Bachelor of Music (BM) in Music Education

Since 1872, Boston University has been preparing music educators who work to promote greater understanding of music in society, create new musical expressions, and expand access to music participation. This major provides students with the opportunity to become highly skilled artist-teachers who are prepared to teach music in K–12 settings.

All students must complete courses in musicianship (music theory, music history, group piano, aural skills), applied studies and ensembles, music education, and liberal studies. The music education courses provide the skills and knowledge to teach music at levels ranging from elementary through secondary schools including classroom music, choral music, instrumental music, and music technology. Music education labs in choral and instrumental music provide authentic teaching experiences for students prior to actual student teaching. Off-campus pre-practicum experiences complement on-campus coursework. Students must complete a 14-week student teaching practicum comprised of a 7-week practicum in at least two of the following areas: Pre-K–5; grades 5–9; or grades 8–12.

Students who successfully complete this program are eligible for licensure by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

General Degree Requirements

To attain the Bachelor of Music, each student must meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of all courses in the chosen program of study, as prescribed by the School of Music
  • Completion of a minimum of 132 credits (please refer to the Boston University Residency Requirement policy)
  • Demonstration of proficiency in all technical and professional courses, including satisfactory recitals at the junior and senior levels (for performance majors) and a recital of original compositions (for composition majors)

The curriculum falls into four main categories: Musicianship, Applied Studies and Ensembles, Departmental Requirements, and Liberal Studies. For specific policies and procedures, please refer to the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook.


Music Theory Sequence and Aural Skills

All undergraduate music majors must satisfy both the written music theory and aural skills requirement. Music theory consists of a six-semester sequence, while the aural skills sequence lasts four semesters. All entering undergraduate music majors are required to take placement examinations in both music theory and aural skills. Exams are given during the Summer Orientation and at the start of each semester. Based on the results of these placement exams, students may test out of some, but not all, of these courses. Music theory must be completed through Level 6 (MT 302) and aural skills for four semesters and/or through Level 5 (MT 311).

Group Piano

All undergraduate music majors, with the exception of piano performance majors, have a two-semester Group Piano Requirement. A non-mandatory Keyboard Proficiency Exam is offered for students wishing to test out of this requirement.

Music History

All undergraduate music majors are required to take four semesters of music history. MH 201 (211) History and Literature of Music 1 and MH 202 (212) History and Literature of Music 2 are required. The remaining music history requirement may be taken from a selection of elective offerings. The list of electives is broken down into two series. Series A (MH 321–328), which includes period, opera, and performance practice courses, requires the two survey courses as a prerequisite. Series B (MH 331–336), which includes courses in non-Western, jazz, and popular repertories, as well as interdisciplinary topics, is open to all students and has no prerequisite.

Applied Studies and Ensembles

Applied Lessons

All undergraduate music majors must study a major instrument for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Instruction is offered in the following areas: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, piano, organ, harp, voice, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Prescribed levels of proficiency are adjudicated through juries and recital permission hearings.

Musical Organizations

All undergraduate music majors are required to perform in a musical organization for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Music education students are exempt from Musical Organization during their semester of full-time practicum (student teaching).

Departmental Requirements

Each major has a number of courses tailored specifically to that major. These courses complement the rest of the general Musicianship and Liberal Arts components of curriculum, and are a combination of professional development courses, literature and pedagogy courses, and electives.

Liberal Studies

All undergraduate music majors are required to take a minimum of 32 credits of liberal arts courses from the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). The exact requirement varies by program, with some majors requiring 36 credits. All majors must complete CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar, CAS WR 150 Writing and Research, and one English literature course. The remaining courses are specified in the program outline for each major.

Music Education Program Outline


First Year 1st 2nd
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 3 3
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
Musical Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar 4
CAS WR 150 Writing and Research 4
Liberal Arts elective 4
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1 1
ME 203 Introduction to Music Learning & Teaching 2
ME 445 Technology for Musicians 2
Total credits
17 17
Second Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 3 3
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
MH 201, 202 Music History 1, 2 3 3
Musical Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
CAS EN XXX English Literature electives 4
Liberal Arts elective 4
ME 440 Music Education Lab–Instrumental  3
ME 441 Music Education Lab–Choral 3
Total credits
18 18
Third Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2 2
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
Music History electives 3 3
Musical Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
Liberal Arts elective 4
CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology 4
ME 305 Elementary General Music Methods 3
ME 307 Secondary General Music Methods 2
ME 440, 441 Music Education Labs (Instrumental & Choral) 3 3
Total credits
18 17
Fourth Year (semesters may be reversed)
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2  2
Musical Organization (varies by ensemble) 1
Liberal Arts elective 4
SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners
or SED TL 525 Teaching English Language Learners in Middle/HS
ME 411, 412, 413 Practicum 1, 2, or 3 (select 2 out of 3) 8
ME 410 Practicum Seminar 0 0
ME 440 Music Education Lab Instrumental 3
Music Education electives# 2* 3*
Total credits 16 13

*Courses that fulfill this requirement include:

  • CFA ME 261 Jazz I: Performance and Context
  • CFA ME 460 Special Topics in Music Education
  • CFA ME 550 Empowering Song: Music with Body, Mind & Heart
  • CFA ME 538 Rock Band Performance & Pedagogy
  • CFA MU 497 Advanced Instrumental Conducting
  • CFA MP 130 Class Voice
  • CFA MP 180 Group Guitar
  • CFA ME 499 Independent Study

Other music elective courses may be included with advisor approval.

#Please note that students can take these electives at any point in their program as their schedule allows.