Music Education (Instrumental or Choral)

Learn to teach music effectively to every child, regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, socioeconomic status or ability.

Music Education

Program Description

It is our mission to help outstanding students become excellent music educators.

Music teacher education at the University of Memphis is based on one important yet simple premise: every child, regardless of background or circumstances, should have the best possible musical experiences in school and in their community. To that end, it is our objective to instill in the prospective educator the ability to teach music effectively to every child regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, or ability. Our approach blends cutting-edge research insights and practical teaching techniques, encouraging students to seek, evaluate, and appropriately implement proven strategies and new innovations in music teaching and learning. We take pride in the warm, family-like atmosphere we cultivate among participants in our degree programs.

Our undergraduate program exposes students to a variety of teaching techniques, learning structures, and academic environments through hands-on field experiences (preschool through secondary level) and a year-long residency (student teaching) internship. Students can choose a choral or instrumental (winds, brass, percussion, strings) emphasis, and we also welcome students who specialize in popular, indigenous, and/or digital music-making. Our Master's degrees are primarily designed for practicing music educators who wish to further their studies, refine their teaching approaches, and develop skills in research. We are proud to offer both an Online Master of Music in Music Education and the nation's only Master of Music in Orff Schulwerk. We also collaborate with the College of Education to offer the Master of Arts in Teaching, which is designed for students who have already earned a Bachelor's degree in music but need teaching licensure. Last, we are the only university in Tennessee that offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education, which prepares advanced students to become researchers, music teacher educators, and leaders at the state, national, and international level. You can read more about our graduate programs here. 

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music: Music Education - Choral
  • Bachelor of Music: Music Education - Instrumental
  • Master of Music: Music Education
  • Master of Music: Orff-Schulwerk
  • Master of Arts in Teaching: Music Education K-12 (via the College of Education)
  • Doctoral: Music Education

To be admitted, students must complete an application for the University of Memphis at-large, a SECOND application to the School of Music, and an audition.

BM Music Education (Instrumental or Choral) Entry Requirements

Meet the following academic requirements:


Must meet a qualifying multiplier score:

  • 60 (based on best ACT Composite x High School GPA)
  • 3060 (based on best SAT Total score x High School GPA)


  • Must transfer with and maintain academic standards required by Provisional TEP and Residency Programs (2.75 GPA)
  • Must have maintained a B or higher in applied lessons at prior institutions
  • Possess ACT composite score of 21 or higher:
    • If the ACT score is 20 or less, you must take and pass the Praxis Academic Core exam

Respond to the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to be a music educator?
  2. Who or what may have inspired your decision to become a music educator?
  3. What specific skills and/or personality traits do you possess that may contribute to your success as a music educator?

Option #1: Compose a written essay: 

  • 12 point Times New Roman font;
  • single-spaced;
  • one-inch margins;
  • minimum 500 words;
  • Save your essay as a Word or PDF file and upload it to your School of Music application.

Option #2: Create a Video using these guidelines:

  • use the video sharing platform of your choice (e.g., YouTube, Dropbox, Vimeo, etc.);
  • speak directly to the camera so viewers can see your face;
  • address each of the above three questions separately and thoroughly;
  • your video should be a minimum of 2.5 minutes in length;
  • share the link to your video in your School of Music application

Submit TWO recommendations

In your music application, you will list the name and email address of two (2) people who will submit a recommendation on your behalf

Audition and be accepted by applied faculty on an instrument or voice.

MM/PhD Entry Requirements

Items to submit with the U of M Graduate School application include:

  1. Sealed, official transcripts sent from your colleges/universities
  2. Standardized test scores are NOT required

Items to submit with your School of Music admissions application include:

  1. Writing sample  - A thesis, term paper, or other example of academic writing
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Names and email addresses of two recommenders
  4. Proof of current teacher licensure in music

Select the degree plan below that corresponds with your instrument and degree to find the required courses and recommended timeline for degree completion.

Undergraduate degrees:

Graduate degrees: