AdmissionsU.S.News Best Colleges 2011

Music Education

Sharing the joy of music with young minds

Elon’s music education program prepares graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter a classroom and share the joy of music with young minds. As a music education major, you will have access to fully equipped facilities and faculty who excel as performers, scholars and mentors. Small classes allow you to receive individual attention and instruction from professors who want to see you succeed. You will also be able to polish your performing skills by participating in Elon’s ensembles, as well as concerts, recitals and stage productions. 

The music education program is a collaborative effort between Elon’s music and education departments*. Music education students gain professional experience early in their academic careers by teaching in public school classrooms. By the time you graduate, you will have built an impressive resume of professional skills and experience from a program that has gained a national reputation for excellence.

Elon offers a Bachelor of Science degree in music education, which leads to teacher licensure in elementary, middle and high school music programs. Music education majors can also take advantage of Elon’s jazz studies minor or a practicum in piano pedagogy.

*Auditions are required for admission to the music education program and for scholarship consideration.

“Students work hard in difficult classes, spend long hours practicing their instruments and attend or are involved in almost every cultural event on campus. But it is well worth the work to graduate knowing you are fully prepared for whatever teaching has to offer.”

Rachel Gorsuch ’07 

Perform early and often

You can begin performing your freshman year as a music education major. Elon’s ensembles have toured throughout Europe and Russia and along the East Coast. Music education majors also perform regularly as soloists with Elon’s orchestra and in recitals as part of their studies. You can perform in the following ensembles:

  • Orchestra
  • Camerata
  • Chorale
  • Wind ensemble
  • Percussion ensemble
  • Opera workshop
  • Jazz ensemble
  • Fire of the Carolinas (marching band)
  • élan (vocal jazz)
  • Pep band
  • Numerous chamber groups and jazz combos.

Each year, music education majors work alongside impressive visiting performers who lead workshops, performances and master classes. Recent visiting performers include the Czech Symphony, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Boston Camerata (with whom Elon’s Camerata has performed) and Wynton Marsalis.

Talented faculty

Elon’s music faculty combine a dedication to teaching with an impressive record of performing, production and academic experience. 

Matthew Buckmaster (low brass, theory, music education) has extensive performing experience in several musical genres, and has performed with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Opera Tampa Orchestra and Imperial Symphony Orchestra. He is a published arranger and serves as news editor for the ITA Journal.

Tom Erdmann (trumpet, jazz and orchestra) has written two books, and a third will be released in 2010. He is editor of two other books, and has published more than 120 articles in magazines and journals including Saxophone Journal, Women of Note Quarterly, The Journal of the Conductors Guild, International Trumpet Guild Journal and Jazz Player

Gerald Knight (associate choral director, conducting, voice, theory) serves as coordinator of music education. He has appeared in recitals and oratorio performances in Italy, Austria and throughout the southeastern U.S. He has music degrees from Benedict College, the University of South Carolina and Florida State University, and has studied at several other distinguished institutions.

Hands-on experience

Elon’s music program is housed in the Center for the Arts, which provides an effective setting for music majors to develop and showcase their talents. The facility boasts numerous concert Steinway grand pianos; rehearsal rooms; McCrary Theatre, a large, fully equipped theatre and concert hall; Yeager Recital Hall, which has digital recording capabilities; modular practice rooms and studios; a 23-station music technology lab (with MIDI controllers, ProTools, Digital Performer, Mac computers and much more; and an audio suite (with ProTools, a MacQuadCore and a mixing control surface). A Casavant pipe organ is available for use in Whitley Auditorium.

Opportunities after graduation

With a music education degree, you will be prepared to teach music at the elementary, middle or high school level. Elon music education graduates have received many professional honors, including New Teacher of the Year awards during their first year of teaching, while others serve as award-winning professors at colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, the program has boasted a 100 percent job placement rate for the past 17 years. 

Students preparing for a career in university teaching have gone on to graduate programs at some of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world, including:

  • The Eastman School of Music
  • Juilliard School of Music
  • Peabody Conservatory of Music
  • Boston Conservatory
  • New York University.


Visit the Department of Music Website.

Visit the School of Education Website.

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