This program qualifies graduates for certification to teach music in grades K-12. Calvin’s professional degree program in music education is designed to prepare you to teach music (general, choral, and instrumental) in public and private schools, from kindergarten through high school.

In Calvin's Music Education program, you will be challenged to develop your musicianship through lessons, ensembles, conducting courses, and studies in music theory and literature, together with courses that integrate theory with practice for the prospective music teacher. Learn how to think and act as a Christian educator in the music classroom.

Becoming a music education major 

If you plan to major in music education, it is important that you notify both the music department and the registrar’s office as soon as possible after being admitted to or enrolling in Calvin College. This 66-credit hour program requires four consecutive years of courses to graduate, so you want to be sure to consult with the music education faculty advisor, Professor Phillip Hash, who will guide you through the process of completing all of your graduation requirements. No entrance audition is required.

First Step: Discuss the requirements for majoring in music education with a faculty member.

Second Step: During your first year of study (two semesters) complete the following:

  • Overall GPA of at least 2.5
  • A grade of C or better in Music 101 Introduction to the Musical World (offered every fall semester)
  • A grade of C or better in Music 108 Music Theory I and credit for passing Music 108L Music Theory I Lab
  • Evaluation of keyboard proficiency
  • A grade of C or better in two semesters of private music lessons (100 level or higher)
  • A passing grade of B in the BME approval jury

Third Step: fulfill the requirements for admission into the Teacher Education Program: Requirements for admission to the Teacher Education Program are given in the Teacher Education Program Guidebook.

Completing the music education major 

The faculty of the music department wants you to become a well-rounded and versatile musician, so, in addition to taking courses, ensembles and private lessons, you are expected to complete some important departmental requirements before you can graduate with a music degree:

In order to become a well-rounded and versatile musician, music education majors must also complete the following requirements prior to graduation:

Piano Proficiency

All music majors must pass levels 1 and 2 of the piano proficiency exam.

Level 1

  • Major and minor (natural, melodic, harmonic) scales in all keys, 2 octaves, hands together, in eighth notes, metronome at quarter note = 72 minimum, conclude with I-IV-V-I cadence
  • Tonic triad and inversions in all major and minor keys (blocked, broken), one octave, maintaining a steady, consistent tempo
  • Sight reading using both hands, 4-8 measure length in treble and bass clef
  • A prepared piece: difficulty about Royal Conservatory Syllabus level 3; You may use music
  • Improvisation in single line, 4-8 measures, using major or minor scales

Level 2

  • Chord progressions (primary, secondary chords), including transposition
  • Harmonizing melodies using primary and secondary chords, transposition included
  • Realization of figured bass
  • Melodies in C clef (alto, tenor) or written for transposing instruments, with 10 minutes for preparation.
  • Playing from lead sheets
  • Blues scale, improvisation (12-bar blues form)

Music Education majors develop additional keyboard skills in required music education courses.

Recital Hour

Recital Hour (MUSC 180) is a weekly seminar for music majors and minors that provides experience in public performance for music students as well as opportunities to hear performances of a wide range of music literature. Additional topics related to music study are offered throughout the semester. Attendance at Recital Hour is required for all music majors and minors as determined by their program. Music majors must attend additional concert events and complete music major cards.


The final exam for your private lesson each semester is called a “jury.” The jury is a panel of music faculty and private lesson instructors who listen to you perform what you’ve studied during the semester, provide helpful feedback and evaluate your progress in applied music. The Bachelor of Music Education (BME) Jury is a special jury exam used to evaluate a student’s readiness to be approved for the music education major and prepare to present a required recital.

Student Recitals

If you plan to complete the Bachelor of Music Education degree with a major in music education you must perform a half-recital program (approximately 30 minutes).

To receive your certification, you will also take core and professional education courses. Learn more here.

Students intending to major in music education should notify the registrar during Passport and will meet with Prof. Phillip Hash, Coordinator of Music Education, in their first semester at Calvin to go over the four-year plan for completing the program. Detailed information about declaring a major in music education and completing the program are found in the Music Handbook.

Music Education K-12 Instrumental (BME)

(66 semester hours)

Music Education K-12 Major Vocal/Choral (BME)

(66 semester hours)

*Students in the BME vocal program may choose piano or organ as their primary performance area provided they take two hours of applied voice in addition to piano/organ lessons, and pass a vocal jury following two semesters of study. Students may not test out of this requirement.


Sample Four Year Plan (2016-2017)

Please note that in addition to these music courses, music education majors will also need to complete their core education requirements. Talk to your advisor about working these courses into your four-year schedule.

First Year


  • Private Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 101 Intro to the Musical World
  • 108 Theory I and Theory I Lab


  • Developing a Christian Mind (DCM)


  • Private Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 207 Theory II
  • 213 Aural Perception
  • EDUC 102

Sophomore Year


  • Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 237 Conducting
  • 196 Brass Methods
  • EDUC 202


  • Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 208 Music Theory III
  • 195 String Methods
  • 337 Instrumental or 338 Choral Conducting
  • 352 Instr. Lit. and Materials (Instr. Emphasis)

Junior Year


  • Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 205 Music History I
  • 239 Teaching General Music
  • 197 Percussion Methods
  • 351 Choral Literature (Vocal/Choral Emphasis)
  • 341 Vocal-Choral Pedagogy


  • Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 206 Music History II
  • 198 Woodwind Methods
  • EDUC 302/303

Senior Year


  • Lesson
  • Ensemble
  • 305 Music History III
  • 339 Curr. & Inst. in Music Ed
  • EDUC 307
  • EDUC 398


  • EDUC 346 Student Teaching
  • 359 Seminar in Music Methods

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