Music Education

Our music education program has a reputation for excellence in the field. Unlike many other schools, Westminster's music education majors are taught by faculty members (not graduate assistants) and enjoy the same studio and ensemble experiences as performance majors. 

The music education program at Westminster develops teachers who can serve as advocates for music in schools, design programs that meet national standards, integrate music into curriculum, and promote critical thinking, acting and feeling in the music classroom. Through our well-respected curriculum you will earn New Jersey certification for teaching vocal and instrumental music at all levels.

Our accreditation by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education makes it easy to transfer certification to other states. Starting in your sophomore year, you'll gain experience as an observer and teacher in elementary and secondary schools - capped by a semester of student teaching during your senior year.

Information for Current Students

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Music Education Lab
Undergraduates must meet the weekly attendance and participation requirements for Music Education Lab during every semester of enrollment as a Music Education major except for the senior student teaching semester. Grading is "Y" (satisfactory) or "Z" (unsatisfactory). As part of the Music Education Lab experience, students are required to complete 15 hours of professional development. Students propose their own Professional Development Activity (PDA) to be approved by the lab instructor each semester.

State and National Music Education Association Membership
Music Education majors are encouraged to join NAfME. State and national membership enables them to attend state, regional and national conferences, providing them with a connection to active members of the profession. Local chapter membership enables students to attend professional development events on campus. Members of the state/national organization also receive the Music Educators Journal, Tempo, and Teaching Music, which are used as supplementary texts in several courses.  Learn more about joining.

Music Education Portfolios
All Music Education majors must maintain portfolios of work providing evidence of their suitability for teaching. Portfolios of undergraduates are reviewed by the department with students when they have earned at least 60 credits as well as prior to and upon completion of ME492 Student Teaching. Students must pass the portfolio review to continue in the department. Portfolios of graduate students are reviewed each year.

Practicums and Field-Based Observations
In addition to the standard student teaching semester in the senior year, a special feature of the Westminster program is the experience of observation and teaching in the context of the elementary and secondary praxis courses, ME295 and ME395. These combine instruction in music methods with practical experience in public school contexts. Several music education courses require students to make observations of music classes in urban, suburban, public and private schools.

Students must be prepared to arrange for transportation to and from practicums at a reasonable distance from the college and to sustain related expenses.

Student Teaching
Student teaching is a full semester in duration and is usually completed during the seventh or eighth semester of study. Students may not enroll for any applied or classroom courses and may not present or participate in recitals or choral performances during the semester of student teaching. Further departmental policies regarding the student teaching semester are contained in the Music Education Department Handbook.

Westminster Academy
The Westminster Academy is the laboratory school of the Music Education Department and the Westminster Conservatory. Classes are taught in a residency program at John Witherspoon Middle School, located in Princeton, and to homeschooled students at Westminster Conservatory, located on the Westminster campus. Opportunities for teaching internships are provided for graduate students in music education as well as practicum experience for undergraduate Music Education majors. The teaching philosophy at Westminster Academy embraces Critical Theory, connecting music teaching in the context of social change. Lessons are designed to meet individual student learning styles and the teaching strategies are framed in Critical Pedagogy. The curriculum seeks to affect transformative learning for both students and their teachers.