Music Education

Conservatory of Music

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Laura Joss, Chair of Music Education Department
(440) 826-2368,


At Baldwin Wallace, your path to becoming a professional and resourceful educator can begin as early as freshman year with relevant coursework and in-school classroom observations.

BW's music education program helps you acquire the knowledge, skills, technical competencies and professional perspectives to prepare for an ever-changing education environment.

Real-world experience is key. At BW, you'll be in the classroom doing observations and assisting the teacher in your first year.

BW graduates meet a rigorous set of standards on their way to licensure eligibility. As a result, they meet and often exceed requirements set by the State of Ohio. To date, 100 percent of BW music education graduates have passed the Ohio Teacher License test.

Small classes, personalized attention and faculty mentoring are at the forefront of the program. BW's faculty-student ratio is 7:1 for the Conservatory of Music.

BW faculty are established professionals with real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections. They're published composers, authors, educators, musicians and researchers.

Also beneficial is BW's close proximity to Cleveland and its nationally ranked music and arts organizations.


BW's comprehensive curriculum of choral and instrumental instruction prepares you for licensure in music for pre-k through grade 12. Non-classroom opportunities include:

  • Private instrumental and vocal instruction
  • Administrative roles within arts and education organizations
  • Theatre/music theatre director
  • Church music director
  • Nonprofit work


Baldwin Wallace University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association. Individual education programs also are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The University's licensure programs are approved by the State of Ohio Department of Education.


BW is closing in on achieving the elite All-Steinway School designation for its Conservatory of Music. Once accomplished, BW will join a prestigious list of 11 conservatories worldwide that boast this renowned classification. The addition of 88 Steinway pianos will further elevate your learning experience by having lessons and performance opportunities on the same quality instruments that are the standard in concert halls worldwide.


Striking Boesel Musical Arts Center is a picturesque four-building complex that houses BW's Conservatory of Music. It's a seamless blend of historic architecture and modern design. The facility houses 50 soundproofed practice rooms, instructional space, practice studios and impressive rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.


Innovation, excellence and outstanding hands-on learning and performance opportunities make Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music a proven choice for students nationwide. The undergraduate-only Conservatory provides an exceptional learning environment for students to take lead roles in performing, conducting, managing and teaching. Alumni can be found at top graduate schools and working with the best orchestras, operas and theatres. Other alumni are employed in rewarding positions in teaching, arts management and music therapy.


BW Conservatory of Music students are achievers. Over the past three years, the average ACT score for incoming students was 26. The average SAT score was 590 for verbal and 570 for mathematics.


Upon completion of your studies, you'll graduate with a Bachelor of Music Education degree.

Through coursework, you'll study music theory, history and literature, tonal harmony, Solfège and more. You'll also take education classes that focus on classroom instruction, teaching philosophy and other pertinent topics.

Outside the classroom, you'll take private lessons and participate in a major ensemble and other performance activities. You also can get involved with BW's New Horizons Band and the Ohio Music Education Association.

The culmination of your studies is student teaching in your senior year. Working collaboratively with an experienced music educator in a local school district, you'll spend an entire semester practicing instruction in the field.


Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Student success is a top priority. Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's Conservatory of Music programs.

With more than 325 events a year, Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music offers an impressive array of performance opportunities


Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music has outstanding campus performance traditions and collaborations with regional and national organizations. A few examples include:

  • Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival
    The three-day campus event is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival in the country. It features lectures, BW performance groups, faculty members and renowned professional soloists and musicians. Baldwin Wallace students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience. The festival is evolving to include year-round events, such as Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.
  • FOCUS Festival of Contemporary Music
    The biennial festival features the music of a contemporary composer who visits Baldwin Wallace for a week-long residency. At the conclusion of the week's rehearsals and symposia, the composer's music is performed in a series of concerts, including large ensembles and chamber groups.
  • Art Song Festival
    BW Conservatory of Music is home to this week-long biennial event that brings international concert artists, singers and pianists to campus. The festival focuses on the unique relationship between singer and pianist in the performance of art song repertoire. It provides an opportunity to hear renowned artists in both recital and master classes.


Personally and professionally rewarding, student organizations and activities foster career skills, leadership and teamwork. Opportunities for music education majors include:

  • SMART Program
    The SMART (Shaping Music And Reading Together) Program is a student-run initiative at Baldwin Wallace that uses musical activities to improve reading skills in young children. It is a collaboration between the Conservatory music education and music therapy departments. Its mission is to strengthen the reading fluency, social skills and cultural diversity awareness of small children through a creative musical experience.
  • American String Teachers Association (ASTA)
    This organization is open to any student interested in playing or teaching string instruments. Members participate in workshops and performances.  
  • Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association (OCMEA)
    This association prepares pre-service teachers to be holistic educators by arranging professional development, leadership and networking opportunities designed to help members be successful.


At Baldwin Wallace, student learning experiences are enhanced by exceptional resources that include:

  • Riemenschneider Bach Institute
    The institute houses rare items related to J.S. Bach and his circle, as well as historical reference materials, scores and a collection of classic recordings. It has one of the nation's most impressive holdings of Baroque manuscripts and first editions. It attracts scholars from around the world.
  • Ferne Patterson Jones Memorial Music Library
    A valuable campus resource, the library offers 18,000 scores, 7,000 books, and more than 10,000 sound and video recordings. Online resources to which the library subscribes include over one million tracks of streaming audio and video. Help with research is available by appointment, on a walk-in basis or through email.


A bachelor's degree in music education can be a stepping-stone to post graduate education or can lead directly to a career.

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates are pursuing advanced studies at:

  • Arizona State University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Eastman School of Music
  • Florida State University
  • Hartt School of Music
  • Indiana University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Texas
  • University of South Carolina

Career Success

Braden PontoliBraden Pontoli '13 is vocal music instructor at Learwood Middle School in Avon Lake, Ohio. BW provided him with a holistic Conservatory education that emphasized hands-on experiences, rigorous vocal training and exposure to influential choir directors. He also gained managerial skills working with the Men's Chorus.

Rachel KrautsackRachel Krautsack '13 is strings teacher in the Charleston County School District in Charleston, S.C. In addition, she directs the county-wide youth orchestra and works with the summer strings program. The internships she acquired at BW with the Youth Orchestra and New Horizons program prepared her to enter her career with teaching experience.

Laura SchupbachLaura Schupbach '10 is choir director, woodwinds instructor and musical theater director at Hawken Middle School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Hands-on teaching experiences at BW helped her gain skills in crafting and executing music lessons. Professional memberships provided her with internship opportunities.

Jared RawlingsJared Rawlings '04 is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. BW taught him the importance of service and compelling musical leadership, which guide and inform his pedagogical practices. His research interests include social justice, pre-service music teacher education and bullying in schools.


Full-Time Faculty

Laura Joss
Chair, Music Education Department
Assistant Professor
M.M., Loyola Univeristy

Herbert David Marshall
Associate Professor in Music Education
Ph.D., Temple University

Jordan Saul
Associate Director, Choral Studies
M.M., Westminster Choir College

Gina Yi
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Michigan State University

Adjunct Faculty

James Bane
M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music/Case Western Reserve University

Jill Pongracz Murrell
M.A., Marygrove College

Kevin Gulden
Student Teacher Supervisor
M.Ed., Cleveland State University