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Music education at OCU

Oklahoma City University cultivates a music education program that gives students the opportunity to thrive as professionals in the ever-changing Oklahoma education system.

As teacher shortages run rampant through the state of Oklahoma, schools are also experiencing a decline in enrollment in their education programs throughout the nation.

While many universities are facing the effects of declining enrollment in their programs, Oklahoma City University is defying that statistic with its thriving music education program.

OCU has developed a flourishing program to help students prosper as educators in the arduous teaching climate that exists today.

A degree in music education from OCU prepares students for professional careers in teaching instrumental music in a group setting. Students are trained to teach individual instruments, as well as instrumental ensembles, which results in public school certification at the K-12 levels.

With a degree in music education, students can pursue careers such as elementary general music, band, choir and vocal music education.

In addition to the requisite music degree requirements, the program includes:

  • An introduction to music education
  • Four semesters of instrumental or vocal technique methods
  • Four professional courses within the college of education
  • A choice of at least three upper-level Art of Teaching courses

Finally, students conclude the program with a student teaching internship in their final semester.

The program also includes an observation component that helps students become acquainted with master teachers as well as the discourse of school.

While pursuing a music education degree at OCU, students also have the opportunity to partner with El Sistema Oklahoma and Oklahoma City’s youth orchestra and choir programs.

“OCU’s unique placement in the center of the OKC metro affords numerous pre-service teaching experiences within the OKCPS and surrounding suburban school districts,” Assistant Professor of Music Peter Markes said.

Instrumental Music Education students have the opportunity for music teaching and conducting experiences outside of the Oklahoma City University classroom as well through a variety of means. Students teach private lessons in the schools and through the Oklahoma City University Performing Arts Academy. Students are hired or volunteer as sectional coaches for school ensembles. Students serve in leadership positions such as marching band techs, drumline coaches and music arrangers. Students also teach at summer music camps and festivals.

As of 2022, graduates of the program have a 100% pass rate on the Oklahoma teacher certification exams and 100% placement rate for those actively seeking teaching positions.

Several instrumental music education alumni have been named school and district Teachers of the Year. Two of those alumni have gone on to be named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in 2006 and 2014.

Paul Nguyen, an instrumental music education student at OCU, said, “Being in the heart of Oklahoma, I have been able to teach in local schools as a marching band tech and the only music teacher at another, work as an intern for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and participate in various opportunities to develop my professional career while still having the time to fulfil my academic expectations because of the state-of-the art facilities and professors who see me as a human , not as a number.”

To learn more about the music education program at OCU, visit okcu.edu/music/academics/degree-programs/undergraduate/education.

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