching Standards adopted by the State of New Jersey in 2002. In some semesters, this course may be offered in an on-line format.

Prerequisite(s): Senior status.

ME 650 Thesis 1 Credits

Independent research under faculty supervision leading to the writing of a master’s thesis. Students register for this course in every semester or summer term in which assistance is provided by the thesis advisor.

Prerequisite(s): ME 685 (preferred) or MH 731; Permission of the Chair for Music Education is required to register for this course.

ME 671 Music and Hip Hop Culture 3 Credits

ME 672 Teaching/Learning: Urban Sch 3 Credits

ME 682 Choral Music Education 3 Credits

This course is designed to assist choral music educators to improve their pedagogical effectiveness. This course will provide students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for developing comprehensive musicianship in the choral ensemble setting through the study of creating original music, responding to music, connecting to students and performing vocal/choral music with a primary focus on choral pedagogy, curriculum development, unit and rehearsal planning, programming, vocal development, program management, music literacy pedagogy, music technology and assessment.

Prerequisite(s): CR 621, ME 692, ME 721, ME 723.

ME 685 Research in Music Education 3 Credits

Intended for students in the M.M.E. and BM/MAT degree programs, this course provides students with the tools necessary to write a qualitative master’s thesis. Specific objectives include an overview of qualitative research paradigms, selecting a research topic, developing a literature review, designing an appropriate methodology and collecting and analyzing data. Additionally, students explore a broad variety of research topics in music education, specialization in a chosen research topic in music education, the ability to review music education research literature and to synthesize findings in a scholarly paper using the appropriate style manual. Students master APA and Chicago styles and complete the thesis proposal during this course. The departmental Thesis Manual is available at www.rider.edu/musiced. ME 685, 692 and 791 are offered in rotation. One course is offered every semester.

ME 686 Teaching Music in the 21st Century 3 Credits

Critical theory and critical pedagogy provide the framework for advanced study in post- modern teaching philosophies and teaching strategies as applied to music education. Techniques to engage students in diverse ways of thinking about music teaching and learning that transform both student and teacher will be presented. Always in the context of the social and political structures of schooling and the place schooling has in society, students will be empowered to create a dialoguing and problem-posing pedagogy for teaching music to children at all grade levels.

ME 690 Independent Research and Study 3 Credits

An elective course providing an opportunity to pursue a topic of special interest under the guidance of a music education faculty member. The proposal must be approved prior to registration for the course.

ME 692 Hist & Phil of Music Educ 3 Credits

The course will survey the major philosophical approaches to music education from their context in history. Relationships to developments in general education as well as the political climate of the period will be explored. A major paper investigating one of the philosophical thinkers will be required in addition to a well developed personal philosophy of music education. ME 685, 692 and 791 are offered in rotation. One course is offered every semester.

ME 693 Seminar in Music Educ 3 Credits

While the topics vary from year to year, international perspectives in music education form the foundation for this seminar.

ME 721 Curric Development & Eval 3 Credits

This course examines the relationship between curriculum theory and philosophy of music education. Through the study of traditional and contemporary models of curriculum development and evaluation, students broaden their understanding of curriculum as it impacts the learning process. Post modern theory consistent with the Department’s commitment to Critical Pedagogy for Music Education provide the focal point for the development of curricula that enhance and support quality music education. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching.

ME 723 Psychology for Music Tchr 3 Credits

This course merges the science of psychology with the teaching of music. It helps the student to understand the applications of psychological principles to the music learning process. The course will identify and discuss variables that affect a student’s learning of music. Open to all graduate students. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching.

ME 725 Teaching Instrumental Music 3 Credits

A graduate level survey of the pedagogy necessary to teach instrumental music (woodwinds, brass, string and percussion instruments) and to develop and maintain beginning string and wind ensembles. While the class will include some playing and performance, it is not designed to develop proficiency on the individual instruments. Students must demonstrate sufficient competencies to provide beginning instruction. Instruments will be available for rental. Course content, activities and experiences in this course covers New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Music and prepares students to meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teaching. Rental fee, per instrument: $20.

ME 727 Teaching College 3 Credits

This course is designed for the graduate student who will be teaching at the college level. The content combines the theory of college teaching with praxis. Topics covered include: the psychology of the undergraduate, teaching graduate students, designing a syllabus, presenting course content, strategies for student-centered learning and assessment. Whenever possible, students will have the opportunity to intern with college faculty and will observe, present demonstration lessons, be coached and mentored. Open to all graduate students.

ME 750 BM/MAT Capstone 3 Credits

Independent research leading to a completed capstone project, which may be a thesis, action research, or another project or research initiative. The project must be approved by the department.

Prerequisite(s): ME 685; Permission of the Chair for Music Education is required to register for this course.

ME 771 Critical Pedagogy for Music Ed 3 Credits

This course presents the fundamental concepts, contexts and constructs that define Critical Pedagogy for Music Education. It focuses on the application of critical theory as a philosophical perspective to inform decisions teachers make when planning instruction for their students.

ME 775 MME Capstone 1 Credits

Independent research leading to a completed capstone project, such as curriculum and assessment development, pedagogical publication or presentation, instructional materials, etc. The project must be approved by the department.

ME 791 Internship in Music Teaching 3 Credits

A field-based experience consisting of three hours per week of internship teaching at a public or private school. Students may be placed in one of the residency programs of Westminster Academy. They will work with a cooperating teacher and be supervised by the instructor of the internship. Students will meet with the instructor periodically through the semester. In addition, they will prepare and teach lessons and submit documentation to chronicle the internship experience. International students in music education are strongly encouraged to take this course. ME 685, 692 and 791 are offered in rotation. One course is offered every semester.