Music education at Oregon State University is a dynamic undergraduate degree program that bridges traditions and innovations in music teaching and learning.  Our rigorous curriculum aims to prepare educators to start their teaching careers with a strong foundation of excellent musicianship, pedagogical strategies, and interpersonal skills. 

We are one of the few university programs in Oregon to offer four-year licensure as part of our Bachelor of Music degree. Students who graduate and complete the licensure process are eligible for employment as certified music teachers in the state of Oregon.

Our program is based around a revitalized sequence of coursework designed to prepare educators to respond to the ever-changing teaching demands of the modern job market.  This preparation includes extensive coursework in conducting and traditional ensemble leadership, but also includes innovative coursework in guitar and ukulele, developing creativity, music technology, embracing inclusion and diversity and other emerging trends in music education.

We do not operate on a traditional “emphasis model” where students must choose a particular career track at the outset of their degree.  Instead, we allow students the flexibility to partially design their own curriculum by choosing from a menu of music education electives.  This allows students the opportunity to take coursework that supplements their personal interests and strengths as their degree program evolves. 

Learn more about the Bachelor of Music in music education degree coursework.

Outcomes and dispositions of the OSU music education program

1. Our students and graduates are flexible musicians, who have:

  • competency in multiple musical styles and traditions
  • strong analytical skills
  • strong aural skills
  • developed abilities on multiple instruments and voice

2. Our students and graduates are flexible practitioners, who

  • adapt their teaching to meet learner needs
  • work as part of a team of educators within and beyond the arts
  • adjust to changing expectations of students, schools, and societies
  • continuously reflect and improve upon their own work

3. Our students and graduates are critical thinkers and consumers, who

  • understand the process of inquiry and knowledge generation
  • develop personal perspectives on contemporary musical and educational issues
  • make informed choices for themselves and students

4. Our students and graduates are purposeful designers, who

  • consider community context and incorporate student interests into curricula
  • employ backward design strategies
  • employ comprehensive musicianship approaches in ensemble classes
  • create effective plans for achieving long-term and short-term goals

5. Our students and graduates are empathetic and responsive individuals, who

  • prioritize people before achievement
  • create inclusive educational environments
  • uphold “fair does not mean equal” values

6. Our students and graduates are healthy and happy professionals, who

  • maintain rich personal and family lives
  • strive toward a sustainable work/life balance
  • model these behaviors for their students

7. Our students and graduates are creators of access to music instruction, who

  • find musical opportunities for all students regardless of ability or socioeconomic status
  • embrace musical diversity in the curriculum
  • establish policies and procedures that increase musical engagement across and within the school community

Meet the music education faculty

Wesley Brewer serves on the Oregon State University faculty as associate professor and coordinator of music education. He completed his doctoral studies in music education at Arizona State University. He holds a Master of Music in conducting from Southern Oregon University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Arizona.  Prior to his appointment at OSU, Brewer served as associate professor and director of music education at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University (Chicago, Illinois) from 2009-2016.

Dr. Brewer is the author of multiple scholarly publications including articles in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, The Journal of Music Teacher Education, Music Educators Journal, Research and Issues in Music Education, and a book chapter in Issues of Identity in Music Education: Narratives and Practices.  He has presented findings from his research at state, national, and international conferences throughout the United States and in Finland and Norway including meetings of the Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE), the American Educational Research Association, and the National Association for Music Education. Brewer was conference co-chair for Narrative Soundings: The Fifth International Conference on Narrative Inquiry in Music Education (NIME5) and also serves as the facilitator for the Society for Music Teacher Education’s Teacher Recruitment Area of Strategic Planning and Action.  In 2010, Dr. Brewer was named recipient of the national Outstanding Dissertation Award presented by the Council for Research in Music Education.

Sandra Babb (she/her/hers) is assistant professor of choral music education at Oregon State University, where she conducts the treble choir, OSU Bella Voce, and teaches courses in choral methods, vocal pedagogy, conducting and curricular foundations in music education. 

Dr. Babb is a native of Tampa, Florida, and she taught middle and high school choir and general music in the public schools of central Florida for ten years, while also conducting the Gulf Coast Girl Choir.

She received the Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music Education, and Ph.D. in Music Education from Florida State University where she was a student of Judy Bowers, Roy Delp, Cliff Madsen and André Thomas. Additionally, Babb is a National Center for Voice and Speech certified vocologist. Prior to her appointment at OSU, Babb was on the faculty at Queens College, CUNY, in New York City, and was the conductor of the Queens Youth Choir at the Aaron Copland School of Music. 

Babb is known for her work in developing choral tone, while also championing women composers and composers of color. Choirs under her direction have performed for the Oregon Music Educators Association and the Northwest NAfME Conference, and the Florida, New York, Southern Division, Northwestern Division and National Conferences of the American Choral Directors Association.  

Babb is an active conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States. She has presented at state, regional and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. She has published articles in the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, the Journal of Music Teacher Education, and the Choral Journal, and she is a contributing author for Composing in Choirs, GIA Publications (Kercher, J. L. & Strand, K, Eds.), Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, Volume IV, GIA Publications (Schiebe, J., et al., Eds.) and Voices in Concert, Hal Leonard Corporation (Crocker, E., Ed.). 

She currently serves as the Northwest ACDA youth and student activities chair and the Oregon ACDA treble choir chair. Past appointments include the Oregon Music Educators Association Society for Music Teacher Education chair, New York ACDA youth and student activities chair, Florida ACDA honor choir coordinator and the National ACDA high school/collegiate honor choir coordinator. 

Babb was the 2019-20 recipient of the OSU College of Liberal Arts Steve and Nancy Buck Faculty Development Award. She enjoys living in the Pacific Northwest, singing with the Corvallis Repertory Singers, building partnerships with area K-12 music teachers and directing the OSU Summer Choir Camp for high school singers. 

Christopher Bulgren serves as instructor of music education at Oregon State University. He has previously taught courses at Georgia Southern University, the Oberlin Conservatory, Eastern Michigan University, and Adrian College. Prior to his doctoral study in Michigan, he taught in Kansas Public Schools for seven years where he taught elementary general music, beginning band, and high school band. During this time, he completed his Orff levels certification and served on the board of the Kansas Orff Chapter. His research interests include gender in music education, popular music, and songwriting.