Music teacher with cello instructs students

The music education program leads to a New York State Initial Certification for teaching Pre-K-12, broadfield in New York State schools. This program requires intensive study in music performance, music history, music theory, and methodologies of teaching, with special focus on world music and urban culture.

How to Apply

Step by Step

Successful applicants will be contacted to arrange an audition and interview with members of the Music Department faculty.

Admission to the Music Education major is based on the outcome of the audition and interview.

Freshmen or transfer students who have a successful audition, but do not pass the interview, will be offered admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree.



  • High School Average of 85% or higher, which is considered equivalent to a collegiate GPA of 3.0.
  • Transfer students applying to these programs must demonstrate a GPA of 3.0 either in the last semester of full-time study or as a cumulative average from multiple colleges, whichever is a more accurate representation of ability.
  • Prospective candidates who do not yet demonstrate a 3.0 GPA and/or high school average of 85% or higher should consult the Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education or the Music Department Chair for suggested pathways to achieve successful candidacy. 


All prospective Music Education students must audition for admission to the Music Department.

Prospective students are afforded two opportunities to audition for admission. If a student is not accepted after the second audition, a third audition is not permitted.


Transfer & Readmission


Transfer students who are interested in the Music Education major must first Apply for Admission to Buffalo State College as a Music Education major with lower division status. As soon as you complete the SUNY Application, transfer students must Sign up for an Audition and Interview with members of the music faculty.

  • Initial interview for acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program must have completed or be enrolled in MUS 330- Music Theory III and MUS 318- Aural Perceptions III.
  • If a student has satisfied the requirements for Music Theory III and Aural Perceptions III, then the interview must occur in their second semester of full-time study.
  • Students may not interview prior to the completion of two semesters of full-time study as a Lower Division Music Education major. However, all students must complete the initial interview after no more than 5 semesters of full-time study as a Lower Division Music Education major, regardless of Theory and Aural Perceptions enrollment. The faculty reserves the right to compel the initial interview for acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program at any point in a Music Education major’s course of study.

For acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program:

  • Music Education transfer students must successfully satisfy the requirements stated in this handbook. Transfer students who do not satisfy these requirements cannot enter the Upper Division Music Education program.
  • If a transfer student does not pass on the first attempt, the jury and Music Education Interview must be held a second time within one academic year of the initial attempt. Failure to pass the admission process on the second attempt will result in permanent dismissal from the music education program.


  • Students must also Re-apply for Admission to Buffalo State after an absence exceeding one academic year.
  • Students who have taken a leave of absence exceeding one academic year will be required to audition for readmission to the Music Department. 
  • Juniors and Seniors who have successfully entered the Upper Division Music Education program and have taken a leave of absence exceeding one academic year may be required to audition and re-interview for placement in the Music Education program, at the discretion of the Music Department Chairperson.


  • BM.1.1. Technical skills requisite for artistic self-expression in at least one major performance area at a level appropriate for the particular music concentration
  • BM.1.2. An overview understanding of the repertory in the student's major performance area and the ability to perform from a cross-section of that repertory
  • BM.1.3. The ability to read at sight with fluency demonstrating both general musicianship and, in the major performing area, a level of skill relevant to professional standards appropriate for the particular concentration
  • BM.1.4. Knowledge and skills sufficient to work as a leader and in collaboration on matters of musical interpretation, including rehearsal and conducting skills as appropriate to the particular music concentration
  • BM.1.5. Keyboard competency and experiences in secondary performance areas
  • BM.1.6. Growth in artistry, technical skills, collaborative competence and knowledge of repertory through regular ensemble experiences that are varied both in size and nature
  • BM.2.1. An understanding of the common elements and organizational patterns of music and their interaction, the ability to employ this understanding in aural, verbal, and visual analyses, and the ability to take aural dictation
  • BM.2.2. Sufficient understanding of musical forms, processes, and structures in order to use this knowledge in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly, and pedagogical applications, according to the requisites of their specializations
  • BM.2.3. The ability to place music in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts

BM.3.1. Rudimentary capacity to create derivative or original music both extemporaneously and in written form

  • BM.4.1. A basic knowledge of music history through the present time, including study and experience of musical language and achievement in addition to that of the primary culture encompassing the area of specialization.
  • BM.4.2. An acquaintance with repertories beyond the area of specialization through exposure to a large and varied body of music by attending and studying recitals, concerts, opera and musical theatre productions, and other performances
  • BM.5.1. The ability to use technologies current to the area of specialization
  • BM.6.1. Demonstrate professional, entry-level competence in the area of specialization, including significant technical mastery, capability to produce work and solve professional problems independently, and a coherent set of artistic/intellectual goals, which are evident in the student’s work
  • BM.6.2. The competency to form and defend value judgments about music, including the ability to communicate musical ideas, concepts, and requirements to professionals and lay persons
  • BME.1.1. Personal commitment to the art of music, to teaching music as an element of civilization, and to encouraging the artistic and intellectual development of students, plus the ability to fulfill these commitments as an independent professional
  • BME.1.2. The ability to lead students to an understanding of music as an art form, as a means of communication, and as a part of their intellectual and cultural heritage
  • BME.1.3. The capability to inspire others and to excite the imagination of students, engendering a respect for music and a desire for musical knowledge and experiences
  • BME.1.4. The ability to articulate logical rationales for music as a basic component of general education, and to present the goals and objectives of a music program effectively to parents, professional colleagues, and administrators
  • BME.1.5. The ability to work productively within specific education systems, promote scheduling patterns that optimize music instruction, maintain positive relationships with individuals of various social and ethnic groups, and be empathetic with students and colleagues of differing backgrounds
  • BME.1.6. The ability to evaluate ideas, methods, and policies in the arts, the humanities, and in arts education for their impact on the musical and cultural development of students
  • BME.1.7. The ability and desire to remain current with developments in the art of music and in teaching, to make independent, in-depth evaluations of their relevance, and to use the results to improve musicianship and teaching skills
  • BME.2.1. Conducting. Being a competent conductor, able to create accurate and musically expressive performances with various types of performing groups and in general classroom situations through knowledge of score reading and the integration of analysis, style, performance practices, instrumentation, and baton techniques
  • BME.2.2. Arranging. Competency to arrange and adapt music from a variety of sources to meet the needs and ability levels of school performing groups and classroom situations
  • BME.2.3. Functional Performance. Functional performance abilities in keyboard, the voice, and instruments appropriate to the student’s teaching specialization
  • BME.2.4.a. Analysis/History/Literature. The ability to apply analytical and historical knowledge to curriculum development, lesson planning, and daily classroom and performance activities
  • BME.2.4.b. Analysis/History/Literature. The ability to relate their understanding of music with respect to styles, literature, multiple cultural sources, and historical development to their students
  • BME.2.5. Specialization

          BME.2.5.1.a. Sufficient musicianship, vocal, and pedagogical skills to teach general music

          BME.2.5.1.b. Sufficient vocal and pedagogical skill to teach effective use of the voice

          BME.2.5.1.c. Knowledge of content, methodologies, philosophies, materials, technologies, and curriculum
                             development for general music and vocal/choral music

          BME.2.5.2. The ability to successfully experience solo vocal, and small and large choral ensemble

          BME.2.5.3. Performance ability sufficient to use at least one instrument as a teaching tool and to provide,
                           transpose, and improvise accompaniments

          BME.2.5.4.a. The ability to successfully teach general music classes

          BME.2.5.4.b. The ability to successfully teach beginning vocal techniques individually, in small groups and in
                              larger classes

          BME.2.5.5. Knowledge of and performance ability on wind, string, and percussion instruments sufficient to
                           teach beginning students effectively in groups

          BME.2.5.6. Knowledge of content, methodologies, philosophies, materials, technologies, and curriculum
                           development for instrumental music

          BME.2.5.6. The ability to successfully experience solo instrumental performance, as well as participation in
                           small and large instrumental ensembles

          BME.2.5.7. The ability to successfully teach beginning instrumental students individually, in small groups
                            and in larger classes

  • BME.3.1. Ability to teach music at various levels to different age groups and in a variety of classroom and ensemble settings in ways that develop knowledge of how music works syntactically as a communication medium and developmentally as an agent of civilization, including demonstration of skill in effective classroom and rehearsal management
  • BME.3.2. An understanding of child growth and development and an understanding of principles of learning as they relate to music
  • BME.3.3. The ability to assess aptitudes, experiential backgrounds, orientations of individuals and groups of students, and the nature of subject matter, and to plan educational programs to meet assessed needs
  • BME.3.4. Knowledge of current methods, materials, and repertories available in various fields and levels of music education appropriate to the teaching specialization
  • BME.3.5. The ability to accept, amend, or reject methods and materials based on personal assessment of specific teaching situations
  • BME.3.6. An understanding of evaluative techniques and ability to apply them in assessing both the musical progress of students and the objectives and procedures of the curriculum

The above competencies are evaluated through the passing of courses including course work and examinations. Additionally, music education students are evaluated and assessed utilizing 22 different key competency assessments as follows:

  1. Applied Music Juries
  2. Composition, Improvisation, and Arranging (CIA) Assessment
  3. Music Theory Assessment
  4. Aural Perception Assessment
  5. Music History Assessment
  6. Music Technology Assessment
  7. Conducting Assessment
  8. Professional Education Courses
  9. Concert Attendance
  10. Piano Proficiency Examination
  11. Recital
  12. Upper Division Transition
  13. Small/Large Ensemble Experience
  14. Professional Disposition Reports
  15. Introduction to Music Studies and Careers Key Assessment
  16. State Licensure Examination
  17. Student Teacher Observation
  18. Lesson Plan Assessment
  19. Field Experience Assessment
  20. Seminar Assessment Project
  21. Electronic Teaching Portfolio
  22. Secondary Instrument Class (course grades)