Music Education, B.A.

Program Overview

Do you have a passion for music? Do you have a desire to share your passion with others? If so, a degree in music education could be the perfect way to refine your talents and acquire a wide range of skills that will lead to many opportunities where you can share your gifts. PLNU students of music education actively learn instrumental and choral techniques and methodologies, and explore educational experiences such as conducting, teaching, and interacting with local teachers.

With a major in music education, you’ll develop your musical abilities through applied lessons and large and small ensemble performance opportunities. You’ll take courses that cover subjects like orchestration, conducting, instrumental and choral music methods, and many more that will support your calling to share music with others. Additionally, you’ll develop a broad conceptual understanding of music learning and teaching in elementary and secondary school settings that can lead directly into a California Teaching Credential program, which is offered through PLNU’s School of Education.

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Student Profile

Jarel Paguio

While at PLNU, Jarel Paguio learned what it means to be a great musician — and much more. Today he teaches private music lessons that are attuned to the unique needs and talents of each student, a relational perspective he gained from a much-loved music professor and mentor.

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Course List

For information about the courses required for the Music Education, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

A music education degree presents an intersection of the arts and teaching. It's the epitome of connecting and learning through music, not only in the educational setting but also in therapy and spiritual development. At PLNU, our music education program can set you up for success in your future pursuits whether that be teaching at the elementary or postsecondary level. With this degree, you’ll graduate with a greater understanding of your gifts and how they can be best utilized in the music and teaching fields. 

At PLNU, our music education program centers on two fundamental goals:

  • Supporting your calling to share music with others
  • Developing a broad conceptual understanding of music learning and teaching as a possible segway into the California Teaching Credential program

Job outlook for music education careers

For composers and music directors, employment is projected to grow 2% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the percentage is slightly slower than average, PLNU will help you find success in your niche whether that be directing or another form of musical instruction. 

John Reynolds headshot

Student Profile

Dr. John Reynolds

In addition to performing regularly with the Gaslamp Quarter Jazz Orchestra, and the John Reynolds Jazz Quintet, and as a freelance trumpeter all over Southern California, Reynolds works as the director of the music program at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

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What can you do with a music education degree?

Many graduates of the music education program have gone on to work in positions such as music or dance instructor for middle or high schools, postsecondary teaching, and even music therapy. Our graduates are known in these positions for applying their learned skills of music theory, music instruction, choral music, and piano.

Some of the positions our graduates currently hold:

Music Therapist

2020 Median annual salary: $40,000 (can range $28,000-$72,000 regionally)

Music therapists utilize music to help patients explore emotional and mental health. As a qualified therapist, the use of music is a key tool for connection and breakthrough with patients. As a means of expression and coping, patients can learn how to deal with life’s hardships and difficulties through the help of music and the therapist. Music therapists’ goal is to assist clients in their exploration of emotional well-being and problem-solving skills. Additionally, they assist people with developmental and learning disabilities.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Active listening and compassion
  • Knowledge of human behavior, performance, and personality
  • Knowledge of the methods, principles, and procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental problems
  • Keeping records of client progress and measuring effectiveness of sessions
  • Monitoring clients and interacting with them in sessions
  • Encouraging interaction and connection through singing or playing an instrument

Music, Dance, and Extracurricular Instructors

2020 Median annual salary: $47,015

Music, dance, and extracurricular instructors is a nuanced title for a wide range of instructional topics. Dance instructors can teach many different styles from ballroom to hip-hop. Likewise, music instructors teach many different genres of music from instrumental to vocal depending on what you desire your emphasis to be. You can often find job openings for music or dance instructors at gyms, high schools, and community centers. Most instructors reach a wide range of clientele from seniors at the recreation center to students at an after-school program in high school. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Knowledge of the fine arts
  • Ability to design courses and classes
  • Ability to use initiative
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and instructional skills
  • Ability to work well with others leadership skills

Music Directors and Composers

2020 Median annual salary: $52,250 

Music directors lead musical groups and ensembles during performances and recording sessions while composers create and write music for performance. Directors and composers work for a variety of groups: religious organizations, schools, or can even be self-employed. In these positions they often get to share their unique expression and knowledge of music and the arts with the support of a choir or orchestra. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Music theory 
  • Music instruction
  • Expertise in reviewing and interpreting musical scores
  • Conducting skills
  • Versatile knowledge of a wide-range of instruments
  • Time management and organization for rehearsals

Postsecondary Teacher

2020 Median annual salary: $80,790

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level at colleges, professional schools, and universities like PLNU. They plan courses and curriculum based on the area of study they teach. Additionally, they assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work. In relation to the music education degree, they focus on enriching their students' abilities to comprehend, express, and perform in a particular music emphasis.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Engaging conversationalist and speaker
  • Ability to evaluate papers and projects
  • Thorough expertise and knowledge of specified department and subject
  • Time management skills
  • One to two years of teaching experience
  • Master’s or doctoral degree

Being the musical connection point for students, clients and audiences. 

With a degree in music education you’ll have the skills and knowledge to help others understand the profound impact music has on expressing and understanding ourselves and our emotions. This degree can set you up for success in the fields of teaching, therapy, and even the music industry. How will you use your music education degree?

Start off on a strong note and apply to PLNU today. To learn more, get connected with one of our counselors here for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.