Music Education / Teacher Training

Music Ed students with elementary students

Cal State Fullerton’s School of Music provides a thorough preparation for your future success as a music teacher. Cal State Fullerton’s music teacher training program is highly regarded in Southern California and throughout the western United States.

Cal State Fullerton has a virtual 100% placement rate of students completing the credential program in music. Job retention of our graduates in music education is significantly higher than the national average.

Music education students at Cal State Fullerton select one of three emphases for in-depth preparation in either choral, instrumental or general music. Specialists in each of these areas provide methods classes and student teaching supervision.

Students interested in a career in teaching music generally pursue the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree with a music education concentration, and then work to attain the Single Subject Teaching Credential in music. The School of Music’s program is fully approved by the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which complies with the Teacher Preparation and Licensing Law of 1970 (the Ryan Act).

The music education program at Cal State Fullerton has been designated “innovative and exemplary” by the Commission on Teacher Education of the Music Educators National Conference.

Cal State Fullerton also offers a Master of Arts degree in Music Education for credentialed, experienced school music educators. The degree is intended for teachers who have several years of public school teaching experience and wish to pursue advanced study and training.

The graduate program provides a solid academic background in music education, while emphasizing knowledge and skills that can be used to improve one’s effectiveness as a teacher. Students study the foundations of music education (historical, philosophical, and aesthetic), the psychology of music, advanced pedagogy and contemporary trends in music education. The program provides opportunities for electives including conducting and applied study. It also offers several alternatives for terminal projects, including thesis, experimental research, or recital.

Dr. Marc R. Dickey , instrumental 
Gregory X. Whitmore, instrumental
Christopher Peterson , choral methods
Carl Shaefer , instrumental

Gregory X. Whitmore • (657) 278-5200


Area Requirements

Core Requirements (all emphases)

Music Theory/Aural Skills
Music History/Literature
Applied Study/Recital
Classical Piano
Major Ensembles
Student Teaching Experience

General Music Emphasis/Credential:

Orchestral Instruments
Choral Techniques
Practicum (Methods)
Music and Child Development
Field Experience
Music in the Modern Classroom
Recreational Instruments
General Music in Secondary Schools

Area Requirements (continued)

Instrumental Emphasis/Credential:

Orchestral Instruments
Instrumental Techniques
Music Theory
Practicum (Methods)
Field Experience
Chamber Music

Choral Emphasis/Credential:

Orchestral Instruments
Choral Techniques
Practicum (Methods)
Choral Literature
Field Experience
Chamber Music
Vocal Pedagogy


Master of Arts in Music: Music Education
Audition Requirements and Other Essentials

One of the options offered in Master of Arts (MA) is music education. This degree plan provides for breadth and depth of advanced study, as well flexibility (thesis or project) for specialization and research in an area of interest. The degree is intended for teachers and supervisors of music at the elementary or secondary level, who have teaching experience and would like to gain advanced knowledge and skill in regards to music teaching and learning.  Applicants to the program in music education must submit a 30-minute video demonstrating their pedagogical techniques/strategies in a classroom situation, plus a current resume, and a written essay in response to a prompt.

Audition Requirements
Applicants to the program in music education must submit a 30-minute video demonstrating their pedagogical techniques/strategies in a classroom situation, showing both teacher instruction and student responses.

Essay Requirement
The prospective graduate student in music education must provide a writing sample, a 600–800 word essay addressing one of the following prompts:

  • As a music educator, what is a life-long musical skill that you reinforce in your daily teaching, and why? Give specific examples of teaching and assessing that skill. 
  • Describe a particularly successful or effective lesson that you have taught. Include the objectives (based on national or CA standards), procedures, assessment, and follow-up. 
  • In the classroom we are typically faced with a diverse student population: English Language Learners, students with special needs, unmotivated students, gifted students, etc. Choose and describe one type of student you have dealt with in your teaching.  Give some specific examples of strategies and/or adaptations required to help that student achieve success. 

Essay Deadline: May 1.

Entrance Exams
After being admitted, all entering graduate students take entrance exams in music history and music theory. The exams cover undergraduate level material and are given Thursday before the first week of classes.

More Information 
Audition Dates
Submission of Supporting Materials

Contact Information 
School of Music Graduate Program Advisor Dr. John Koegel (657) 278-7658
Music Education Area Coordinator Gregory X. Whitmore (657) 278-5200

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Last Published 5/16/24

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