Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Music Education Certification

The faculty of the School of Music believes that strong teachers are first of all strong performers or strong composers. We view music educators as those who must be competent subject matter specialists and competent specialists in educational practice. This philosophy was superbly articulated by Leonard Bernstein: “To be the best teachers possible, we need to be the best musicians we can be, not teachers who happen to be teaching music, but musicians who specialize in the art of teaching.” Thus, all undergraduate students seeking certification in music education must also be a major in either the Performance or Composition option. This means that music education is a viable career option for all music majors.

The K-12 Music Education certification program can be completed in two ways:

  1. The K-12 Music Education certification is available as a three-semester post graduate program. Candidates must already hold an undergraduate degree in music in order to apply. Download the Graduate Certification Curriculum Planning Sheet (PDF).
  2. At Carnegie Mellon, undergraduates who wish to earn a K-12 certification do so as a performance or composition major who adds the Music Education certification program. If you are an undergraduate seeking a Music Education certification, apply and audition as a music performance major, and, if accepted, express interest in pursuing the Music Education certificate, which you would begin in your sophomore year of your performance degree study. Download the Undergraduate Minor & Certification Curriculum Planning Sheet (PDF).

Graduates of the certificate program are eligible for licensure to teach instrumental, vocal, and general music (K-12) in the public schools of Pennsylvania and reciprocating states. The placement record of Carnegie Mellon certificate graduates is outstanding. Our graduates are teaching in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and in private studios across the nation and in several foreign countries. Pennsylvania certification is currently honored in many other states.