Music Education

Share Your Passion For Music

A music educator teaches the art of music and music appreciation to all ages, at all levels of experience, in every field of music imaginable. The music education field serves as the backbone for ensembles like choir, band, and orchestra, as well as theory and piano concentrations. As a music educator, you are expected to set the highest standards of professionalism and musicianship for your students. Your job is to spark the imaginations of your students and to enrich the lives of others with music as a teacher, counselor, and leader. If you are passionate about spreading your knowledge of your instrument and fueling a lifelong love of learning music, then this job is for you!

It is our goal to provide academic choices for today’s music educators, and so we offer three different levels of study:

"I had a great time at VMEA! It was nice to hear perspectives and learn from teachers throughout the state of Virginia. I learned a TON and I can’t wait until next year!" - Robert Katz, Junior, 2021
In November 2021, our music education students had the wonderful opportunity to attend the annual Virginia Music Educator's Association conference in Norfolk, VA!
In November 2021, our music education students had the opportunity to attend the annual Virginia Music Educator's Association conference in Norfolk, VA.

What will I study in a music education degree?

The music education degree consists of training in theory, aural skills, keyboard, large ensemble experience, pedagogy in your primary instrument and instruments in the same family, the basics of all instruments, general education psychology and management, and general education classes. Your first year and a half will consist of taking aural skills, theory, keyboard, ensemble, general education, music history, and instrumental methods classes, along with private lessons on your instrument. Upon successful completion of this coursework, you will begin general education courses, teaching methods, and student teaching.

"Attending VMEA has always been a highly educational experience and this year was no different. Each session is unique, and the presenters offer a different perspective on the many aspects of music education. From instrument repair to classroom management, there is something for every music education student to learn!" - Zoey Lamb, Senior, 2021

Music Education is one of the most employable music concentrations.

Music teachers conduct ensembles, create hands-on learning projects, set up concerts and get their ensembles ready for district and solo assessments, and go to conferences to meet and share their experiences with likeminded scholars and trade professionals. We benefit by creating enriching experiences for developing musicians everywhere and for broadening musical horizons, wherever they decide to go after college. Teaching is said to be a thankless job—but changing the lives of students everywhere is worth the time and effort.

Meet Your Professors

Student Teaching Information

The Music Education Teacher Committee (MTEC) Exam

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Is the MTEC Still a Requirement to Enter the Master's Program?

For the time being, the Music Teacher Education Committee (MTEC) exam is no longer a requirement for entrance to the music education program. With that said, students are required to complete the following requirements prior to registering for teaching methods coursework:

  • Completed all theory, aural skills, and piano coursework.
  • Have received a grade of C or higher in these courses.
  • Have maintained a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA
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Field Experience General Information

The intent of field experience is to familiarize students with real-world examples of how methods course content is applicable to day-to-day teaching practice. Students will log a total of ten (10) hours of observation and/or teaching at local middle/high school and/or elementary grade levels.

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Who Should Participate in Field Experience?

Music education students who:

  • have passed the MTEC exam
  • have been admitted to the music education program, and
  • are enrolled in 400 level Methods courses and/or certain 300 level Education courses.

Resources and Organizations

There are several resources and organizations available at George Mason for furthering both your education and your future music career. Use the resources below to help enrich your experience at the Dewberry School of Music, to find connections among your peers, develop your resume, and to assist you when it’s time to join the professional world.

Mason Resources

NAfME– GMU Collegiate Chapter

The Mason NAfME Collegiate Chapter, run by a select board of officers and a group of music education faculty, are the proprietors of the music education participation in School of Music events, and the Mason representation of the National Association for Music Education. NAfME focuses on fundraising, holding recitals to showcase students of students, setting up educational workshops, and going to conferences such as VMEA (for the Virginia Music Educator’s Association.) 

ACDA– Mason Collegiate Chapter

The American Choral Director’s Association, affiliated with NAfME, is a well-established collegiate chapter here at Mason and participates in both NAfME-based and School of Music-based events. Like NAfME, the ACDA chapter focuses mainly on fundraising, conferences and conventions, connecting with other chapters, and performing, as well as getting involved with the community as future educators.

Join ACDA 

ASTA– Mason Collegiate Chapter

The American String Teachers Association is a new but thriving addition to our chapters here at George Mason. Made up of passionate strings majors and faculty, the ASTA chapter at GMU focuses on the organization of the strings studio, fundraising at departmentals and recitals, participating in meetings for the betterment of the music community, working with NAfME and ACDA, and connecting with other collegiate chapters.


Mason Community Arts Academy

Mason Community Arts Academy is an organization run by faculty members of the Dewberry School of Music that focus on the education and development of new musicians. Both faculty members, non-George-Mason members, and even George Mason students teach private lessons, group lessons, classes, and run programs and activities through the Academy, both for experience and as a job. The Mason Community Arts Academy also offers a Teaching Scholars program for George Mason students, where students can teach after-school programs at an elementary school before going into student teaching as a way to gain field experience. Teaching Scholars are selected by GPA, reference, and general participation in the Dewberry School of Music.

Learn more about Teaching Scholars

Professional Organizations

Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA)

The Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association is the organization that runs assessments and group orchestra and band programs nationwide, at local, state, and national levels. VBODA is the proprietor of band and orchestra assessments (called VBODA in schools everywhere), solo and ensemble assessments, All-County/All-State/Regional/National youth band and orchestra auditions and performances, and other middle- and high-school level band and orchestra events.

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)

The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) is the major organization for college-level and professional choral directors nationwide, in both national, state, and local levels, as well as collegiate chapters. ACDA holds conferences, provides resources for choral directors, participates in funding and promotion for the arts, and getting directors involved in careers and staying connected within the chorus network.  

Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA)

The Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA)

The Virginia Music Educators Association, closely affiliated with NAfME, provides professional development opportunities for educators at all levels, advocates on behalf of orchestra, band, and choral programs nationwide, participates in community involvement and patronage for the arts’ place in the school system, and offers connections and resources for students and educators at all levels. VMEA is also a conference held in Virginia every year in November that Virginia members of ACDA, NAfME, ASTA, and other organizations migrate to in order to share experiences, talk about pedagogy and research, discuss scholarly and trade articles, and promote for the general welfare of music at both a state and national level.  

American Strings Teachers Association (ASTA)

American Strings Teachers Association (ASTA) is the orchestra equivalent of ACDA and ASBDA, and is also in close affiliation with NAfME. ASTA operates at national, state, and local levels, has chapters for each level, and also promotes and establishes collegiate chapters nationwide. ASTA was founded in 1946, and since then has worked to help and fund strings teachers and students everywhere, not only in the public school system, but in private education and for private instructors as well. ASTA runs a scholarly journal, holds the National Orchestra Festival, and is generally recognized as the top orchestra association in the country.

NOTE: The Music Education program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require George Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.