Upper Division Music Education Program Requirements

Upper Division Status

Upper Division denotes the advanced set of courses in the Music Education curriculum (Elementary Methods, Secondary Choral Methods, Secondary Instrumental Methods, co-requisite Field Experiences, Student Teaching, and Student Teaching Seminar) required to complete the Bachelor of Music in Music Education (B.Mus.) degree at Buffalo State. Upper Division Status must be attained before registering for any Upper Division music education courses.

All B.M. in Music Education Lower Division students must demonstrate their readiness to proceed to the Upper Division Music Education program through the music education interview. For students who enter Buffalo State as freshmen, the initial interview for acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program must occur in the fourth semester of full-time music study as a Lower Division Music Education major. For transfer students, the initial interview for acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program must occur after completing or while enrolled in MUS 330- Music Theory III and MUS 318- Aural Perceptions III, or in the second semester of full-time music study if a student has satisfied the Music Theory and Aural Perceptions requirements. The faculty reserves the right to compel the initial interview for acceptance to the Upper Division Music Education program at any point in a Lower Division Music Education major’s course of study.

Applying or Reapplying to Upper Division

  1. Fulfill college competency requirements in mathematics and English composition
  2. Successfully complete MUS 122 with a minimum grade of C
  3. Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in major coursework and 3.0 overall as calculated by Degree Navigator
  4. Pass MUS 330: Theory III
  5. Pass MUS 218: Aural Perceptions III
  6. Pass a juried performance commensurate with admission to MUS 371
  7. Satisfactory professional disposition as assessed by the Professional Disposition Report (PDR)
  8. Compile and maintain an electronic teaching portfolio in TaskStream according to stated criteria (see Electronic Teaching Portfolio)
  9. Successfully pass the Music Education Interview (see Music Education Interview)
  10. Successfully pass the Musicianship Exam (see Musicianship Exam)
  11. The successful outcome of the above-described process will indicate the music faculty's confidence in the student's ability to complete the program and become a successful music educator. Students who are unsuccessful in attaining Upper Division status upon the initial attempt must reapply for Upper Division status one academic year following the initial attempt. Failure to pass the admission process on the second attempt will result in permanent dismissal from the music education program.

Music Education Interview

Interviews will be held each spring semester. Results of the Music Education interview will be based upon:

  • A review of the candidate’s electronic teaching portfolio
  • An overview of the candidate’s academic, musical, and professional teaching disposition progress and growth
  • The candidate’s brief oral presentation on his/her readiness to enter the Upper Division Music Education program
  • The candidate’s responses to the committee’s interview questions

Musicianship Exam
The exam will be held each spring semester. Exam preparation materials will be provided during the fall semester. The exam has five sections:

  • Improvisation
  • Singing and Playing Piano Accompaniment
  • Modified Piano Accompaniment
  • Sight Reading
  • Error Detection

The exam will be administered and graded by music education professors. Passing the exam will be determined as follows:

  • Pass: Pass all five sections.
  • Conditional Pass: Pass at least three sections. May be admitted to Upper Division pending results of other Upper Division admission requirements. If admitted to Upper Division, the student must retake failed sections at the end of first semester of Upper Division. Failure of retaken sections will result in removal from the Music Education degree.
  • Fail: Fail three sections or more. Must retake the entire exam.

Electronic Portfolios

All Music Education majors are required to compile and maintain an electronic teaching portfolio in Taskstream. Detailed requirements regarding content and layout are available online or from the music education coordinator. All portfolio design and content requirements will be covered in coursework. If additional assistance is required, it is the responsibility of the student to seek instruction or guidance from the music education coordinator or other appropriate sources. Students will NOT attain Upper Division Music Education status or be permitted to student teach without an appropriate electronic portfolio as determined in corresponding coursework.

Teacher Education Information

The Teacher Education Unit

The Music Education program at Buffalo State falls under the administrative umbrella of the Teacher Education Unit. Music education teacher candidate policies listed below are explicated in the Teacher Education Unit’s (TEU) Policy Handbook.

  • Fair Process Policy and Procedures
  • Professional Competencies for Teacher Education Candidates
  • Candidate Consultation Policy and Procedures
  • Resolution of Candidate Complaints
  • Candidate Consultation Report
  • Teacher Education Field Placement Policies
  • Field Placement Location and Transportation
  • Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) Policy
  • Transfer Policies

Matters of incongruence between the TEU Policy Handbook and the Music Department Handbook shall be resolved collaboratively by the Vice President for Teacher Education, the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and the Music Department Chair. Music Education majors should be familiar with the TEU’s mission, which is “…to prepare knowledgeable and skilled educators who are committed to ensuring that all students achieve their greatest intellectual, emotional, and physical potential.”

In addition, Music Education majors must have a working knowledge of the TEU’s conceptual framework. The conceptual framework for all teacher preparation programs at Buffalo State articulates the unit's vision, ensures coherence across candidates' programs and reflects our commitment to prepare candidates to work effectively with all students including students with culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse backgrounds and students with disabilities.

The Process

An evolutionary process based on program evaluation and research in teacher education has resulted in the present model that conceptualizes teaching as facilitating learning. Teachers take that which they understand and transform it for effective instruction through a cycle of activities involving:

  • Comprehension: an understanding of the purposes of education
  • Transformation: the process of transforming material by interpreting it critically in light of one's own evolving understanding, by identifying alternative ways of representing it to learners, by choosing from an instructional repertoire, and by adapting and tailoring it to learner characteristics.
  • Instruction: organizing and managing a classroom, presenting clear explanations, assigning and reviewing work, interacting with learners through questions and probes, responding to answers and reactions, and providing praise and criticism.
  • Evaluation: formal testing and formative assessment to obtain information for making instructional decisions, providing feedback to learners, and determining grades.
  • Reflection: the process of examining the teaching and learning that has occurred by reviewing, reconstructing, re-enacting, and analyzing one's own teaching behavior and the learners' performance. For Buffalo State's conceptual framework, the term "critical reflection" will be used to emphasize the need for teacher candidates to critically examine or reflect upon their performance as reflective facilitators of learning.

Required Outcomes for Music Education Students

The model describes the purposes, processes, outcomes, and evaluation of the professional education programs at the basic level. It consists of three major components -- the Learner, the Content and the Pedagogy. These three components are interrelated and integrated to prepare teacher candidates to assume roles as reflective facilitators of learning through coursework and experiences in each component of the model. The reflective facilitator of learning has a broad liberal arts background coupled with pedagogical knowledge and content knowledge and exemplifies those qualities and dispositions that characterize effective teachers.

When considering the three major components of the conceptual framework, it is important to acknowledge that all learning occurs within an ever-changing context: the environment of the school, the local community, and the broader society. Instructional context encompasses such factors as the prevalence of technology within a school, as well as those issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion. The nature of Buffalo State's teacher education programs reflects our awareness of the influence of instructional context on learning. We seek to prepare our candidates to experience a variety of teaching situations through authentic context learning experiences facilitated through various k-12 community partnerships, and to adjust continually to changes within the profession.

Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards

All degree candidates in the Music Education program will strive to attain and exhibit the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards.

  • ​​​​​​​Standard 1: Subject Matter

    The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.

  • Standard 2: Student Learning

    The teacher understands how children and youth learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.

  • The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to learners from diverse cultural backgrounds and with exceptionalities.

  • Standard 4: Instructional Strategies

    The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

  • Standard 5: Learning Environment

    The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

  • Standard 6: Communication

    The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

  • Standard 7: Planning Instruction

    The teacher plans and manages instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.

  • ​​​​​​​Standard 8: Assessment

    The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.

  • Standard 9: Reflection and Professional Development

    The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of her/his choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.

  • Standard 10: Collaboration, Ethics, and Relationships

    The teacher communicates and interacts with parents/guardians, families, school colleagues, and the community to support students' learning and well-being.

After Graduation

Graduates of the Bachelor of Music in Music Education program at Buffalo State receive New York State Initial Teacher Certification.

Information, Policies and Certification Procedures

Information, policies and procedures regarding certification is available through the Buffalo State Teacher Certification Office.

Teacher Certification Office