Illinois State University is the largest teacher training institution in Illinois, and music faculty cooperate closely with professors in the College of Education. All faculty involved in music education have had extensive public school experience. Music education faculty are involved with public school personnel as clinicians, speakers, and student teacher supervisors.
Music education students take a combination of General Education, professional, and music courses. The final phase of the program involves the formal internship period known as student teaching. Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Music Education, students are certified to teach music in grades K-12 in Illinois. There are four sequences in music education, each with its own plan of study: choral-general-vocal, choral-general-keyboard, instrumental band, and instrumental orchestra.
For more information on degree requirements, course descriptions, etc. see the undergraduate catalogue.
Music Education Frequently Asked Questions
How are student teaching placements decided?
The music education faculty consider geographical placement requests along with the students' preference for type of job they hope to get upon graduation. Since the Illinois teacher certificate is K-12, music students are assigned to both elementary and secondary placements. Placements extend as far south as Springfield and into the northern suburbs of Chicago.
What if I don't know what I want to teach yet?
One of the best things about the Illinois State music education degree is the amount of time you spend teaching. We have on-campus laboratory schools that enable our students to implement everything they learn in their methods courses. For example, all students take MUS 262 - Elementary General Music Methods where they receive instruction about teaching children to play instruments and then teach their own class of students at the lab school for 10 lessons. All of this happens before student teaching.
Cooperating teachers in the student teaching experience consistently say that Illinois State student teachers come to them prepared and comfortable teaching children. As an Illinois State student you experience teaching instrumental, choral, and general music to all ages of students before you student teach. This helps you to know what you want to teach.
I'm not sure if I really want to teach music. I would rather perform but need something to fall back on in case performing doesn't work out. Should I pursue a music education major?
Although there is a nation-wide music teacher shortage, you should not go into teaching unless you truly love teaching children. It is a big investment of time to become a teacher. The teaching profession is very rewarding but requires dedication and commitment to qualify education and children.
What kinds of requirements are there to become a teacher other than taking coursework?
All Illinois teachers must pass tests in basic skills like reading, writing, math, music education, history, theory, teaching literacy, and technology. Criminal background checks are required before student teaching, along with a TB test. ISU also requires technology proficiency.
Who decides if I am admitted to the music education program?
First you must apply to the University Admissions Office. Then you must pass your classical music audition for the School of Music. Though you are admitted to the Bachelor of Music Education, you are not admitted to Professional Studies until you complete several musical and non-musical requirements that include piano proficiency, maintaining a 2.75 GPA, passing the Basic Skills test and other College of Education requirements. Once you are admitted to Professional Studies (usually after your second year) you must continue to complete College of Education requirements and stay in good standing with the music education area.
Will I get a job when I graduate?
There is a national music teacher shortage and a critical need for string and general music teachers. Teachers who speak Spanish are especially in demand. ISU has graduates teaching across Illinois, in states including Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, Missouri and even in countries like Singapore. Because of the broad experiences you receive at ISU, you are experienced and flexible to take music teaching jobs that combine one or more specialties.
I was inspired by my high school music teacher and I want to be just like them.
Many students come to Illinois State after having great high school music experiences. You will be asked to choose a degree sequence based on your major instrument, Instrumental/Band, Instrumental/Orchestra, Choral/General/ Keyboard or Choral/General/Voice. All students learn to teach general music. You will take courses in choral, general, and instrumental music education with opportunities to teach in all three. Many students discover an age group or a specialty they like after getting a chance to teach a bit.