Northwestern University has been in the forefront of music education for decades, producing literally thousands of teachers that can be found throughout the world.

Flexible programs offer a wide array of coursework as well as options for double majors, added certification, and many opportunities for independent study. Classes are small so that students receive individual attention from faculty who are vitally interested in issues of creative and critical thinking, philosophically based education, student-centered learning, issues of social context, and music technology.

The Doctoral Research Center CSEME (Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience) engages graduate students in creative study side by side with faculty, a feature that makes this program especially innovative.

The graduate student support provided to PhD students includes year-round tuition and stipend and fully subsidized health insurance.

Undergraduate Program

Northwestern's undergraduate program offers distinct advantages. Not only does its high standards far exceed state and national requirements, but the quarter system allows for more courses and experiences in four years than are generally found in other programs. Students frequently elect to double major in music education and performance, and can complete the double major in four years. Collaborations with over 60 schools in the Chicago area provide many opportunities for practice teaching, Every methods-based course includes weekly experiences in area K-12 schools. Job placement each year is 100%. 

Undergraduate music education majors are required to complete a music education interview and a performance audition.

See Bachelor of Music Admission Requirements

Note: The Music Education Program is closely aligned with the School of Education and Social Policy teacher education unit. Students receive their K-12 certification from the SESP certification office. As part of that unit, the program has adopted the Conceptual Framework philosophy, created by the teacher education unit.

Graduate Programs

Graduate study in music education offers the flexibility to tailor your studies to your professional interests. After completing master’s study, many Northwestern graduates pursue advanced degrees or professional roles in research, conducting, pedagogy, or administration.

Master of Music: Music Education

The master’s degree program provides a strong foundation in philosophy, research, and curriculum design. In planning an appropriate course of study, students may draw upon the resources of the Bienen School of Music as well as the entire University to meet individual professional interests and needs. Competitive applicants will typically receive an offer of scholarship support and/or a graduate work stipend.

There are two options for individuals interested in the MM in Music Education:

For currently certified music teachers:

  • A one-year program open to individuals who hold teaching certification in music. This program can be completed within an academic year of three quarters. A typical load is four graduate courses per quarter with required participation in ensembles.

See Admission Requirements for 1 Year MM Program

For those seeking certification with the master’s degree:

  • A two-year program for individuals with a completed bachelor’s degree in music but who do not have teaching certification. Program requirements include the core graduate courses as well as methods classes, field experiences, and at least a quarter of full-time student teaching. (Northwestern does not offer a certification-only program.)

See Admission Requirements for 2 Year MM Program

Master of Music: Music Education and Piano Pedagogy

The Bienen School offers a Master of Music Education and Piano Pedagogy. Applicants must fulfill all admission and audition requirements for both Music Education (1 year or 2 year with certificate) AND Piano Performance and Pedagogy. 

See Admission Requirements for MM in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy

Pursuing Multiple Master’s Degrees

Students in the Bienen School may complete two master’s degrees, such as Music Education and then also Conducting or Performance. Students must meet the requirements for admission of both programs. The two master’s degrees may then be pursued sequentially, but not concurrently. For more information, contact the Office of Music Admission at musiclife@northwestern.edu.

PhD Program

The PhD program in music education is considered one of the finest anywhere. Graduates can be found in prestigious positions at colleges and universities both in the United States and abroad. Interdisciplinary in nature, the program combines coursework within the Bienen School of Music with programs located in many other parts of the University. All students accepted in the PhD program receive a fellowship that includes a full tuition waiver and stipend guaranteed for up to 5 years.

See PhD Admission Requirements 

Doctoral Research Center

The Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME) engages graduate students in creative study side by side with faculty.

Learn More

Music Education PhD Students

2nd year PhD

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Seth Adams

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2nd year PhD

SethAdams2023@u.northwestern.edu

Seth Adams is a 2nd-year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and percussion performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s degree in music education from Boston University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Seth was the Director of Bands at UIC College Prep High School in Chicago. Seth also spent five years as a music arranger and instructor in the drum and bugle corps activity, and has been an active bassist in Chicago since 2013. Seth’s research and academic interests include creativity-centered pedagogy, Critical Theory, and virtual ensembles.

2nd Year PhD

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David DeAngelis

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2nd Year PhD

DavidDeangelis2022@u.northwestern.edu

David DeAngelis is a 2nd-Year Phd Student in the Music Education program at Northwestern University. He holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and a M.A. in Music Education from Eastman School of Music, where his master's field project focused on teaching beginning band in urban high schools. Prior to Northwestern, David taught for eight years in Arkansas and California, most recently founding the band and orchestra programs at KIPP San Francisco College Prep. His research interests focus on beginning instrumental instruction and issues of equity and access in music education.

2nd Year PhD

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Miguel Garcia

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2nd Year PhD

NevinGarcia-bender2024@u.northwestern.edu

Miguel Garcia is a 2nd-Year PhD student in music education. He holds a B.A. in Music from Boston College, and a M.M. in Violin Performance from Roosevelt University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Miguel directed a school music program, designed and implemented new curricula, and taught general, choral, and instrumental music in Chicago for five years. Miguel’s academic interests include the relationship between instrumental curricula and child development, social-emotional learning in large ensembles, and the development of anti-oppression practices within music education. 

1st year PhD

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Stephanie Gregoire

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1st year PhD

StephanieGregoire2020@u.northwestern.edu

A native of Michigan’s upper peninsula, Stephanie Gregoire holds a BM in music education from Western Michigan University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University. Prior to her studies at Northwestern, Stephanie served five years as a conductor with the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC), where she directed the Hyde Park neighborhood choir program and many CCC in-school choirs throughout the city. Her choirs have performed at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Network of Executive Women National Awards Ceremony, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference. Stephanie’s academic interests include topics of gender and sexuality in music education, world music pedagogy, and context-specific music teacher preparation.

Seth Adams

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2nd year PhD

SethAdams2023@u.northwestern.edu

Seth Adams is a 2nd-year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and percussion performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s degree in music education from Boston University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Seth was the Director of Bands at UIC College Prep High School in Chicago. Seth also spent five years as a music arranger and instructor in the drum and bugle corps activity, and has been an active bassist in Chicago since 2013. Seth’s research and academic interests include creativity-centered pedagogy, Critical Theory, and virtual ensembles.

David DeAngelis

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2nd Year PhD

DavidDeangelis2022@u.northwestern.edu

David DeAngelis is a 2nd-Year Phd Student in the Music Education program at Northwestern University. He holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and a M.A. in Music Education from Eastman School of Music, where his master's field project focused on teaching beginning band in urban high schools. Prior to Northwestern, David taught for eight years in Arkansas and California, most recently founding the band and orchestra programs at KIPP San Francisco College Prep. His research interests focus on beginning instrumental instruction and issues of equity and access in music education.

Miguel Garcia

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2nd Year PhD

NevinGarcia-bender2024@u.northwestern.edu

Miguel Garcia is a 2nd-Year PhD student in music education. He holds a B.A. in Music from Boston College, and a M.M. in Violin Performance from Roosevelt University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Miguel directed a school music program, designed and implemented new curricula, and taught general, choral, and instrumental music in Chicago for five years. Miguel’s academic interests include the relationship between instrumental curricula and child development, social-emotional learning in large ensembles, and the development of anti-oppression practices within music education. 

Stephanie Gregoire

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1st year PhD

StephanieGregoire2020@u.northwestern.edu

A native of Michigan’s upper peninsula, Stephanie Gregoire holds a BM in music education from Western Michigan University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University. Prior to her studies at Northwestern, Stephanie served five years as a conductor with the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC), where she directed the Hyde Park neighborhood choir program and many CCC in-school choirs throughout the city. Her choirs have performed at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Network of Executive Women National Awards Ceremony, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference. Stephanie’s academic interests include topics of gender and sexuality in music education, world music pedagogy, and context-specific music teacher preparation.

2nd year PhD

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Aaron Himes

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2nd year PhD

AaronHimes2023@u.northwestern.edu

Aaron Himes is a passionate educator, scholar, and performer.  Currently, he is a second-year doctoral student in music education at Northwestern University.  Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Aaron served as a music teacher in several school districts in rural Pennsylvania where his experiences included teaching band, general music, and chorus at all levels.  He regularly worked as a consultant, clinician, guest conductor, and performer throughout the region.  Aaron holds the Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA and the Master of Music Degree in Music Performance from the University of North Texas, Denton, TX. His current research interests concern music curriculum in higher education, musical identity, and musical sophistication

PhD Candidate

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Patrick Horton

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PhD Candidate

PatrickHorton2021@u.northwestern.edu

Patrick Horton earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in music education from Ball State University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, he taught secondary instrumental music and music technology for 11 years in Ohio and Indiana. Patrick’s current academic interests include world music pedagogy, technology in music education, and creativity in the music classroom.

3rd year PhD

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Diego Pinto

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3rd year PhD

diegopinto2021@u.northwestern.edu

Diego Pinto holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio) and a master’s degree in music education from Louisiana State University. His master’s thesis explored issues of authenticity and pedagogy in Brazilian choral music. He has conducted clinics under that topic at the International Society for Music Education Conference and the Louisiana American Choral Directors Association Conference. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Diego taught middle and high school vocal music for 7 years in public schools in Baton Rouge, LA. His academic interests include world music pedagogy, corporate choir, and music participation.

PhD Candidate

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Casey Schmidt

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PhD Candidate

CaseySchmidt2010@u.northwestern.edu

Casey Schmidt holds a BM in music education and saxophone performance from Lawrence University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University.  Prior to starting his most recent studies at Northwestern University, Casey taught instrumental music in Illinois and Wisconsin public schools for thirteen years.  Casey’s research interests include music teacher education and the modes and processes music teachers use to self-reflect, assess, and modulate their practice and the infusion of composition and improvisation in performance ensemble curricula.

Aaron Himes

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2nd year PhD

AaronHimes2023@u.northwestern.edu

Aaron Himes is a passionate educator, scholar, and performer.  Currently, he is a second-year doctoral student in music education at Northwestern University.  Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Aaron served as a music teacher in several school districts in rural Pennsylvania where his experiences included teaching band, general music, and chorus at all levels.  He regularly worked as a consultant, clinician, guest conductor, and performer throughout the region.  Aaron holds the Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA and the Master of Music Degree in Music Performance from the University of North Texas, Denton, TX. His current research interests concern music curriculum in higher education, musical identity, and musical sophistication

Patrick Horton

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PhD Candidate

PatrickHorton2021@u.northwestern.edu

Patrick Horton earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in music education from Ball State University. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, he taught secondary instrumental music and music technology for 11 years in Ohio and Indiana. Patrick’s current academic interests include world music pedagogy, technology in music education, and creativity in the music classroom.

Diego Pinto

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3rd year PhD

diegopinto2021@u.northwestern.edu

Diego Pinto holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio) and a master’s degree in music education from Louisiana State University. His master’s thesis explored issues of authenticity and pedagogy in Brazilian choral music. He has conducted clinics under that topic at the International Society for Music Education Conference and the Louisiana American Choral Directors Association Conference. Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Diego taught middle and high school vocal music for 7 years in public schools in Baton Rouge, LA. His academic interests include world music pedagogy, corporate choir, and music participation.

Casey Schmidt

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PhD Candidate

CaseySchmidt2010@u.northwestern.edu

Casey Schmidt holds a BM in music education and saxophone performance from Lawrence University and a MM in music education from Northwestern University.  Prior to starting his most recent studies at Northwestern University, Casey taught instrumental music in Illinois and Wisconsin public schools for thirteen years.  Casey’s research interests include music teacher education and the modes and processes music teachers use to self-reflect, assess, and modulate their practice and the infusion of composition and improvisation in performance ensemble curricula.

4th year PhD

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Adam White

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4th year PhD

AdamWhite2020@u.northwestern.edu

Adam White is a fourth-year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in music education (choral pedagogy) from the University of Kansas.  Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Adam taught choral music in rural and suburban public schools for sixteen years.  His choirs have performed at the Kansas Music Educators Conference and have regularly received top ratings at festivals.  Adam’s research and academic interests include sight-singing, assessment, psychoacoustics, and cooperative rehearsal practices.

Adam White

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4th year PhD

AdamWhite2020@u.northwestern.edu

Adam White is a fourth-year PhD student in music education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in music education (choral pedagogy) from the University of Kansas.  Prior to his studies at Northwestern, Adam taught choral music in rural and suburban public schools for sixteen years.  His choirs have performed at the Kansas Music Educators Conference and have regularly received top ratings at festivals.  Adam’s research and academic interests include sight-singing, assessment, psychoacoustics, and cooperative rehearsal practices.