About IWU Music Education

The Music Education program at Illinois Wesleyan University strives to provide students with the comprehensive knowledge and skills required for careers as successful music educators.  The Music Education program is committed to the following goals and objectives:

  • to provide a liberal education of high quality for all our students
  • to develop a high degree of competence in basic musicianship
  • to promote and develop personal and professional qualities essential for music educators
  • to instill in future music educators the value of teaching all students to create, perform, and respond to music
  • to exercise aesthetic and creative judgment in all encounters with music
  • to be flexible in adjusting to the evolving demands of the music education field
  • to relate effectively to individuals and society.

Curriculum and Licensure

At Illinois Wesleyan University, music education candidates complete a program that imparts the skills necessary to obtain an initial K-12 teaching license in the field of music in the state of Illinois.  In pursuing this goal, candidates fulfill university graduation requirements through participating in an interdisciplinary, goals-oriented general education program that complements their completion of a comprehensive curriculum designed for the music education major.  As part of this curriculum, students complete a semester-long student teaching experience.

Music education students are required to select a concentration in voice, keyboard or instrumental music.  Candidates complete a curriculum that includes 36 course units in music and music education. During the spring semester of the sophomore year, candidates complete the Upper Division Bachelor of Music Education interview and assessment.  Students must pass all portions of the assessment, as well as the applied upper division jury, in order to be admitted to the Teacher Education Program and to continue into the upper division curriculum in music education.


The Illinois Wesleyan University teacher preparation program in music addresses the content area standards established by the Illinois State Board of Education through coursework, instructional activities, and experiences associated with the major field of study.  Professional teaching standards are also met through completion of the university general education requirements, and through other coursework and activities in the Bachelor of Music Education degree. The integration of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) is emphasized throughout the curriculum.

Professional Affiliations

All music education students have the opportunity to participate in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Collegiate Chapter throughout their teacher preparation program at IWU. This professional organization offer numerous opportunities for professional development and growth through round-table discussions with local school administrators and teachers, guest speakers and musicians, as well as peer group activities.  The IWU NAfME Collegiate Chapter has received many awards for outstanding achievements within the profession. Most recently, the chapter received the Chapter Growth Certificate of Achievement in 2014.

The Bachelor of Music Education (BME) degree prepares students to teach in public schools through professional course work, as well as through observation and participation in a variety of public school settings. A full semester of supervised teaching in both elementary and secondary schools is a requirement in the final year of the degree. This degree contains many components that lead toward obtaining licensure to teach music in grades K-12 in the State of Illinois.

Current requirements for the BME degree include:

  • A minimum of 38 course units of credit units, divided between Professional Education courses, General Education Coursework, and Content Area (Music) Coursework, with minimum GPAs of 2.85 (by the 2nd semester of the second year) and 3.0 (by the end of the third year)
  • Grades of C or higher in all Professional Education and Content Area (Music) courses
  • Completion of a minimum 100 hours of observation and teaching in public schools (many of these hours are built into Music Education coursework)
  • Passing scores on all areas the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) Test of Academic Proficiency (or the equivalent on the ACT exam (including writing)
  • Successful completion of the Teacher Education Program (TEP) and Upper Division interview during the fourth semester
  • One semester of student teaching in a combination of elementary, middle, and high school classrooms
  • As of Fall 2015, a passing score from Pearson on the edTPA portfolio (completed during student teaching)

Once all requirements are met, students then submit an application to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in order to be issued a teaching license in the state of Illinois.