UK subscribes to the philosophy that training in music education should be as practical and hands-on as possible. Consequently, the curriculum includes a series of undergraduate seminars that integrate the real experiences of the music teacher in elementary and secondary schools with the development of skills for becoming an outstanding teacher. From the practical experience of conducting and rehearsing the school band, chorus, or orchestra to the development of a highly personal philosophy of teaching music, these seminars provide a rich foundation on which to build a successful career. In addition to the seminars, the music education majors also specialize in the teaching of general music in the elementary school with a broad overview of the Dalcroze, Kodaly, and Orff-Schulwerk approach as well as instruction in Modern Band. Vocal/general majors are required to take two courses in general music and instrumental majors are required to take just one, with the second course optional as an elective. An elementary music education laboratory, complete with instruments, music books, method materials, and technological equipment is part of the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library and is used extensively by music education students at all levels, elementary education students from the College of Education, and graduate music therapy students. A comprehensive study of brass, woodwind, percussion and string instruments are included in the curriculum at varying degrees, depending on the specialization and student background. A rich environment of successful school programs in Lexington/Fayette County and surrounding counties provide students with a wealth of opportunities for observations throughout their sophomore and junior years and for their semester-long student teaching experience. The School of Music is particularly proud that alumni in music education are teaching in the public schools of some 26 states around the country as well as in prestigious positions at major universities such as UCLA, University of Florida, Florida State University, Syracuse University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Middle Tennessee University, and the University of Kentucky as well as a number of smaller colleges and universities.
For music education majors at UK, even though preparation for teaching is a primary goal, it is equally important that all students are expected to be well-trained musicians. In most cases, there is minimal difference between the performance and academic expectations for music education majors and those who are classified as performance majors. An outstanding performance faculty in voice, keyboard, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion provides superior instruction for all music education majors. Related to the development of musicianship for all music education majors is the experience of playing in outstanding performing organizations.