Universities in Texas

March 31, 2018, 10:06 PM · Hello! So, I have successfully auditioned and gotten into the music schools I auditioned for. I was doing some research on music schools, and the University of North Texas popped up. After a bit of research, it looks like they have a really good music school. Does anybody here know about it? I want to be a education major, and the requirements seem pretty achievable to me.

Replies (14)

March 31, 2018, 10:25 PM · UNT has a very good music school but you should probably know that due to the Texas requirements, a music ed degree is a five-year program in most cases.
Edited: April 1, 2018, 9:09 AM · Would you recommend going there over schools such as Butler or Ball State University? I know you probably don’t know much about them though.
I looked at the audition rep for music ed, and it seemed a bit easy compared to other schools I looked at.
April 1, 2018, 12:04 PM · I’m confused – aren’t you already a senior? Isn’t it a bit late in the day to be looking at schools to apply to now? Plus you would be giving up in-state tuition in Indiana if you went to school in Texas.

I suggest you think very carefully about where you want to be living and what you want to be doing 10 years from now, and then work backwards to determine what school would give you the best start in that direction. If you want to be living and teaching in Indiana, you would be better off going to school there.

April 1, 2018, 12:55 PM · You will probably want to ask some pertinent questions if you are interested in UNT. Ask if you will be taught applied lessons with a graduate student. Also find out what the methods courses entail, whether there are 4 required 1 semester courses in teaching violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Also, how many courses are in wind instruments.

You will notice that the audition material is different for music education and performance. the mused degree requires a movement from a concerto or concert piece (meaning something like
Seitz student concerto #5, or Monti Czardas) which goes above 3rd or 4th position.No memorization is required.

The reason I point this out is because I teach at Baylor University which has a very respected string mused program. Audition requirements are identical to performance majors and memorization is required. We expect our students to be able to perform well so as to be role models for their students. Also 4 of our methods classes are for the 4 stringed instruments, and wind methods classes are limited. The rank of our string music education specialist is associate professor rather than lecturer. All string music ed students study their applied instruments with a full time faculty member and never with a graduate student. Close to 100% of our students immediately are employed after graduation.

April 1, 2018, 1:03 PM · Mary Ellen's point about in-state tuition is extremely important. Given that as BMusEd degree almost certainly means you're going to be a public-school teacher, you want to finish your undergrad degree with little to no debt, since you're already going to have a tough time making a decent living.

A glance at Google shows combined fees at Butler to be a staggering $52k/year. Ball State is $24k, which is less than half that price tag. UNT would be in-between, estimated at more than $38k.

If you want to become a teacher in Indiana, an Indiana state school makes the most sense, since they will follow the licensing requirements most closely.

It looks like a typical public-school teacher in Indiana makes about $50k in base salary. Don't go to a school that costs more per year than you'll make when you graduate.

April 1, 2018, 1:12 PM · I’m leaning more towards Ball State with my scholarships right now. I really just want to get the best education I can get, but many of the best music schools are way too difficult for me to get in right now. I don’t really care where I’m living or working. I really just want to teach music.

Mary Ellen, isn’t it possible to transfer schools?

This is just something I’m thinking about.

April 1, 2018, 2:50 PM · Of course it's possible to transfer schools but I'm having a very hard time following your thinking. You've been admitted to a reasonably priced in-state school. Please listen to Lydia (and me) and don't blow off the financial side of your college education as less important. Whether you graduate with debt (and how much) can have a huge impact on your future happiness.

Bruce is of course correct about the quality of Baylor's program but cost is an issue there too.

Edited: April 1, 2018, 8:14 PM · Remember that the core goal of a BMusEd is *not* to make you a better violinist. You'll take lessons and hopefully become a better violinist, but the program is designed to give you the skills that you'll need to become a public-school music teacher, which is vastly more far-ranging than playing the violin.

That means that you'll need to learn to play and teach the whole string-instrument family, not just violin. You will almost certainly have to learn basic wind, brass, and percussion methods, as well, in addition to getting basic proficiency with piano. And they'll teach you to conduct a choir of kids, a band, and a string orchestra.

Also, they'll teach you a bunch about education itself, including how to manage a classroom of students. I believe in most states, you need to qualify as a general public-school educator as well, so there'll be some test prep to that end.

That doesn't leave very much room in your schedule. Transferring is generally a bad idea because it means that you take a program that's already hard to pack into 4 years, and screw it up with transfer credits, possibly requiring you to repeat some classes (which is really undesirable because there's a good chance that those won't be the violin-related classes). And that adds time and expense.

If I were you, I'd certainly think about where I want to live, because you should go to school in that state in order to optimize your chance of landing a public school job there. Choose a state that still *has* instrumental music programs and enough of an education budget that they'll probably continue to hire music teachers in the future. On casual glance it seems like Indiana is such a state, and Ball State produces a supply of BMusEds that manage to get jobs, so this seems like a good bet. Presumably the fact that its grads get hired means that the program does a good job of producing teachers that are useful to Indiana's public schools -- i.e., the education is a decent one for the price tag.

Over the years, I've played with umpteen public (and private) school-teachers in community orchestras, chamber-music ensembles, and the like. Proficiency on their instrument is a tiny part of what makes them good teachers. (Some of them have been quite proficient on their primary instrument. Many of them are at the same technical level as good amateurs, although their greater training often results in better musicianship.)

April 2, 2018, 8:00 AM · I probably should have mentioned this to, but there is sort of a personal reason for wanting to go to Texas.
April 2, 2018, 8:48 AM · Jacob, all I can say about any possible personal reasons affecting your choice now is that the difference in life choices available to you five, eight, or ten years from now is HUGE depending on whether you have $80K, $40K, or $0K in debt from your undergrad degree. We're not talking about medical school debt here. We're talking about a degree program that will qualify you for a $50K (or less, depending on where you live) job.
April 2, 2018, 9:59 AM · If the "personal reason" is a girl, don't do it.
April 2, 2018, 10:33 AM · Oh it’s not.
Edited: April 2, 2018, 11:10 AM · Go into as little debt as possible.

I went to UNT for an MusEd degree 20 years ago (I didn't graduate from there- I transferred and changed majors), and I don't think the program is as good as it was back then. TCU has a much better music program if you're wanting to get into the DFW area.

As far as cost, though, I agree with others- get in as little debt as possible. It might not be on your radar now, but imagine what it's going to be like to have an $800-$1000 payment for the next 25 years. When you get ready to buy a house and have a family, this means living in a less than desirable school district because you can't afford anywhere else. The choices you make now will impact you for the rest of your life. Don't start your adult life hobbled with a huge student loan payment.

You'll get a perfectly good education at a college in your state, and if you want more education, many school districts will pay for part or all of a master's degree.

Edited to add: Transferring college credits can be difficult across state lines. You may have to retake some classes that won't be accepted by your new school.

April 2, 2018, 12:31 PM · After some thought, I agree. The financial benefits of staying here in state are too valuable.

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