What is a music education degree?

For years, you’ve known you would likely pursue music in college. You are drawn to the stage, collaboration with other musicians, and the analytical, critical thinking, improvisational and communication skills music study imparts. You’ve also come to realize that you can teach, and you want to imbue others with a love and respect for the art form you have embraced. A degree in music education is foundational for teaching music in elementary and secondary schools and beyond.

Music By The Lake at Furman

Why study music education at Furman?

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1938, the Furman University Department of Music is recognized as one of the highest-rated and most comprehensive among national liberal arts and sciences colleges, offering degree programs for passionate performers, composers, theorists and music educators. We attract ambitious musicians from across the globe – those who desire to major in music as well as those who wish to major in another discipline while continuing their music.

Our music education program is designed for talented musicians who want to earn a degree that prepares them for teaching positions in elementary, middle and high schools. About 50% of our music education alumni continue their studies at graduate school, expanding their opportunities and earning potential. Just more than 40% of our graduates go directly into the job market.

Imparting a conservatory-quality education, Furman’s music program and those who lead it are committed to preparing you to succeed in the education world. You’ll sharpen your analytical, listening, creative, improvisation, communication, problem-solving, team-building, time management, interpretation, teaching and other skills, boosting competencies that are readily transferable no matter the career path you take.

In Furman’s intentionally small studios, faculty are free to mentor, help you advance, assist you in exploring the right repertoire, and are integral to your overall growth as a musician and educator. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today. Learn more about the audition process.

How will you learn?

Develop your technique through weekly private lessons with master teachers and acclaimed performing artists. Learn a new instrument (or two). Get to know the members of your new Furman music family, who you’ll study with over the next four years.

And because we are an exclusively undergraduate program, you are front and center, and need not compete with master’s and doctoral candidates. It bears repeating – Furman is well positioned to expose undergraduate musicians to multiple performances and individualized instruction which prepare you for a life of in the arts, including teaching young musicians.

Gain practical, hands-on exposure to the world of music pedagogy through the teaching internship. You’ll be placed with a mentor teacher in your area of prospective certification. Full-time teaching responsibilities are assumed over time, and interns attend weekly seminars.

Each music education major will also present a 30-minute recital in the designated performance studies area during their junior or senior year.

Students who successfully complete course requirements for the Bachelor of Music in Music Education and receive passing scores in Praxis Subject Assessments and Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) tests, will be recommended for a South Carolina teacher certificate in PK-12.

Music education courses: What will you study?

Central to the curriculum across all music majors are weekly one-on-one applied lessons specific to your voice or instrument, a set of core courses, and participation in a major ensemble such as the Symphony Orchestra, Furman Band, Furman Singers, Men’s Chorale, Women’s Chorale, or Guitar Ensemble for every semester you are on campus.

Depending on the chosen track in the music education major, sample courses may include:

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  • 100%
    Music majors who participate in any engaged learning experience, from recitals to large ensembles, to study away, internships and research
  • 100%
    Music education majors who complete a teaching internship
  • 50%
    Music education majors who go on to graduate school
What our students say
“My experiences inside and outside the classrooms of the Furman music department with faculty, staff and peers have proven to be enlightening and will resonate with me as I navigate through life’s chapters.”
– Miranda Thomas ’22, B.M., music education

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s music faculty represent decades of study and real-world expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

Mark Britt

Professor of Low Brass

Omar Carmenates

Professor of Music, Percussion

Anastasia Christofakis

Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet

Anna Joiner

Visiting Associate Professor of Music, Viola

Grant Knox

Associate Professor of Voice; Director of Lyric Opera; Coordinator of Voice

Matt Olson

Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies

Derek Parsons

Professor of Piano; Director, Furman Summer Keyboard Institute

Sue Samuels

Director of Bands, Music Education Coordinator
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Music Education Major F.A.Q.
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