Distance Learning Degrees in Music Education

Music lesson clip recorded with a Logitech HD webcam and a GoPro Hero2 Camera. Edited with the free program trakAxPC. Photo by R-M Arca.

Music teachers can further their education in the comfort of their studio. These six universities offer music educators distance learning opportunities.

Traditionally, music teachers who wished to explore longer professional development opportunities had take a sabbatical to study abroad. For some teachers, traveling abroad for extended periods in the name of career development is not a viable option.

A growing number of universities offer online degrees in music education. These six universities enable music teachers to further their education in the comfort of their own studio, with minimal disruption to their household and teaching schedules.

Master of Music in Music Education at the Boston University

Founded in 1839 as the Newbury Biblical Institute, Boston University now boasts an enrollment of over 32,000 students. BU is the first university in American history to confer university degrees in music.

Boston University’s School of Music offers an online Master of Music, Music Education. In this 17–20 month program, students explore a diverse curriculum, including analytical techniques, jazz and popular arranging and the philosophy and history of music education.

Master of Music in Music Education From Duquesne University

Located in Pittsburgh, PA, Duquesne University was founded in 1878 by the Order of the Holy Spirit. Duquesne is a private, coeducational Catholic college with an enrollment of over 10,000 students.

DU’s Mary Pappert School of Music offers a three and four-year Master of Music: Major in Music Education. The program incorporates online studies as well as courses that must be taken on campus. Students explore a variety of areas, including the foundations of music education, creativity in school music programs, Alexander Technique for musicians and music education research.

The school also offers a Master of Music in Music Technology program. Students will study Digital Music Pedagogy, Electronic Composition and Electronic Performance.

Master of Arts – Music Education Degree at the University of Hawaii-Manoa

The University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, HI was established in 1907 and now boasts an enrollment of over 20,000. The university offers a two-year Master of Arts Music Education Degree that can be taken locally or through distance learning.

Applicants should hold a Bachelor of Education (or comparable degree) and be teaching in a public or private school. Students will explore a wide range of topics, including major issues in music education, research in music education, using the Internet and the psychology of music.

Graduate Certificate in Music Technology at the University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle in Australia was founded in 1965 and has over 30,000 students. It has earned a solid reputation for its accomplishments in making higher education accessible to the disadvantaged, as well as research and teaching innovations. The University earned seven Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

The University of Newcastle offers a Graduate Certificate in Music Technology. Students explore several applications of music technology, including MIDI and sequencing techniques, musical scoring techniques, digital media, sound engineering and computer assisted instruction.

Certificates of Piano Pedagogy and Piano Pedagogy Research at the University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa in Canada is the largest bilingual university in North America. It was founded in 1848 and now has an enrollment of over 40,000 students.

UOttawa offers an Undergraduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy and a Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy Research. Like Duquesne University, UOttawa incorporates distance learning and on-campus learning components. Students explore a wide range of pedagogical topics, including an analysis of various piano method books, musician health and injuries and music education research.

MA Psychology for Musicians/MA Music Psychology in Education at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is among the top universities in the UK, according to "RAE 2008: results for UK universities" from The Guardian (December 18, 2008). It was founded in 1828 and now reports an enrollment of over 24,000 students. Five Nobel prizewinners lead its list of illustrious alumni.

The MA Psychology for Musicians/MA Music Psychology in Education was launched in 1997. Students study diverse aspects of music education and psychology, including the psychology of performance, music research and musical development. This part-time, online degree can be completed within two years.

Music teachers can develop their skills through online courses and distance learning degrees. Masters programs in music research, piano pedagogy, music technology and music psychology are just some of the areas that music educators can explore from the comfort of their own studio.

Originally published on Suite101.com on July 23, 2010. Winner of an Editor's Choice Award for Music Education on Suite101.com. Updated March 24, 2013. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.