Tag Archives: music


Developing an original musical composition inspired by visual artworks: The student chooses a collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc. from an art museum as inspiration to create an original instrumental or song cycle composition. In the project paper, the student analyzes how specific elements of the artworks such as line, color, form, emotional themes, etc. influenced their musical composition. They discuss the compositional process and how they tried to translate visual elements into musical elements. Musical excerpts and digital photographs of the artworks would be included. The total length of the paper would be between 15,000-20,000 characters including spaces.

Creating musical arrangements and sound design for a theatrical production: The student works closely with a theatre department to compose and arrange new musical pieces and create sound designs for an upcoming play or dance production. They research the time period and cultural influences on the work being staged. Original compositions, arrangements of public domain music, and sound effects are included. In the paper, the student discusses their artistic process, challenges faced, collaborative efforts with the directors and other designers. They analyze how the music and sounds helped enhance specific dramatic moments and achieved the overall artistic vision. Audio and video excerpts would be included.

Curating and producing an interdisciplinary performance showcase: The student serves as the curator and producer for a live event featuring choreography, musical performances, poetry readings, and visual art displays all themed around a particular concept or historical era. They work with students and faculty across disciplines to commission new works. logistical and promotional responsibilities. The paper describes the selection process for works, production of promotional materials, securing of a performance venue, and discusses artistic themes that emerged. It analyzes audience reception and critical reviews. Photos, programs, and recordings of select performances supplement the paper.

Creating a musical composition inspired by data sonification: The student works with a computer science student to sonify real-world datasets from sources like astronomy, biology, economics, social media, etc. They analyze the data to determine important patterns and trends that could be translated into musical elements like rhythm, melody, timbre, harmony, and form. An original scored composition is created that aims to convey insights about the dataset to listeners. In the paper, they discuss the dataset, sonification process, compositional decisions, and how well non-music listeners grasped understandings about the data from listening. Audio excerpts would bring the composition to life.

Designing musical interventions for arts-based therapy programs: The student researches the benefits of music therapy for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, trauma recovery, etc. They then work with a psychology professor and local care facilities to design and implement original music-based therapeutic programs and evaluate their outcomes. Components could include personalized playlists, group singing/playing, music and movement, reminiscence playlists for Alzheimer’s patients. The paper analyzes relevant literature on music therapy, the intervention designs, lessons learned, responses from clients and caregivers. It discusses how music can be used as a non-verbal form of expression and communication to achieve therapeutic goals.

Curating an interdisciplinary exhibit on the relationships between music and another domain: The student researches and curates an on-campus pop-up exhibition exploring the connections between music and another subject area like history, science, visual art, dance, film, etc. Physical and digital display elements include descriptive text, images, audio/video clips, interactive demos, and guest lectures that bring to life the themes. In the accompanying paper, they provide an extensive literature review on the topic, describe the exhibit components and layout, and analyze visitor feedback/reviews. The project demonstrates cross-disciplinary understanding and skills in research, curation, and public programming.

Those are just a few examples of innovative capstone projects students could undertake that integrate music with other fields of study. The level of research, collaboration, hands-on work, and analytical writing involved in projects on this scale provide rich opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning and skill-building. Let me know if any part of this response needs further elaboration or clarification.


Start by articulating clear program goals and student learning outcomes. Define what skills, knowledge, and qualifications students should have upon completing the program. Consult national and state standards and frameworks to ensure the program meets requirements. Interview and survey current students, faculty, and local music educators to understand their perspectives and needs from the program.

Design a curriculum map that sequences courses over four years to build students’ skills and knowledge incrementally toward mastery of the learning outcomes. Consider courses in music theory, music history, conducting, applied lessons, ensembles, and educational foundations. Ensure there is a strong focus on both content knowledge in music and pedagogical skills for teaching. Scaffold field experiences like observations and student teaching throughout the program.

Build flexibility into the program to allow for student interests and specializations. Consider concentrations, minors, or electives in areas like band, orchestra, chorus, general elementary, technology in music education, and music therapy. Collaborate across academic departments to leverage other course offerings. Provide academic advising to help students plan multi-year course schedules.

Recruit and retain high-caliber faculty who are active scholars and performers in their field, as well as skilled teachers. Hire sufficient full-time faculty and utilize qualified part-time or adjunct faculty as needed. Offer competitive salaries, professional development support, and career incentives to attract and retain top talent. Foster a collegial atmosphere where faculty can continuously improve their teaching through collaboration, observation, and feedback.

Establish partnerships with local school districts and arrange field experiences and student teaching placements. Work with cooperating teachers and administrators to provide meaningful, supervised opportunities for pre-service teachers to apply their learning in K-12 classrooms. Secure internships, apprenticeships, or service opportunities to give experiences outside of traditional classrooms as well.

Assess program effectiveness through formative and summative measures. Survey students before and after their studies to measure perceived growth. Evaluate key assessments like recitals, student teaching evaluations, and edTPA performance. Analyze placement and retention rates, employer feedback, and alumni surveys. Use assessment data to refine curriculum, identify gaps, strengthen partnerships, and celebrate successes.

Develop necessary performance and rehearsal spaces, instrument storage, teaching studios, and technology to support the program. Equip classrooms, labs, and lesson rooms with tools and software needed for music instruction. Provide an accessible inventory of instruments, equipment, and other materials for on-campus use, practice, and coursework. Maintain resources and continuously invest in upgrading facilities.

Promote the program through a well-designed website, on-campus marketing, mailings, and community engagements. Host recruiting events, information sessions, performances, and camps to raise awareness. Leverage social media platforms popular with current and prospective students. Provide individualized advising and mentorship to shepherd applicants through the admission process. Award scholarships to attract strong candidates.

Regularly evaluate progress toward goals, monitor external factors affecting the field, and be prepared to adapt the program accordingly. Enlist an advisory board including alumni, employers, and professional organization members to provide guidance and stay current with evolving needs. Adjust content, assessments, partnerships, facilities, and recruitment based on continuous review of impact, feedback, and trends. Maintain academic accreditation and professional certification as requirements change over time.

With careful planning, strong administration and support, quality instruction, and ongoing reflection, a music education program following these evidence-informed strategies can prepare graduates well for rewarding careers teaching and inspiring future musicians. Regular maintenance ensures the program effectively meets evolving demands to train the next generation of music educators.