Undergraduate Handbook in Music Education

Major: Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (B.M.E.)

This handbook for the Bachelors in Music Education (BME) degree program has been prepared to help music education majors plan a program of study that will lead to a broad, well-integrated professional and liberal education. It is designed to supplement the information in the KU Academic Catalog. Please read this document careful and refer back to it periodically throughout your academic career.

Download the handbook (.docx)

Please contact Rita Riley in the School of Music Student Services Office in Room 450 Murphy Hall or at rriley@ku.edu if you have any questions.

A printed copy of this document may be requested from the Student Services Office.

Effective October 2021


This program leads to the bachelor’s degree and eligibility for licensure to teach vocal, instrumental, and general music in grades PreK-12 in the State of Kansas. This program typically requires eight semesters of full-time work including a semester of student teaching and internship in the public schools.

Please refer to the Music Education Degree Requirement Check Sheet for degree requirements. Please also refer to the current Music Education 4-year plan, which shows specific courses that must be completed prior to entering the Professional Sequence along with guidelines for course enrollments by semester.

This handbook has been prepared to help music education majors plan a program of study that will lead to a broad, well-integrated professional and liberal education. It is designed to supplement the information in the KU Academic Catalog. In order to be eligible for a degree the student must satisfy requirements in three areas: the general studies requirements of the University, the requirements of the School of Music (SOM), and the requirements of the music education program. The curriculum meets the constraints of various licensing and accrediting agencies, including the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Kansas State Department of Education.

Admission to the music education program is contingent upon satisfaction of the University of Kansas admission criteria and a successful audition in an applied studio within the School of Music.

Degree requirement check sheets, listing the courses and other requirements for the degree, are available on Bachelor of Music Education and in the Student Services Office (450 Murphy Hall). Students must complete the requirements listed on the degree requirement check sheet that is current at the time they enter the program. The list of outcomes for each MEMT and professional education class indicates the knowledge and skills each student must demonstrate to complete the program successfully.

Table of Contents

Advising System

Each undergraduate is assigned a music education faculty advisor. Students are expected to consult with their advisor each semester to plan enrollment for the next semester. The advisor is available to help, to suggest ways to avoid course conflicts, to recommend courses particularly beneficial for various emphases, and to offer career guidance. The responsibility for taking appropriate courses and for meeting other requirements rests upon the student. Information regarding all requirements is in writing and available to students. Lack of knowledge of any requirement does not free the student from meeting that requirement. All students must sign up for a graduation check with the School of Music Student Services Office in 450 Murphy one year prior to their graduation date.

Professional Organizations

NAfME (National Association for Music Education) provides opportunities for students to further their professional education and perform services for others. The KU chapter of NAfME holds regular meetings during the year, and sponsors a variety of activities. Student members often attend and participate in NAfME state, regional, and national conventions. Student membership in the professional organization, NAfME includes subscriptions to the official journal of that organization. Information concerning activities and memberships will be announced in classes and/or via KU email.

The Music Education Professional Sequence

Requirements for the Music Education Professional Sequence are located on the Application for Music Education Professional Sequence Admission. A copy of the application can be obtained from the link above or Student Services Office (450 Murphy). 

Musical Performance Proficiency Requirements

Process concerning the "Major Applied Medium" for MEMT Majors

Each student must complete an applied audition for admission to the School of Music as an MEMT major. Following a successful audition students enroll for studio lessons in the applied medium under the appropriate number, usually 121.

The typical audition is approximately 10 minutes in length, during which the student will be asked to perform scales, studies, solo literature, and other materials that may be specified by the faculty member(s) in the applied area of music. Detailed information on the audition is available on the School of Music website.

KU faculty evaluation of the audition will result in either an acceptance or a denial status for the student in that major applied performance medium and program.

Major Performance Medium

Each student must become proficient in a major performance medium.

In order to assure that each student has reached satisfactory competence in his or her major medium, successful completion of each successive semester of study in studio lessons including the 422 level is required. The 422 level of studio lessons requires a senior half recital in the major performance medium.

Music Education majors must successfully complete a minimum of 7 semesters of the major performance medium at 2 credits per semester, culminating in completion of the 422 semester.

Course Numbering System for Applied Music (Studio Lessons in the Major Performance Medium)

Music education majors interested in private lessons outside their major performance medium are advised to enroll in lessons in the 100/300 number sequence at one credit per semester.

Course Numbering System for Applied Music (Studio Lessons in the Major Performance Medium)
1212freshmen (1st semester)
1212freshmen (2nd semester)
2212sophomores (3rd semester)
2212sophomores (4th semester)
3212juniors (5th semester)
3212juniors (6th semester)
4222seniors (7th semester) culminating senior recital

Applied Music Studio Assignments

All students must audition before any studio assignments are considered. Following a successful audition, students are assigned to applied studios according to availability of space (teaching load).

In the case of multiple studios such as piano and voice, students may request a specific assignment, and a request for a specific instructor will be honored whenever possible.

In order to remain enrolled in studio instruction, all undergraduate students who enroll in any level of studio instruction (including non-major levels) in band and orchestral instruments must audition for and perform as assigned in a major instrumental ensemble* each semester in which they are enrolled. For music majors, one ensemble taken for credit each semester is required for graduation. Exceptions to this policy are allowed on a case-by-case basis and only by the ensemble conductor in consultation with the faculty member in the studio area, or the faculty advisor in music education as appropriate.

* Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble I. University Orchestra and University Band are acceptable if students are placed in the ensemble by audition.

Keyboard/Piano Functional Skills

Functional skills in music are essential to success in music education. Such skills include accompanying, improvising, reading chord charts, and sight-reading. Students must complete these skills early in the curriculum, as they are needed for class and field work in methods classes, the performance/conducting sequences, and subsequent professional studies.

Music Education students must have keyboard skills sufficient to be successful in PIAN 288 or 310 and piano performance/accompanying is incorporated in MEMT courses across the curriculum. All keyboard skills courses should be completed during the first four semesters of enrollment on campus.

Students without prior keyboard experience will take the group piano sequence consisting of PIAN 144, 148, 284, 288. Students whose major performance medium is piano or organ will take PIAN 310.

Information on the Keyboard Skills Placement Examination is available on the Entrance Exams page.

Ensemble Credit

The music education major requires students to participate in seven semesters of a major performance ensemble. Ensemble placement is determined via audition on a student’s major performing medium. Students in general, choral, and instrumental areas must experience major and minor ensembles during their enrollment in the music education program prior to student teaching and internship. The major auditioned ensembles for instrumentalists include Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Marching Band, and Jazz Ensemble I. University Band and University Orchestra are only acceptable if students are placed in the ensemble by audition. Wind and Percussion students in MEMT are required to complete at least one semester of Marching Band. Major ensembles for vocalists include University Singers, Chamber Choir, KU Treble Choir, and KU Glee. Oread Singers and Bales Chorale are only acceptable if students are placed in the ensemble by audition.

Most students take more than the minimum requirement in ensemble. Students audition and are placed in ensembles from those most appropriate to their major performance medium; instrumentalists participate in band and/or orchestra, while vocalists usually take part in a variety of vocal ensembles during their academic careers. Many minor ensembles, including Collegium Musicum and Jazz, are available for credit. Students may organize their own small ensembles, arrange with appropriate faculty members to coach those ensembles on a regular basis, and enroll in that faculty member’s chamber music (CHAM) number to earn credit for that work. Students are advised to participate in the major ensembles sufficiently to become well acquainted with the conductor, because the conductor’s recommendation is often a valuable component of the credentials students will use in applying for teaching positions after graduation.

Field Work Prior to Student Teaching/Internship

Several classes in the music education course of study require substantial fieldwork in the public schools. MEMT 160, Principles of Music Education, taken in the first semester in the major, provides the opportunity to observe and get “hands-on” experience working with students in public school music classes. MEMT 250, Human Musical Learning and Development, requires music education majors to observe student learning, development, and behavior in other classes as well as in music settings. The fieldwork in MEMT 407, Exceptional Child in Music Education, involves experience observing and teaching students with disabilities in school music classes. MEMT 420, Teaching Elementary and Secondary General Music, provides experience planning and delivering instruction in Pre-K-12 general music classes. MEMT 450, Teaching Choral Music offers experience in planning choral instruction in schools, providing choral performances, and delivering instruction to singers at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced choral levels. MEMT 451, Teaching Instrumental Music provides experience with planning instrumental instruction in schools, administering instrumental programs, and rehearsing beginning, intermediate, and advanced instrumental ensembles.

All of this fieldwork is done under the mentorship of professional music educators in the public schools and KU music education faculty.

Admission to Student Teaching/Internship

Considerable knowledge, training, and skill demonstration are necessary prior to being admitted into MEMT 498 and 499. All coursework, including the senior recital, must be successfully completed with at least a 3.00 GPA before the student teaching/internship semester begins. Students must also receive a C or higher in the courses listed below.

  • MEMT 230, 231, 232, 246, 330, 331, 332, and one of the three advanced conducting/rehearsal clinics (MEMT 350, 351, or 352)
  • MEMT 160, 250, 407, 408, 420, 450, 451, 455, and one of the four concentrations (MEMT 421, 431, 432, or 435)
  • Two MEMT electives, defined in the degree requirement check sheet
  • SPED 326 and C&T 359

If requirements are not met during the semester immediately preceding MEMT 498 and 499, the student must enroll in the appropriate coursework until the requirements in question have been satisfied. All students must receive approval to enroll in MEMT 498 and 499 from the faculty in charge of Student Teaching and Internships.

Student Teaching & Internship Policy

Student Teaching and Internship, or MEMT 498 and 499, are the culminating experiences of the undergraduate music education course of study. Both courses entail integrative, supervised professional activities and responsibilities in the surrounding public school systems that are mentored by expert PreK-12 cooperating teachers and university faculty. The goal of the student teaching and internship coursework is to provide pre-service teachers (i.e., students enrolled in MEMT 498 and 499) with authentic, longitudinal instructional experiences in the field and to prepare them for teaching licensure in multiple forms of music education, grades PreK-12.

MEMT 498 Student Teaching, offers pre-service teachers 6 weeks of experience in a secondary area of choice. MEMT 499 Internship, offers pre-service teachers 11 weeks of experience in a primary area of choice. Pre-service teachers must enroll concurrently in MEMT 498 and 499 for the final semester of their music education degree program. Pre-service teachers must teach in two contrasting school levels: (1) elementary, and (2) middle (or junior-high) or high school. Typically, emphasis is given to area(s) and school level(s) in which pre-service teachers intend to work following licensure. To receive Student Teaching and Internship assignments, students must submit the required paperwork indicating their preferred placements to the appropriate faculty member for processing and approval by the assigned due dates. Students may not apply to student teach or intern at a school previously attended or with a teacher under whom they previously studied.

While enrolled in MEMT 498 and 499, students may not participate or enroll in any other classes or ensembles. Outside employment is vigorously discouraged. MEMT 498 and 499 are intense and time-consuming experiences. Pre-service teachers must devote themselves full time to work in the schools and match their calendar with that of the cooperating schools, not the KU academic calendar.

MEMT requires all pre-service teachers to achieve a grade of C or higher in MEMT 498 Student Teaching, and MEMT 499 Internship. Pre-service teachers who earn a C- or below in MEMT 498 or 499 are required to repeat both courses. MEMT 498 and 499 may be repeated only once during the pre-service teacher’s enrollment at KU, and only with faculty approval.

Music Education Licensure

The Bachelor of Music Education undergraduate degree program at the KU School of Music meets the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Kansas. Teacher licensure, however, is a function of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), not the University. When an individual has successfully completed an approved teacher education program at the University of Kansas, the University can recommend that the individual be licensed by the State of Kansas. The KSDE may establish additional requirements that must be met before the license is issued. At present the Kansas State Department of Education requires scores on two standardized examinations for initial music education licensure. A score of 160 or higher on the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) examination is required for teacher licensure. The Secondary 7-12 version of the PLT (Educational Testing Service Test #5624) is most appropriate for music education majors. The KSDE also requires a score of 152 or higher on the Praxis II Music examination (ETS test #5113) for music teacher licensure.

At present, the initial licensure is valid for two years from issue. To renew the license, the teacher must successfully complete requirements established by his or her employer.

Students should read the instructions regarding Kansas Licensing Exams in addition to all other Licensure information on the School of Education and Human Sciences website before their final semester at KU.

If you plan to obtain a license or certification in a state other than Kansas or a US territory after completion of your program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program to ensure you can obtain a license or certification in your home state or territory. The Professional Licensure Directory on the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements website provides resources for licensure and certification boards outside of Kansas.

If you move outside the state of Kansas, please contact your advisor within 14 calendar days to determine if you can obtain a license or certification in your new location.

Safety and Crime on Campus

The annual security report about KU safety policies, crime statistics, and campus resources is available on the KU Public Safety Website. For more information about the Clery Act you may visit the website for the U.S. Department of Education Campus Security and Safety.

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities.  Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, civilrights@ku.edu, Room 1082, Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas medical center campuses).