Music Education

close up of violinists hands 

Undergraduate Overview

We are pleased to offer curricula that make our program the most comprehensive preparation available to music education majors in the state of New Jersey. There are two programs for undergraduates in the Music Education curriculum: the B.Mus. in Music (School and Community Settings) that does not include certification, and the B.Mus. in Music Education with certification. Both programs have classical (guitar, instrumental, keyboard, and voice) tracks and jazz (guitar, instrumental, and keyboard) tracks. Students who graduate without certification may teach in private schools or enter other music or non-music related fields. Students who complete certification are qualified to teach in the New Jersey public school system.

The basic curriculum for both programs is the same. It can be described as four-tiered:

  • First, students are responsible for liberal arts requirements, such as history, foreign language, and contemporary issues in sociology, psychology, and technology.
  • Second, it is important to be educated in applied study, keyboard study, ensemble participation, music theory, and music history.
  • Third, students need expertise of music education, which focuses on pedagogical techniques for working in the context of the classroom, as well as choral and instrumental programs.
  • Fourth, students gain an understanding of applications across all educational concentrations, involving topics such as educational philosophy, educational psychology, democratic teaching principles, and critical thinking.

Students wishing to become certified must apply after their sophomore year to be accepted into the certification program. If they are accepted they must complete additional courses and participate in field work and student teaching specified by the Montclair State Teacher Education Program.

In addition to the undergraduate programs, the Cali School offers the opportunity to combine undergraduate and graduate study for the B.Mus. and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.). This program prepares students for certification to teach music with a concentration in their primary area and also to teach students with disabilities.

State licensure in New Jersey requires that you be prepared for all facets and levels of music teaching, and our program will do just that. Music education majors comprise the largest concentration within the Cali School, and are active in all facets of the school. Music education majors are expected to perform at high levels and participate in a variety of ensembles. Therefore, our students are treated as musicians AND hopeful teachers. It is our intention to foster music educators who intend to continue to perform, compose, conduct, and so on, as a life long endeavor.

Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) - School and Community Settings

Links to the MSU Undergraduate Catalog for B.Mus. without certification:


Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) with Certification

‌Our five-year program will prepare you for all facets and levels of music teaching careers in New Jersey's public schools, private, or out-of-state schools. We offer the highest quality, comprehensive preparation for New Jersey's music education licensure. Upon successful completion of the B.Mus program, you will receive an initial licensure from the state of New Jersey. Music education majors comprise the largest concentration within the Cali School. You will have first-class performing opportunities that we hope will lead you to be active in your musical field throught your life.

Links to course listings in the MSU Undergraduate Catalog for B.Mus. with Certification:



Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) and Master of Arts (M.A.T.) Combined

This program combines undergraduate and graduate study leading to certification for teaching music with a primary concentration in guitar, instrumental, keyboard or voice, as well as teaching students with disabilities.

See University Catalog listings:

B.Mus./M.A.T. with Teacher Certification (Guitar; Students with Disabilities)
B.Mus./M.A.T. with Teacher Certification (Instrumental; Students with Disabilities)
B.Mus./M.A.T. with Teacher Certification (Keyboard; Students with Disabilities)
B.Mus./M.A.T. with Teacher Certification (Voice; Students with Disabilities)

For more information, contact:

Marissa Silverman
Undergraduate Coordinator

Graduate Program Overview

Candidates who hold a U.S. teaching certificate in music are eligible for the Master of Arts in Music Education degree program. (Candidates holding a music teaching certificate via an Alternate Route  or foreign institution may require additional course work.)

Two certification programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)‌ and the Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Teaching (PB) are available for candidates who want to become certified to teach music in New Jersey's public schools.

Please contact us to discuss these programs.

Master of Arts in Music Education (M.A.)

The M.A. in Music Education program, led by an experienced and nationally recognized faculty, offers a comprehensive course of study for music teachers in all levels and specializations. Committed to the advancement of music teaching in the public schools, our courses‌ reflect a range of progressive ideas and instructional strategies for the music classroom. Equally important is the opportunity for students to meet others in the field and develop supportive networks.

In order to accommodate the variety of music teaching specializations, this program provides a considerable amount of elective coursework. The 32-hour program offers small classes, individualized attention, and fieldwork in your own classroom. With an appropriate balance between theory and practice, this program is designed to nurture musical maturity, reflective teaching practice and promote educational leadership in music education.

Length of Study: We are sensitive to the fact that the majority of students in this program have full-time teaching position. For this reason all graduate classes begin at 5:30 pm or later. Students typically take one course per semester including a summer session. The program is designed for completion in 3 years, however, it is possible to take a heavier course load and finish in 2 years.

Capstone Experience: A field project and comprehensive examination are required for program completion. The field project is a self-designed action research project which may take place in the teacher's own classroom, or involve a study of interest that relates to current music teaching practice. Students working on their field project have ongoing support from a faculty mentor. The comprehensive exam assesses advanced understandings in music theory, music history, and music education.

Ensembles: Graduate students are welcome to participate in the MSU Chorale, Orchestra, Symphonic Band, or Wind Symphony. Participation is subject to the Director's approval and may require an audition. Registration for academic credit is required and will partially fulfill the music core electives requirements.

Application Process: Candidates must apply to the Graduate School for admission. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is NOT required for admission. Non-degree music teachers may enroll for up to 6 credits of course work prior to matriculation in the Master of Arts in Music Education program. Non-degree status, however, does not guarantee official admission to the program. Candidates must schedule an interview with the graduate coordinator of Music Education. In addition, candidates who wish to pursue private study on their instrument must take a performance audition. See Admission-Music Education for information about the audition process.

Curriculum page under construction - Contact graduate coordinator, Lisa DeLorenzo, for more information:

Link to MSU Graduate Catalog: M.A. Music Education course listing

Graduate Teacher Certification Programs

The College of Education, Health and Human Services (CEHS), in association with The John J. Cali School of Music, offers two programs that lead to teaching certification in the New Jersey public schools: the Post Baccalaureate certification program (PB) and the Master of Arts in Teaching with a Concentration in Music Education (MAT) degree program.  Candidates for admission require approval from the Graduate School, CEHS, and the Cali School of Music.

What is the difference between the Post-Baccalaureate and the MAT?

  • The Post-Baccalaureate program is for candidates who do not have a bachelor’s degree in music.  This program offers a sequence of undergraduate music courses that all music education majors take to become proficient in their content area as well as a sequence of professional education courses.  The number of music courses required depends on the applicant’s primary instrument audition and previous course work or formal training in music. When a majority of the pre-requisite courses have been satisfied, the student may transfer into the MAT program with no loss of credit or time.  This action requires the Graduate Coordinator's approval and may involve some extra processing fees. The length of time for the PB program depends upon the course load per semester. A full-time load is a minimum of 9 credits; any load below that is considered part-time.  In general, full-time PB students can complete the degree within three years. See Graduate Catalog course listing for P.B. Certification
  • The Master of Arts in Teaching degree program is for candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in music. The curriculum entails music education courses as well as courses in the professional education sequence. See MAT with Certification in Music. Although the majority of music education classes are undergraduate, students are also required to take one graduate music education course. The length of time for the MAT program depends upon the course load per semester.  A full-time load is a minimum of 9 credits; any load below that is considered part-time.  Full-time MAT students can complete the degree within two years. 

There is also a dual certification program. See MAT with Certification in Music and Teaching of Students with Disabilities for information.

Additional Information

Both the PB and MAT lead to music teacher certification, K-12. They offer substantial field experiences in the schools as well as a student teaching experience during the final semester. Students must pass the NJ Praxis II exam before student teaching. Undergraduate music courses are scheduled primarily during the day and rarely during the summer. Most graduate courses, however, are offered during the evening and summer. See additional information here.

Admission Requirements

  • For the Post-Baccalaureate Certification Program, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a music audition and a music education interview.
  • For the Master of Arts in Teaching degree program, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree or higher in music, have an interview with the Graduate Coordinator of Music Education as well as the representatives from the Center of Pedagogy, and a functional keyboard exam.

See Apply to the Cali School: Music Education for application and audition information.

For more information about our graduate programs, contact:

Dr. Lisa DeLorenzo
Graduate Coordinator of Music Education

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