Bachelor of Music (BM) in Music Education

The BM in Music Education provides students with the opportunity to become accomplished musicians and to prepare for teaching music in pre-K–12 settings and beyond. In addition to academic and performance requirements, students are required to complete fieldwork observations in music classes in area schools. At the end of the program, students are eligible to obtain an initial pre-K–12 license in vocal/instrumental/general music teaching from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The license requires a 300-hour practicum in the field with a Music Education department–approved supervisor, who is assigned following the student’s successful completion of two pre-practicum gateway assessments.

At Boston University, Music Education students have the opportunity to become part of a student body that includes students from throughout the United States as well as many international students. Boston University maintains a close relationship with the Boston Public Schools and many other school districts in the Greater Boston area. Our on-campus students have many opportunities to observe and intern in schools in the city and surrounding areas.

Furthermore, our student chapters of the National Association for Music Education and American String Teachers Association provide workshops and clinics throughout the year. Other professional development opportunities that are open to students also take place on campus, with recent workshops being led by organizations such as Boston Area Kodály Educators. The BM program is a qualified Massachusetts music teacher licensure program.

Learning Outcomes

All students graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree are expected to demonstrate:

  • A practical knowledge of basic music theory, musicianship, composition, and analytical skills.
  • An appropriate level of technical and interpretive performance skills.
  • A broad understanding of music history and cultures and associated repertories of music in a global context.
  • The ability to apply creative approaches to problem-solving and self-directed study.

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education are additionally expected to:

  • Demonstrate an appropriate level of pedagogical skills.
  • Design and differentiate instruction in multilingual and multicultural classrooms and for students from across the socioeconomic spectrum and range of abilities.
  • Regularly reflect on the effectiveness of instruction and interactions with students, and use insights gained to improve practice and student learning.
  • Demonstrate proficiency and flexibility over a range of musical instruments, vocal techniques, musical styles, and pedagogical approaches.
  • Collaborate with colleagues/peers to plan meaningful lessons that are connected to other areas of study.
  • Practice inclusivity and equity, and incorporate knowledge and practices of varied cultures meaningfully into lesson planning.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work with populations that include K–12 students, but also early childhood and adult students, and in positions that are sustained by community and school resources.

Undergraduate Curricula

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, BU Hub Requirements, and Major Requirements. School of Music requirements can be found here.


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. Entering undergraduate music majors may 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 (CFA MT 302) and aural skills for four semesters and/or through Level 5 (CFA MT 311). School of Music students will not earn credit for CFA MT 105. Students may substitute other upper-level music theory courses for CFA MT 302 by petition, including CFA MT 411 or MT 472.

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.


All undergraduate music majors have a two-semester conducting requirement, with the exception of voice performance majors, whose requirement is one semester. An introductory course is required of all students, covering basic techniques, terminology, and transpositions. The second semester specializes in either instrumental or choral techniques.

Music History

All undergraduate music majors are required to take four semesters of music history, consisting of MH 211–212, plus two music history electives from MH 403–480. At least one of these courses must be in ethnomusicology: MH 404, MH 409–411, MH 415, MH 420, MH 429, MH 431, MH 435–436, MH 480.

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 Organization

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 the musical organization requirement during their semester of full-time practicum (student teaching).

BU Hub Requirements

All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Music Education will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation; Quantitative Reasoning; and many requirements in Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship, Communication, and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences. In addition to BU Hub requirements and specific major requirements, CFA School of Music students must also meet all requirements for obtaining a Bachelor of Music. School of Music requirements can be found here.

Major Requirements

Each major has a number of courses tailored specifically to that major. They enhance the general Musicianship components of the curriculum and form the body of major study around the BU Hub coursework. Students in the Bachelor of Music in Music Education major take a combination of professional development courses, literature and pedagogy courses, and electives, as outlined in the Program of Study below. Throughout the undergraduate program, students will be expected to regularly observe and assist in area schools as a part of pre-practicum requirements for licensure. During the final semester of study, candidates for the BM in Music Education will teach off campus in a licensed K–12 school setting, and meet together on campus once a week as a part of practicum requirements for licensure.

Program of Study

First Year 1st 2nd
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2 2
Music Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
CFA ME 203 Introduction to Music Learning & Teaching 2
CFA ME 344 Technology for Musicians 2
CFA ME 382 Intro to Access and Equity in Music Education 1
CFA MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1 1
CFA MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
CFA MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., CAS WR 151/152/153) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
CFA FA 100 Doing, Making & Knowing: The CFA Experience 2
Total credits
17 18
Second Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2 2
Music Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
CFA ME 330, 331 Music Education Labs (Instrumental 1 & Choral, Elementary/Middle) 3 3
CFA MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
CFA MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
CFA MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits
18 18
Third Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2 2
Music Organization (varies by ensemble) 1 1
CFA ME 305/306 Elementary General Music Methods (students entering prior to Fall 2018 should take ME 305, for 3 credits, and students entering Fall 2018 or later should take ME 306, for 4 credits) 4
CFA ME 307 Secondary General Music Methods 2
CFA ME 430, 431 Music Education Labs (Instrumental 2 & Choral, High School) 3 3
Electives in Music Education* 2
CFA MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
CFA MH 4XX Music History electives 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Total credits
18 18
Fourth Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument/voice) 2 2
Music Organization (varies by ensemble) 1
CFA ME 530 Music Education Labs Instrumental 3 3
Electives in Music Education* 1
CFA ME 411, 412, 413 Practicum 1, 2, or 3 (select 2 out of 3) 8
CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology OR CFA AR 586 Child Development in Arts Education 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Total credits 15 10

*Courses that fulfill this requirement include:

  • CFA ME 383 Jazz I: Performance and Context (2 cr)
  • CFA ME 262 Jazz 2: Performance and Context (2 cr)
  • CFA ME 374 Arts Engagement as Active Hope (3 cr)
  • CFA ME 460 Special Topics in Music Education (1 cr)
  • CFA ME 499 Independent Study (var cr)
  • CFA ME 538 Rock Band Performance & Pedagogy (4 cr)
  • CFA ME 550 Empowering Song: Music with Body, Mind & Heart (4 cr)
  • CFA MP 130 Class Voice (1 cr)
  • CFA MP 180 Group Guitar (1 cr)
  • CFA MU 497 Advanced Instrumental Conducting (2 cr)

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.