Music Secondary Education, Bachelor of Music Education

School of Music

College of Arts and Letters

This degree prepares you for a secondary education certificate, with a K-12 endorsement in music.

This plan is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, NASM.

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Choral - Emphasis
  • Instrumental - Emphasis

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 99 units of major requirements including 69 units of core requirements and 30-36 units of emphasis requirements, depending on your choice of emphasis

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • For this major the liberal studies prefixes are MUS and MUP

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 125 units

Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements.

Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 125 - 131
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship is required.
Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching Required
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the Bachelor of Music Education Program at Northern Arizona University is to prepare the next generation of music educators with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for success in the teaching profession.  Students develop a strong background in music and musicianship through the development of technical and musical skills and emotional dispositions including aspects of performance, the ability to play a variety of musical instruments, critical analysis of music, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of Western and non-Western Music. Upon that foundation, students develop proficiency in aspects of teaching,  such as planning instruction, applying different instructional strategies, and evaluating learner progress and practice these skills through their work with elementary and secondary school students. Northern Arizona University students who complete this program become teacher candidates in Music Education which prepares them for a wide range of further educational and vocational activities that include music as a component.  Students are prepared for further study at the graduate and/or professional level.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students receiving an undergraduate degree in music will demonstrate:  

  1. Continuing Musical Growth and Independence in the following ways:
  • Applying performance skills on his/her principal instrument or voice
  • Demonstrate technical aptitude on his/her principal instrument or voice
  • Perform individually and in ensembles of different types
  • Investigating specific repertoire
  • Exercise and defend aesthetic judgment by recognizing and interpreting appropriate literature. 
  1. Application of Musicianship Skills in performance, teaching and/or critical analysis of music including:
  • Aural Perception
  • Sight-singing
  • Dictation
  • Keyboard Competency appropriate to the students’ degree program and satisfactory progress in Music Theory
  • Composition or Improvisation. 
  1. Analysis of and the ability to apply understanding to enhance students’ performance, teaching, and/or critical analysis of Tonal and Post-Tonal Musical Works and Topics through discussion of the following elements of music:
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Counterpoint
  • Rhythm and Meter
  • Form
  • Timbre 
  1. Knowledge of the Historical and Cultural Contexts of Western and non-Western Music including:
  • Characteristics of musical styles,
  • Compositional techniques
  • Performance practices
  • Societal and cultural influences on the creation, performance, and dissemination of music. 
  1. Knowledge and Application of Research Materials, Critical Thinking Skills, and Writing Skills
  • Basic knowledge and appropriate application of primary and secondary research materials pertaining to music,
  • Effectively communicate in writing on topics in the field of music through the purposeful use of evidence, insightful reasoning (critical thinking), and supporting details. 
  1. Synthesis of Learning Experiences
  • Synthesize understanding of musical forms, processes, and structures in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly and pedagogical applications appropriate to the degree program.
  • Employ multiple areas of learning within music and, ideally, disciplines outside music through a capstone project or culminating experience.
  • Students develop a background in music and musicianship that prepares them for a wide range of further educational and vocational activities that include music as a component. 
Teaching (general): Executable knowledge of philosophies and pedagogies specific to teaching general music, choral music, and/or instrumental music K-12 settings, including: (MUS 200, 308, 353, 455, 457, 495C)
  • Planning instruction that supports students in meeting learning objectives by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum design, and cross-disciplinary skills.
  • Applying a variety of instructional strategies in order that learners may develop a deep understanding of content areas for the purpose of applying that understanding in meaningful ways.
  • Utilizing multiple methods of assessment to monitor learner progress, to guide lesson planning, and to engage learners in their own growth. 
Child Development: An ability to synthesize theories of child development into lesson plans and course designs, including: (MUS 200, 308, 353, 455, 457, 495C, EPS 340)
  • Understanding how learners grow and develop.
  • Recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas.
  • Designing and implementing developmentally appropriate music learning experiences. 
Diversity (students and classroom settings): Aptitudes for teaching diverse sets of students in a variety of classroom settings, including: (MUS 200, 308, 353, 455, 457, 495C and BME 200, 437)
  • Assessing aptitudes, experiential backgrounds, and interests of individual learners and groups of learners and tailoring lesson plans accordingly.
  • Working to create environments that encourage positive social interaction and active engagement in learning.
  • Applying theories related to individual and cultural differences to lesson planning, with the goal of creating inclusive learning environments.
  • Arranging and adapting music for divergent classroom environments and student abilities. 
Skills: Proficiencies in conducting and playing the keyboard as well as in using instruments, equipment, and technologies associated with their area of specialization*, including: (MUP 107, 108, 109, 110, 201, 202, 207, 208, 209, 210, 311, 380, 470, 431, 433/435)
  • Demonstrating skills in rehearsal techniques; acquiring communicative and expressive conducting technique; and leading performance-based instruction.
  • Acquiring advanced keyboard skills such as scales, triads, seventh chords; progression and resolution of the diatonic and chromatic chords; harmonization of melodies; transposition of chord progressions to different keys; arpeggios.
  • Students graduating with a Choral emphasis will become proficient in diction and choral conducting, enhanced by private lessons in conjunction with vocal ensemble experiences.
  • Students graduating with an Instrumental emphasis will become proficient in instrumental conducting and techniques in teaching woodwinds, percussion, brass, and strings, enhanced by private lessons in conjunction with instrumental ensemble experiences. 
Policies and Trends:
  • Executable knowledge of organizational procedures, policies, and current trends/changes specific to music teaching and learning in K-12 settings. (MUS 308, 499) 
Commitment to the Field: A commitment to the art of music, including: (MUS 455, 457, 495C, 499)
  • Inspiring students to want to understand and make music.
  • Advocating on behalf of music’s place in K-12 curricula.
  • Remaining current in the field of music education.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • To be eligible for admission to the program, candidates must meet the following requirements:

    30 units of coursework which includes:

    • MAT 110 or MAT 114 with a grade of "C" or better
    • MUS 200 
    • The English foundations requirement (ENG 105 or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  (If your English GPA is below 3.0, you may take an approved writing course to achieve the 3.0 GPA.)
    A minimum GPA of 2.5 in all content major coursework (must have taken at least 3 units) and a cumulative 2.5 GPA in all courses.

  • Additional requirements:

    • You must be declared in this major.
    • In order to declare a Music Major, you must apply and be accepted to the School of Music.  Please visit the School of Music website.
    • Completion of a teacher-education orientation for Secondary Education
    • Submission of a copy of your State-approved Identity-Verified Print (IVP) fingerprint clearance card, obtainable through the Arizona Department of Public Safety (602-223-2279)
Major Requirements
    • Choral Emphasis (30 units)
      • MUP 111 (1 unit each), MUP 211 and MUP 311 (2 units each). Private Lessons: Students enroll in private-lesson instruction for a minimum of 6 terms: 2 terms each of 111, 211, 311. (10 units)
      • MUP 160, MUP 260, MUP 360, MUP 460 (1 unit each). Chorale/Vocal Ensembles: Students enroll in large conducted ensembles for a total of 8 terms. To satisfy this requirement, choose from Shrine of the Ages Choir, Men's Chorale, and Women's Chorale. (8 units)
      • MUS 161, MUS 162, MUS 421 (4 units)
      • MUS 410 (3 units)
      • MUS 490 (1 unit each). To satisfy this requirement, students enroll in Choral Arranging and two additional topics of their choice. (3 units)
      • MUP 435 (2 units)
    • Instrumental Emphasis (36 units)
      • MUP 111, MUP 211, MUP 311 (2 units each). Private Lessons: Students enroll in private-lesson instruction for a minimum of 6 terms: 2 terms each of 111, 211, and 311. (12 units)
      • MUP 170, MUP 270, MUP 370, MUP 470 Instrument Ensembles: Students enroll in large conducted ensembles for a total of 8 terms. To satisfy this requirement, choose from Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Symphonic Band. Guitar majors must take Guitar Ensemble, and Piano majors must take Piano Ensemble. For Wind, Brass and Percussion majors, 2 of the 8 terms required must be Marching Band. (8 units)
      • MUP 107MUP 109, MUP 110, MUP 131, MUP 207, MUP 231 (required for wind majors only), MUP 209, MUP 210 (Techniques courses)  (8 units)
      • MUP 433 (2 units)
      • MUS 410. To satisfy this requirement, students enroll in the Orchestration topic. (3 units)
      • MUS 490 (1 unit each). To satisfy this requirement, students enroll in any three topics of their choice. (3 units).
Teacher Preparation
  • In all of our teacher education programs, you are required to complete a student teaching or internship experience. In addition, a minimum number of units of practicum is required, which involves supervised field experience with a practicing teacher.

    Before being accepted to student teaching, the following criteria must be met:

    • Admission to the teacher education program
    • NAU GPA must be at least 2.5, with a GPA of 2.5 in all music courses, with no grade lower than a "C" in the major.
    • Passing score on the required Profession Disposition Modules
    • Complete all plan requirements.
    • All major coursework, with the exception of MUS 200, must be completed within the six years prior to student teaching.
    • All candidates must demonstrate social and emotional maturity consistent with professional standards of classroom instruction as well as adequate physical health for teaching.
  • Arizona Teacher Certification

    In order to obtain an Arizona teaching certificate you must pass the National Evaluation Series Secondary Assessment Professional Knowledge exam.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to Institutional Recommendations may change at any time, and may impact program of study requirements.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Please note that this plan takes five years (nine terms) to complete.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 125 units of credit.  

  • You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they were not used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)