School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Keith A. Currie


Music Education, Rural Education, Embedded, Music Teachers, Curriculum


Education | Music | Music Education


Rural school districts across the nation have been at a crossroads for decades. The amount of funding and resources provided to these small towns is often meager and falls short to provide the schools and students with the proper education, teacher training, curriculum, building maintenance, and other necessary educational materials. School officials and board members in these areas across the nation each year have had to make the hard decisions of what to prioritize and what will have to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, cuts in budgetary and educational reform have regularly faced music education programs and it has become easier and easier for these school districts to reduce prioritization of the arts. However, since the rural education districts make up approximately one-third of the nation’s schools, this is no longer something that can be ignored. While funding issues may not have easy solutions, and families sometimes do not have the choice or opportunity to move their child into a district with ample funding, a bridge needs to be built. Statistics show that students who have an opportunity to express themselves in this artistic manner in school are happier, more willing to complete work in other subject areas, and excited to attend school each day.

This study seeks to offer realistic solutions to the lack of music education opportunities in these rural elementary environments. This study aims to demonstrate that with the careful selection of music curriculum that works to embed the skills of music with other necessary skills in other subject areas, professionals in these rural school environments can bring the enrichment of music education to the general classroom no matter the educator’s musical skill level. We are a nation that seeks to constantly find ways to approach standards from cross-curricular foundations where students can be introduced to necessary skill sets from a variety of perspectives and subject areas. This can also be true for the arts and used for the greater good of all students – not just those naturally gifted in creative patterns. The use of a musically embedded elementary curriculum for the rural education setting gives general educators opportunities to expose students to musical outlets and therefore offering them a wider perspective of their futures.