Music Teaching and Learning

The Music Teaching and Learning Department invites applicants for the master’s and doctoral degree programs, including our 2 newest degrees – Master of Music, Community Music and Master of Music, Contemporary Teaching Practice. You will find application information below for each degree.

For additional information regarding the degree programs, please contact Dr. Susan Helfter, Chair of Music Teaching and Learning, at helfter@usc.edu or (213) 872-2213. For further information with applications, please contact Thornton Admission at uscmusic@usc.edu or (213) 740-8986 or (800) 872-2213.

Master of Music – Community Music (MM)

Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by November 1 to allow greater time for faculty review. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

Application Deadline: December 1

Preferred qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music (or equivalent coursework to include applied music study, music ensemble performance, music history, music theory, conducting, music electives)
  • Minimum of two years teaching in a community-based music program

Applicants must submit the USC application for Graduate Admission, Thornton’s SlideRoom Application Form, and various other items. Details follow.

Thornton SlideRoom Application form

Applicants to the MM in Community Music must include the following items as part of Thornton’s SlideRoom Application:

  1. Resume
  2. Statement of objectives addressing why the candidate is interested in this degree and why Thornton might be a good fit
  3. Scholarly Writing Sample
  4. Teaching video – a video recording of the applicant teaching in a community music setting, for the purpose of evaluating teaching skills and level of experience. The video recording should be approximately 15 minutes in length.
  5. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.
  6. Letters of recommendation – three letters of recommendation must be submitted. Letters should speak to musicianship and potential as a teacher and community music leader/administrator. Submission instructions are included in the SlideRoom application form.
  7. GRE Scores. Minimum score requirements and other related information can be found here.
  8. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required from International applicants for whom English is a second language. Please include your scores on the application form where indicated, and be sure that an official score report is sent to USC’s Graduate Admission office by the application deadline. Minimum test score requirements and other relevant information can be found here.
  9. The faculty may contact applicants to set up an interview. Interviews may not be conducted every year, and all applicants may not be interviewed. Interviews can be conducted via phone, skype or in person, depending on the applicant’s location and availability. Applicants will be contacted if the faculty determine an interview is warranted.

USC Application for Graduate Admission

The following items must be submitted as part of the USC Graduate Application:

  1. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into the USC Graduate Application. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

Note – It is not necessary to complete the “Supporting Information” section in the USC Graduate Application. We prefer that you upload a detailed resume and statement of purpose as well as the digital profile mentioned above via SlideRoom instead. You will still need to click through the “Supporting Information” section, and “opt-out” of submitting information there.


 

Master of Music – Contemporary Teaching Practice (MM)

Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by November 1 to allow greater time for faculty review. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

Application Deadline: December 1


Preferred qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music (BM), or equivalent coursework to include applied music study, music ensemble performance, music history, music theory, conducting, music electives.

Following admission, and as soon as possible during the degree program, admitted students must complete the following:

  • Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEE) administered prior to the first semester of study at Thornton.
  • CBEST (California Basic Education Skills Test)
  • CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) for music
  • edTPA (Teaching Performance Assessment)

Applicants must submit the USC application for Graduate Admission, Thornton’s SlideRoom Application Form, and various other items. Details follow.

Thornton SlideRoom Application form

Applicants to the MM in Contemporary Teaching Practice must include the following items as part of the SlideRoom Application:

  1. Resume
  2. Statement of objectives addressing why the candidate is interested in this degree and why Thornton might be a good fit
  3. Scholarly Writing Sample
  4. Teaching video – video recording segments for the purpose of evaluating the applicant’s teaching skills and level of experience. The video recording should be approximately 15 minutes in length and, if possible, include different teaching settings that might reflect a variety of musical styles.
  5. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.
  6. Letters of recommendation – three letters of recommendation must be submitted. Submission instructions are included in the SlideRoom application form.
  7. GRE Scores. Minimum score requirements and other related information can be found here.
  8. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required from International applicants for whom English is a second language. Please include your scores on the application form where indicated, and be sure that an official score report is sent to USC’s Graduate Admission office by the application deadline. Minimum test score requirements and other relevant information can be found here.
  9. Optional: Candidates are encouraged to include examples of creative work in music such as music scores, audio or video recordings, or other work products that show a variety of musical styles including concert and vernacular music.
  10. The faculty may contact applicants to set up an interview. Interviews may not be conducted every year, and all applicants may not be interviewed. Interviews can be conducted via phone, skype or in person, depending on the applicant’s location and availability. Applicants will be contacted if the faculty determine an interview is warranted.

USC Application for Graduate Admission

The following items must be submitted as part of the USC Graduate Application:

  1. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into the USC Graduate Application. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

Note – It is not necessary to complete the “Supporting Information” section in the USC Graduate Application. We prefer that you upload a detailed resume and statement of purpose as well as the digital profile mentioned above via SlideRoom instead. You will still need to click through the “Supporting Information” section, and “opt-out” of submitting information there.


 

Master of Music – Music Teaching & Learning (MM)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

The Master of Music program provides music educators with courses and learning experiencesto deepen and broaden their scholarship, research, and practice in the field. We welcome applications from national and international students. In addition, we aim to accommodate local students who wish to maintain their full-time teaching jobs, offering alternative schedules, such as classes in the evenings and summers. The degree offers a seamless transition into the DMA in Music Teaching & Learning, with credit being applied for most courses taken at the master’s level.

The Doctor of Musical Arts in music education at USC equips future college and university professors to prepare new music teachers to meet the challenges of increasingly diverse and technologically-proficient communities, while being able to rigorously participate in the public debate on the value and roles of music and music education. Students have the opportunity to intern with university professors in music education methodology classes, including and going beyond traditional models and formal public school education. Scholarship skills are rigorously developed through studies in music education research, history, philosophy, sociology and psychology. Students will acquire writing and design skills for a wide range of multimedia publications, while being able to pursue a choice of research activities or cutting-edge creative work that will enable them to lead our profession. In addition, students have the opportunity to choose two additional minor fields of study within or outside of music. We welcome applications from national and international students. In addition, we aim to accommodate local students who wish to maintain their full-time teaching jobs, offering alternative schedules, such as classes in the evenings and summers.

Thornton SlideRoom Application form

Applicants to the MM, Music Teaching and Learning or DMA, Music Teaching and Learning will include the following items as part of the SlideRoom Application:

  1. Resume or CV. This should include musical, professional and academic experience, including job descriptions for 2 years of teaching experience for MM applicants or 3 years of teaching experience for DMA applicants. Teaching experience can be private, public or studio teaching, though some evidence of successful group instruction is preferred.
  2. Statement of purpose addressing why the applicant is interested in this degree and why Thornton is a good fit.
  3. Personal Introductory Videa (DMA only). For detailed instructions click here.
  4. Scholarly Writing Sample. This should consist of a literature review or research report in the field of Music Teaching and Learning.
  5. Teaching video. This video recording of the applicant’s teaching is for the purpose of assessing teaching skills and level of experience. The video recording should be approximately 15 minutes in length.
  6. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.
  7. Letters of recommendation – three letters of recommendation must be submitted. Letters should speak to musicianship and potential as a teacher and community music leader/administrator. Submission instructions are included in the SlideRoom application form.
  8. GRE Scores. Minimum score requirements and other related information can be found here.
  9. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required from International applicants for whom English is a second language. Please include your scores on the application form where indicated, and be sure that an official score report is sent to USC’s Graduate Admission office by the application deadline. Minimum test score requirements and other relevant information can be found here. Please note that scores well beyond the minimum acceptable are preferable.

The faculty may contact applicants to schedule an interview. Interviews may not be conducted every year, and all applicants may not be interviews. Interviws can be conducted via phone, skype, or in person, depending on the applicant’s location and availability. Applicants will be contact if the faculty determine an interview is warranted.

USC Application for Graduate Admission

The following items must be submitted as part of the USC Graduate Application:

  1. Copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into the USC Graduate Application. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Also remember to have official transcripts submitted to USC following the procedure outlined above. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

Note: It is not necessary to complete the “Supporting Information” section in the USC Graduate Application. We prefer that you upload a detailed resume and statement of purpose as well as the digital profile mentioned above via SlideRoom instead. You will still need to click through the “Supporting Information” section and “opt-out” of submitting information there.