Jul 15, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Contemporary Teaching Practice (MM)

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The Master of Music in Contemporary Teaching Practice is designed as an intensive program and places special emphasis on urban settings. The overall goal of this degree is to provide a credential path for graduate music students who wish to teach in public and private schools in California and other states. The program will build on the students’ undergraduate preparation in music (including music theory, aural skills, keyboard skills, music history and performance education including playing, singing, conducting and ensemble work) by adding courses in music teaching and learning and general education. Special course work in music in the lives of children and youth, contemporary teaching methods, music composition/improvisation, research and assessment, and community and entrepreneurial engagement will highlight the degree. Certain courses will include extensive field experiences in the schools. Attention will be paid to children with special needs and English Language Learners (ELL), as mandated by the state of California. Finally, as a special opportunity, newly conferred students in this degree will have the ability to access monthly online mentoring sessions with USC faculty. This opportunity will be available in the first year of teaching, after the degree has been conferred.


Admission to Thornton programs is granted through the USC admission process. Applicants are screened by appropriate faculty selection committees. Specific entrance requirements are reviewed on an annual basis and published online at music.usc.edu.

Unit and Grade Requirements

Students must complete at least 30 semester units at USC, including the comprehensive review. A grade point average of not less than 3.0 (A = 4.0) is required for all graduate courses in music, and a grade of B or higher is required for all courses in the major department. Students who transfer credits must achieve this average on all combined transferred and residence units.

Transferred Credits

All credits transferred must be the equivalent of corresponding current work at USC. Course work completed at another institution that has been approved by the Thornton School for transfer credit must have been completed within seven years from the date of admission to a master’s degree program to be applied toward that degree. Transfer credit petitions must be filed with the appropriate Thornton adviser during the first semester in residence.

Time Limit

The time limit for completing the Master of Music degree is five years. Progress is measured from the beginning of the first course at USC applied toward the degree. Extensions will be granted by petition to the Thornton School for only the most compelling reasons.

Music Graduate Entrance Exam

All students entering this graduate-level degree program at USC Thornton, who have not previously completed a degree at USC Thornton, must take a series of entrance exams in core music subjects. These exams are called Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEEs). Information regarding which exams are required for specific majors is available from the Thornton Student Affairs office. Also see the Thornton School of Music Admission to Graduate Standing  section of this catalogue for specific policies relating to these exams.

Comprehensive Review

Candidates for the Master of Music in Contemporary Teaching Practice must submit a comprehensive portfolio of music teaching experiences consistent with their work in class and in the field. This portfolio is reviewed by faculty in the department.

Curriculum Requirements

Comprehensive Review (0 units)

Proficiencies (0 units)

  • Certification in music for children with special needs
  • Competency playing test in snare drum, drum set, acoustic and electric guitar, and electronic keyboard
  • Competency playing test in flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, violin, and cello
  • Competency singing test in vocal technique

Total Units: 34

Additional Note:

Information for Certification:

California has a two-tier credential structure. A five-year preliminary credential is the first credential issued after an individual meets basic credential requirements. A clear credential is issued when all credential requirements have been completed. Upon successful completion of the MM, CTP degree candidates are recommended for a Preliminary credential. Internships and Induction programs that lead to clear credentials are currently satisfied under the purview of your district of employment.

All Preliminary Credential teacher candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be recommended/endorsed for a teaching credential: Basic Skills Competency, successful completion of all MM, CTP course work, evidence of successful completion and passing of the edTPA (Teaching Performance Assessment) and verification of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that covers infant, child and adult CPR skills.

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