Music Education (Instrumental or Choral)

Music Education (Instrumental or Choral)

PROGRAM OVERVIEW Music education students are qualified to become music educators, certified to teach in K–12 school music programs. A comprehensive foundation in music theory, history, and piano, as well as intensive instruction in the major performance area in the form of private lessons and small and large ensemble participation is provided. Methods courses present the future music educator opportunities for intensive instruction in contemporary learning theory, planning, organization, and presentation. The degree program concludes with the Senior Capstone experience of student teaching.

Students choose from two tracks of study according to their interests: choral/general music or instrumental/general music. Although qualified by their Drake degree and the State of Iowa to teach in any area of music, graduates usually select a position in the area of their greatest expertise. Completion of the program leading to the Bachelor of Music Education qualifies the candidate for a State of Iowa Teaching Certificate. Applicants who qualify for certificates in other states are recommended for those certificates by the School of Education.

FACULTY The music department includes 22 full-time faculty members, with five devoting all or a part of their time to music education. All full-time faculty are engaged in teaching classes from the introductory to advanced levels.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION Students should have intensive experiences in music study and performance in order to be eligible for consideration. Students are selected for admission by the music faculty through an audition/interview process.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR Candidates for this degree must complete a total of 124–130 credit hours: 18 hours in applied music, 19 hours in music theory, 12 hours in music history-literature, 13–15 hours of music education and methods courses, 28 hours of professional education, and seven hours of ensemble, plus the Drake Curriculum.

DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics, and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.

The Drake Curriculum also requires a First Year Seminar, which fosters development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus, and a Senior Capstone in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills, and ideas to bear on one project.

INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Vocal music education students may be invited to act as interns with the Heartland Youth Choir, a civic-based children's choir based in Clive, Iowa. The music area head will coordinate the internship. Collegians are called upon to lead the vocal warm-ups, teach sectional rehearsals, and have limited conducting opportunities. Observation hours are granted toward the Iowa Teaching Licensure.

Instrumental music students may be invited to act as interns with local school marching bands each fall. Collegians are called upon to work with sectional rehearsals, percussion corps, and assist head band directors. Observation hours are granted toward the Iowa Teaching Licensure. Contact director of bands for more information.

Music education students complete a 100-hour practicum in two schools under the guidance of master teachers. Additional field experience in methods courses prepares students for their Capstone experience, student teaching. During their senior year, students spend 15 weeks in the classrooms of local schools under the mentorship of a master teacher. Paid positions and volunteer experiences are available throughout the community but are not counted as student teaching experience.

CAREER OPTIONS The music education program prepares students to teach music in K–12 schools with an emphasis on 5–12 in instrumental or 7–12 in vocal music.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES Music education students participate most intensively in the broad performance and social opportunities available in the Music Department. Some organizations include National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA), and Iowa Bandmasters Association (IBA).


  • Andrew Trachsel, B.M.E. 1999; MM, DMA in Wind Conducting (University of North Texas) Director of Concert Bands, Ohio University School of Music, Athens, Ohio
  • Chris Strohmaier, B.M.E. 2001, Band Director, Waukee High School, Waukee, Iowa
  • David Puderbaugh, B.M.E. 1994, Assistant Director of Choral Studies, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa