Just because music education is one of the easiest online master’s degrees to complete doesn’t mean it’s among the easiest programs to get into. Many graduate programs in music education require applicants to audition for the program. Although an audition is, by definition, a performance, auditions for music education programs can take different forms, requiring candidates to show off their musical talents, their teaching abilities or both. The quality of the performance you give matters, but so do other parts of your application to a music education program, including a written statement of musical philosophy.
Auditioning for a Graduate Program in Music Education
Auditioning for a master’s in music education program may not mean what you think it does. At some schools, for example, your audition isn’t a musical performance but rather a video of the applicant teaching music in a classroom setting or conducting an ensemble of instrumental or choral student performances. To get into other master’s degree programs in music education, you may be asked to give a more traditional audition consisting of live musical performances that showcase your talent.
How long your audition should be depends on the type of performance you are asked to give. If a school wants you to submit a video clip of your music teaching experience, your audition tape may be expected to encompass a full-length lesson, lasting up to 45 minutes in length. A musical performance audition could be much shorter, consisting of only the time it takes to perform one or two pieces of music.
Every music education program sets its own requirements for auditions, so be sure to look at the guidelines and preferences for each school for which you will be auditioning. As a general rule, the goal of your audition performance should be to impress the admissions personnel with both your talent and your range. Ideally, you should choose to perform pieces that you perform well and that are noticeably distinct from one another.
The purpose of having students audition for admission into a graduate music education program is to allow schools to get a sense of both the candidate’s musicianship and teaching potential. The best music teachers don’t necessarily have to be prodigies in musical performance, but they must have a full range of musical competence with their principal instrument and a variety of other instruments.
Effective music teachers also need to have the right temperament for working with children and to prioritize student growth and development over purely technical perfection.
What Else You Need to Get Into a Master’s in Music Education Program
Your audition is only one part of your application to a master’s in music education degree program. The admissions department will look at the full picture of your application, not just your audition. This doesn’t mean that how you perform in your videotaped or in-person audition is unimportant. What it does mean is that you need to give as much attention to the other pieces of your application package as you do to prepare for the audition.
Often, a graduate degree program in music education will ask that applicants submit some sort of writing sample. Although writing may not be the focus of your field of study, you should be able to communicate well in general and to express your opinions on and passion for music education in a compelling and insightful way.
One of the most common types of writing samples a graduate music education program will look for is a philosophy of music education statement. Although each university you apply to may have its own requirements for writing an acceptable philosophy of music education statement, these documents are relatively short, generally consisting of only one or two pages.
In your philosophy of music education statement, you should focus on the content areas or the teaching approaches that you find most essential to your work as a music educator and discuss how you cover these topics or integrate these approaches. To illustrate how and why your teaching philosophy is effective, discuss what your students gain from your instruction.
Music education master’s degree programs also require application materials found in other disciplines, including letters of recommendation, an undergraduate transcript and an interview. Some programs also require students to take the GRE test, while others do not.