Music Education

M.A. in Music Education

The Master of Arts (M.A.) is a unique curriculum focused on alternative pedagogical techniques as applied in music, as well as techniques of research.

The Guiding Principles For The Degree Are To Help Students:

• Establish a global context focused on learner-centered pedagogy
• Become proficient in using learner-centered skills in their classrooms
• Conduct action research in their classrooms
• Participate in a peer mentoring process within the program

Degree Curriculum (30 hours)

MUE6428  Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education I - 6 credit hours
MUE6785 Research Design and Methods in Music Education - 3 credit hours
MUE6787 Literature Review in Music Education - 3 credit hours
MUE6788 Research Data Analysis and Report Writing in Music Education- 3 credit hours
MUE6429 Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education II - 3 credit hours
MUH6376 History of Blues and Rock - 3 credit hours

Electives 9 credit hours - any graduate level music courses or courses related to
the student’s research interests. One elective option will include a summer
internship working in schools in and around London, England.

Admission Requirements

At least two years of K-12 music teaching experience, or the equivalent, are required for admission. A résumé, a personal goal statement and a minimum of two current letters of recommendation from people qualified to speak on behalf of the applicantʼs academic and professional capabilities must accompany the application. An official transcript for a completed undergraduate degree in music (from an accredited program) is required with the application. The overall Grade Point Average (GPA) for upper division credit hours (all credits beyond the first 60) must be at least 3.0, and the GPA for all music, music education, and education courses included in the undergraduate degree must be at least 3.0. Final approval for admission must be granted by the music education faculty. There is no music audition required and the GRE exam is not necessary.


What does learner-centered mean?
The learner-centered classroom includes significant time for students to work in small groups where they contend and struggle with the messy work of musical problem solving. Students also have extensive control and autonomy over their work making musical and creative decisions and determining which musical styles to study and which musical instruments are best for those styles. In this classroom the teacher has several roles which include developing assignments, providing skill instruction, supervising, making recommendations, observing, answering questions, advising, assessing, and generally ‘just being there’ for when they are needed.

The learner-centered MUSIC classroom will often involve students working collaboratively within small groups, and across the class, making musical decisions both covering and performing previously composed material and creating their own original pieces, while engaging in musical problem solving. They would also have opportunities to reflect on, analyze and critique their work.

How does USF’s MA in Music Education relate?

Our degree program is focused on developing teachers that are equipped to help students excel in a learner-centered classroom. Whether you are new to this pedagogical concept or have been teaching in a learner-centered environment for sometime, you will expand your teaching expertise in ways that will help you reach a more diverse set of students and enable your students to develop musical skills they will be able to use throughout their lives.

Why the focus on research?
During degree study you will develop into a proficient action researcher. This will enhance your teaching in two ways. First, you will learn how to read and interpret previous research with the learner-centered classroom that can have significant influence on your teaching methods in the classroom, and second you will be capable of applying action research to help you better evaluate the effectiveness of your learner-centered methods. By the end of your program the final project should be ready to submit for publication in an appropriate professional journal so that you might help other teachers understand learner-centered techniques.

What happens during the one week on-campus experience?
The first course you take in the degree program, Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education (six credit hours), is divided into three sections. The first is a seven week online session that will introduce concepts and research concerning learner-centered pedagogical techniques. It will also involve theories of pop/rock music. Following this is one week (Monday-Saturday) of intense on-campus work where you will put into practice everything that was covered during the first seven weeks. You will spend a good deal of this week in small, learner-centered groups, solving musical problems by covering songs and creating new material. You will learn techniques in recording, mixing, and producing and you will have opportunities to experiment with a wide range of electronic and digital musical instruments. You will have fun, you will laugh, and you will learn a lot about implementing learner-centered approaches in your own teaching. As a follow-up to this on-campus experience you will spend one week reflecting on all the previous work with your fellow classmates. Note that on-campus expenses, including housing, meals and all materials, are included in the regular tuition charge (excludes travel to/from Tampa).

How long will it take me to finish the degree requirements?

There are many possible variations based on individual needs. The most direct path would include twelve hours in the first summer, six in the second summer, and nine hours of electives plus the Blues and Rock course during fall/spring semesters between.

Summer One 
MUE6428 Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education I (6)
MUE6785 Research Design and Methods in Music Education (3)
MUE6787 Literature Review in Music Education (3)

MUS5905 Elective (3)
MUS5905 Elective (3)

MUH6376 History of Blues and Rock (3)
MUS5905 Elective (3)

Summer Two 
MUE6788 Research Data Analysis and Report Writing in Music Education (3)
MUE6429 Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education II (3)

Contact Dr. David A. Williams, the academic advisor for this program, for more details (email: