Master of Music in Music Education (Autism Concentration)

Department

Program Description

Berklee’s Master of Music in music education (autism concentration), part of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs (BIAESN), is the first and only program of its kind. Designed for music educators who wish to gain specialized knowledge, skills, and experience in teaching music to students with autism and other disabilities, this program features innovative training, cutting-edge research activities, and a community of educators and scholars committed to providing quality music education to all students.

Students will be guided in their studies by leaders in the field who are committed to including all people in musical and learning experiences. Berklee is a pioneer in the field of music education for students with disabilities. In addition to Boston Conservatory at Berklee being the first conservatory to offer specialized educator training programs in this area, Berklee was the first higher education institution to launch an institute devoted to this area. 

The BIAESN includes three main areas of work:

Students in this program will have the opportunity to teach in and observe the work of BIAESN's arts education programs, gaining valuable hands-on experience. They will also participate in a wide range of professional development offerings, including an annual conference. Additionally, they have the opportunity to engage with distinguished guest scholars and practitioners within courses and other program-related activities. 

There are several key features of this program that distinguish it from other master’s degree programs in music education. Its contemporary content and approach give unique attention to teaching students with autism and other disabilities, culturally responsive pedagogy, critical theory (including critical race theory, critical gender theory, and critical disability studies), cutting-edge technology, independent research and pedagogical projects, and multiple dimensions of assessment in music education.

It is also designed with a working teacher's schedule in mind, allowing maximum flexibility in class times, remote work, and starting semesters. The program’s schedule includes four semesters of coursework: Summer Session 1, the fall semester, the spring semester, and Summer Session 2. This schedule is designed to accommodate music educators who may be on a K–12 teaching calendar by offering evening courses in the fall and spring semesters and two full-time summer sessions.

Entrance Requirements
  • A bachelor’s degree in music, music education, or music pedagogy
  • An audition on a musical instrument or voice
  • An admissions interview with Music Education Department representatives
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • construct music education curricular modifications that meet the needs of students with autism and other disabilities;
  • execute adaptive pedagogical strategies in music education that meet the needs of students with autism and other disabilities; 
  • integrate evidence-based pedagogical strategies from special education into their music education pedagogy;
  • analyze issues in the field of music education from multiple perspectives;
  • evaluate teaching practices in music education from multiple perspectives; 
  • assess their teaching practice from a culturally responsive perspective;
  • employ technology to promote student learning in music education settings;
  • design assessments that provide valuable information about student learning and progress in music education settings;
  • execute original research in the field of music education for students with disabilities; and
  • develop educational materials that promote student learning in music education settings.

 

Curriculum and Courses

The highlight of the Master of Music in music education (autism concentration) is the specialized curriculum in special needs and autism.

The culminating experience provides students with the opportunity to conduct and report original research in a master’s degree thesis or to create original educational materials in a range of formats (two courses, each 3 credits). 

Independent student projects in research and practice are a key component of this program. During the fall and spring semesters, students have the opportunity to create a meaningful bridge between their graduate studies and their teaching practice. The academic year courses consist of practicum courses in which students apply what they are learning to the classroom through observations and action research. 

Required Courses (30 credits total):

  • Foundations and Contemporary Issues in Music Education (3 credits)
  • Arts Learning and Assessing the Student of Today (3 credits)
  • Directed Study: Music Education and Autism Practicum 1 (3 credits)
  • Directed Study: Music Education and Autism Practicum 2 (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders (3 credits)
  • Special Needs and the Gifted Child (3 credits)
  • Autism, Music, and Behavioral Teaching Methods (3 credits)
  • Culminating Experience or Thesis (6 credits)
  • Elective (3 credits; options include choral or instrumental conducting, leadership and administration in music education, music education research, private applied lessons, ensembles, music history courses, advanced music theory courses, arranging, composition, improvisation, and more.)

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