• Do you love music?
  • Do you enjoy helping others and making a difference in your school and community?
  • Do you see yourself as a leader?
  • Do you like learning about different styles of music and different cultures?
  • Do you want to connect with other musicians and build a network?
  • Do you want a career where you can inspire other people and make the world a better place?

Music and the arts enhance living and improve society through the development of students’ artistic expression, cultural connections, and deeper understanding of the human experience. There is no higher calling than to make the world a better place through the power of music.

As a student, you have many choices about what you will do for the rest of your life.  By deciding to major in music education you are about to endeavor in the BEST career a person can choose – changing lives through the power of music. Browse below to better understand what you can expect, and perhaps equally important, why you should consider joining the music education profession. We’ve created this resource just for you!

Three Steps to a Life-Changing Career

1. Preparation

  • Instrumental or Vocal Preparation – private study is usually recommended
  • Some colleges and universities prefer experience on piano
  • Listen & expand your musical interests to many styles and genres of music outside of your current playlists
  • Select multiple colleges or universities where you can see yourself going and do your research
    • Get to know the professors who may be your teachers
    • Look for the types of musical experiences and ensembles that you are interested in
  • Know the Audition requirements for your potential colleges or universities
    • Every school has slightly different expectations. Choose a school that’s a good fit for you
  • Know the ACT/SAT requirements for your potential colleges or universities

2. Application and Audition Process

  • You will need to apply to the college or university AND set up an audition/interview with the music department
    • Be sure to research the process for each college or university.
  • Find out the specific audition requirements and expectations for your instrument or voice
  • Investigate scholarship opportunities, financial aid packages, work study and internships, etc.

3. What To Expect as a Music Education Major

  • New Experiences – you will meet many new people who share your musical interests and you will gain life experiences such as living on your own, managing your time and personal finances, and learning how to adapt to a changing environment.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice – you will be expected to practice your primary instrumental or vocal part AND you will be expected to gain proficiency on additional instruments, piano or keyboard, voice, AND be prepared for any ensembles in which you participate
  • Coursework – you will likely include Music Theory, Music History, Instrumental and Vocal Methods courses, Elementary and Secondary Music Methods Courses, General Education Courses, Performance Ensembles, Electives, and many other opportunities to learn and grow
  • Lessons and Juries – most colleges and universities require music education majors to take private lessons on their primary instrument or voice and demonstrate their growth each semester by performing a jury (performance assessment)
  • Observations and Student Teaching – most colleges and universities require music education majors to observe music teachers in nearby schools. Most music education majors will complete one semester of student teaching.
  • Career Development – most colleges and universities offer assistance with resume writing, interviewing skills, searching for job openings, etc.

Start Exploring

  • Find every opportunity you can to learn more about music
  • Join your school’s music ensembles or start a new music group
  • Ask a music teacher to shadow them for a day
  • Attend a career fair and look for music teachers
  • Ask your guidance counselor about a career as a music teacher

Develop Your Skills

  • Practice your instrument or vocal skills
  • Ask your music teacher for help to find a private lesson teacher
  • Create your own music by performing and improvising original music or composing
  • Learn music from many different cultures and in many different styles

Become an Influencer

  • Be a Music Buddy – ask to help younger students practice or learn music
  • Be a creator – find your own sound by listening to music by other musicians and adapting those sounds to fit your style
  • Be a leader – volunteer to help your music teacher with the extra things that need done


Further documenting the issue, the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area for 2023 reported 24 states and the District of Columbia (in red) have identified music/arts education as a shortage area.

Want to Learn About Other Careers in Music?

Why Teach Music?

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Share your passion for music with others.

Build Community

Connect with students and families in schools and communities.

Career Opportunities

Locate a position that fits you nearly anywhere throughout the country.

Impact Society

Teach to inspire creativity, embrace culture, and create belonging.

Grow the Profession

Add your voice and expand musical experiences in schools.

So Much More than a Job

Enjoy your life’s work everyday.