Master of Arts in Teaching

Los Angeles, CA

  • Graduate Degree
  • 1 year
  •  K-12 Preliminary Music Teaching Credential in California
MAT Faculty

“ The Longy MAT Program is a transformative journey of action, discovery and reflection (praxis), where students learn how to become agents of change in their communities. Through experiential learning in a supportive environment, students delve deeply into understanding their own views of the world and connect these social frames to who they want to be as music teachers. In our place-based cohort model, students experience the multi-faceted ways that social justice is embodied and practiced in Los Angeles, both inside the classroom and in the community.
— Monique Van Willingh

Primary Teaching Faculty
Monique Van Willingh, Director
Jaqueline DesRosier
Dr. Ndindi Kitonga
Dr. Andrea Quaid
Brittney Rodriguez
Lauren Shelton
Miriam Singer
Steven Venz
Akhanaton Cacao
Dr. David Cubek
Benjamin Finley
Lorrie Heagy
Emily Kubitskey
Chris Williams

MAT Social Justice Music Research Project (MRP) Faculty
Gabrielle Molina
Carol Adee
Dr. Carolyn Lechusza Aquallo
Ben Ede
Hillary Harder
Matthew Stensrud

MAT Credential Testing Support Instructors
Dr. Jim Sherry
Seema Seraj
Suzie Lozick
Akhil Gopal

Everything about Longy’s teaching program felt like me. I was impressed with Ndindi Kitonga’s social justice course on serving marginalized communities through experimental, hands-on education. Learning about El Sistema will enhance my own teaching and provide a framework for me to create my own programs going forward.
— Kateri Lirio

Meet Kateri Lirio, MAT ‘21

Alumni Feature
Hillary Harder, Roosevelt STEAM Academy, was awarded Elkhart Community Schools’ Elementary Teacher of the Year.

read more

Ms. Harder grew up in Wichita, Kansas and moved to Indiana to attend Goshen College. After spending a year in Los Angeles completing her Master’s degree at Longy School of Music, she returned to Elkhart County to teach at Roosevelt.

Growing up, Ms. Harder attended a dual language school where she was a part of a Spanish language immersion program. She realized she wanted to teach when she heard the motto of the El Sistema program (a program in place at Roosevelt): music for social change. She became a teacher to use music education as a vehicle to build relationships, create positive culture, and foster confidence and citizenship within a musical ensemble.

Ms. Harder’s favorite moments as a teacher are the long-awaited, often surprising, breakthroughs with students who are difficult to reach. She finds that music has a way of cracking even the toughest of shells and says there’s nothing better than seeing students who may struggle elsewhere come into their own as part of a music ensemble. She says she is grateful to be a teacher when musical experiences help build students up, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Outside of work, Ms. Harder plays several musical instruments, including the violin, mandolin, piano, and organ, even having played in a family bluegrass band with her parents and sisters. She also enjoys biking, swimming, hiking, and going for walks with friends.

Program Highlights

Longy was the first conservatory to offer a one-year accredited degree embedded in El Sistema teaching philosophy that uses music as a vehicle for social change by providing intensive music instruction to children in underserved communities. The program is open to inspired artists from all musical backgrounds—classical, pop, world, folk, jazz, instrumental, vocal, conducting, composition and more.

The MAT offers a unique and powerful graduate study in performance, pedagogy, and social justice. Students have access to MAT faculty, including prominent Los Angeles musicians and leading scholars in music and education. MAT graduates will gain their K-12 Preliminary Music Teaching Credential in California and benefit from teaching in the public-school system.

Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree, post-secondary conservatory diploma, or demonstrated equivalent credential.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required of students desiring to obtain the teaching credential in the State of California.
  • Academic and performance record demonstrating the capacity to excel in full-time studies.

Video recording required.
Please prepare 10 minutes of music that best represents your artistic interests, focus, and profile. There are no repertoire limitations. The MAT program welcomes musicians of all backgrounds (classical, jazz, folk, world, etc.). Your audition portfolio should be focused on your primary instrument or concentration but may include examples of your teaching background to supplement your application (optional). Video recordings can be uploaded individually by piece or as a single file.

Campus: Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)

The MAT Program is located on the campus of Heart of Los Angeles, a dynamic non-profit organization that serves over 2100 youth in the Rampart and Westlake Districts. MAT candidates are immersed in a community-based environment which provides an integrated graduate approach to learning and hands-on teaching experiences at El Sistema inspired programs and in urban public schools throughout Southern California. HOLA is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s El Sistema-inspired site, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles at Heart of Los Angeles (YOLA at HOLA).

The mission of HOLA is to provide underserved youth with free, exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

Being situated on the campus of a youth and community organization in urban Los Angeles gives MAT students the opportunity to experience comprehensive youth development programming and culturally sustaining engagement in action. A large part of the MAT culture is derived from the HOLA core values of respect, responsibility, support and positive communication, which are embodied with intention by the entire HOLA community.

For more information about HOLA visit:


*2020–2021 curriculum shown below. Subject to change.


  • Schooling in the 21st Century Bard Writing and Thinking Workshop
  • Teaching as Clinical Practice I Elementary Classroom Music, Non-verbal Approach to Classroom Management and Safe Discipline Techniques
  • Learning and Teaching in Music I CalTPA-focused Instructional Design, Assessment, Differentiation
  • Learning and Teaching in Music II Backward Design, Unit and Lesson Planning, Rubric Development and Higher Order Thinking
  • Social Justice Music Research Project A Equity, Artivism and Technology: Storytelling for Social Justice
  • Social Justice Music Research Project B Module 1: El Sistema Philosophy and Practice
  • Practicum I: In-School
  • K-12 Single Subject Credential Seminar Practicum, CalTPA and Testing Support


  • Learning and Teaching in Music III Teaching in the Public-School System, State Standards, Universal Design for Learning
  • Identity, Culture and the Classroom Identity development, Exploration of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, ethnicity, and language, and how identity-related issues affect school experiences
  • Literacy, Language and Learning ELD Standards, supporting EL learners
  • Topics in Music I Arrangement in diverse settings
  • Research and Evaluation/CRP
  • Social Justice Music Research Project C
  • Module 1: Coaching Training for Educators
  • Social Justice Music Research Project D
  • Module 1: Using Story to explore Music in the Classroom
  • Practicum II: In-School
  • K-12 Single Subject Credential Seminar
  • Practicum, CalTPA and Testing Support


  • Teaching as Clinical Practice II Choral Group Instruction
  • Teaching as Clinical Practice III Instrumental and Beginning Band
  • Teaching as Clinical Practice IV Elementary General Music
  • Ready for Rigor & Love and Logic Approach
  • Intro to Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze
  • Teaching as Reflective Practice: Professionalism, Job Applications, Interviews, Restorative Justice Circles
  • Topics in Music I Ensemble Rehearsal and Conducting Skills
  • Social Justice Music Research Project E
    • Module 1: Culturally Responsive Teaching
    • Module 2: Democratic Orchestras
    • Module 3: Social Justice Approach to Music (Diverse Repertoire)
    • Module 4: Creative Teaching Online and Creating Asynchronous Videos
  • Research and Evaluation/CRP
  • Practicum III: In-School
  • K-12 Single Subject Credential Seminar Practicum, TPA, Testing Support


  • Teaching as Clinical Practice V Teaching Beginning Strings
  • Teaching as Clinical Practice VI Modern Band (Intro to Little Kids Rock)
  • Improvisation and Professionalism and Leadership in the community
  • Historical and Socio-Cultural Foundations of Education
  • Social Justice Music Research Project F Module 1 and 2, Collaboratively Designed by MAT Cohort
  • Research and Evaluation/CRP
  • Practicum IV In-School, Supervisor
  • Practicum IV Community Arts, El Sistema and Social Justice programs
  • K-12 Single Subject Credential Seminar
  • Practicum, TPA, Testing Support

1 year, 63 credits required for graduation.

California Teaching Credential

Clearance Requirements
All MAT students are required to obtain additional materials for clearance to do their practicum in schools, in order to receive their California Teaching Credential. These include:

  • Fingerprinting clearance – Please go to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) website for directions.
  • Tuberculosis clearance – see Immunization Requirements above.
  • Social Security Number or International Tax ID Number – if you are an international student or do not currently have an SSN or ITIN, more information about applying for this will be distributed to the student in the Fall quarter.

Completion Requirements
In order to earn the preliminary credential, in addition to the credential coursework offered through the MAT program, the state of California requires the following to be completed before a candidate can be recommended for a credential:

  • Baccalaureate Degree – Official transcripts from ALL Institutes of Higher Education, including community colleges, must be provided when applying for a credential.
  • California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) – The California Basic Educational Skills Test™ (CBEST®) was developed to meet requirements of laws relating to credentialing and employment. This test requirement does not replace any of the other requirements of subject matter knowledge, professional preparation, and practice teaching or field experience applicable to the issuance of credentials. The CBEST is designed to test basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills found to be important for the job of an educator; the test is not designed to measure the ability to teach those skills. For more info please see:
  • California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) – The California Subject Examinations for Teachers® (CSET®) have been developed by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for prospective teachers who choose to or are required to meet specific requirements for certification by taking examinations. The CTC contracted the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to assist in the development, administration, and scoring of the CSET. For more info please see:
  • Tuberculosis Clearance (TB) – Present original copy of test results. This needs to be completed before the start of the spring quarter.
  • California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC or CTC) Certificate of Clearance (fingerprint clearance): California Education Code requires all individuals who seek to obtain a California teaching credential issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to receive fingerprint clearance from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Commission. Individuals who have received fingerprint clearance through other California agencies or who are cleared for pre-professional work are not exempt from this process. The Certificate of Clearance is a requirement for all first-time applicants for a teaching credential.An applicant whose legal record con­tains anything more serious than minor traffic violations should contact the Commission at Any questions of personal qualifications must be resolved before beginning the program. Each applicant is responsible for submitting the application to the CCTC and applies as early as possible to allow the time for the Certificate of Clearance to be processed.
  • CPR – Infant, child and adult certification is required.
  • United States Constitution – This requirement can be met by exam or coursework.
  • CalTPAs – California Teacher Performance Assess­ments. For more information please see:
  • Fieldwork – In order to attain the preliminary credential, students are required to complete 600 hours of fieldwork, which will consist of student teaching in a public school, practicums and observations (Please see Pg. 7 of Longy MAT Academic Overview for more details).

*IMPORTANT: Fees related to requirements for California single-subject credentials are set by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and are incurred by the MAT student. MAT faculty and the program director will shepherd students through the credentialing process, but it is the responsibility of the student to fulfill these requirements, and the student must supply the results to the MAT Program in order to graduate.

Enrollment Timeline

January 31: Early Action decisions released
March 15: Regular Action decisions released
April 15: Offer reply deadline and enrollment deposit due
May 15: I-20 Documentation due (international students only)
June 1: Tuition bills sent via email
June 15: Heath Insurance Waiver due (domestic students only)
July 1: Tuition payment due
July 1: Transcripts and Immunization Form due
July 1: Official English Proficiency Scores due (non-native English speakers only)
August 1: Headshots & Bios due

Please visit the Accepted Students page for more details on how to submit required enrollment materials.

Housing and Living Expenses

The Los Angeles campus of the Longy School of Music of Bard College MAT Program is uniquely integrated with the campus of Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA). Many of the standard college facilities do not exist at the residency program site. There are no dormitories or dining halls. Graduate students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. Longy does not offer on-campus housing, but we help students connect with roommates and apartments. 

Apartment Costs 

Rents in Los Angeles and the immediate surrounding communities range from $700-1200/month for a studio; $900-1400/month for a one-bedroom; and $1,200+/month for a two-bedroom. It is recommended that you get a roommate. Rents usually do not include utilities. It is common for landlords to require you to pay the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, and a security deposit, which is usually the equivalent of one month’s rent. Make sure you get a receipt for every payment made to the landlord. If there is no damage to the apartment while you are living there, the security deposit will be refunded to you when you move out. As a result, the initial costs of moving into an apartment are very high but become affordable after the initial deposit. 

Utility Costs 

Often your apartment will only be set up for one provider of each type of utility, so be sure to check with your landlord as to which utility company you should use before contacting a company. Also, companies usually offer discounts for combined phone, cable, and internet services. 

Electricity, Water & Gas 


Renter’s Insurance 

You may want to invest in an insurance policy that provides coverage for your personal property from loss due to theft, fire, or flooding. These policies are relatively inexpensive, especially considering how useful they can be in the event of a major misfortune. They also generally include protection from personal liability if a visitor is injured while in your apartment. We also recommend that you obtain a policy that provides coverage for your instrument(s). 

Roommate Requests 

Although Longy does not serve as an official roommate referral service for its students, we want to do everything we can to help you get settled in Los Angeles. Our administration is happy to keep a Roommate Request Form on file for other students who might be looking for roommates. Please note that completing this form is optional and that by submitting it you are permitting us to share this information with other students. Longy has no responsibility for problems that may arise with roommates and living situations. 

Many students have successfully found housing and/or roommates through Craigslist. Areas of Los Angeles you can begin your housing search by include: Los Feliz, Silverlake, Echo Park, Mid-Wilshire and Koreatown. All of these locations are a short (15-25 minute) subway/bus ride. 

Housing Considerations 

Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs provides valuable information on tenant rights, laws, and protection (applicable only within Los Angeles County). 

As a student you need to consider the following when deciding to rent an apartment or room: 

  • Distance of the apartment from Longy at HOLA
  • Accessibility to public transportation
  • Rent and other costs, such as security deposits and/or realtor fees
  • Cost of utilities and whether heating is electric or gas (electric heat is far more expensive)
  • Conditions of the lease that the landlord will require. These include time of payment, proper use of the apartment, maintenance and repair, subletting, and ending the lease
  • Cost of furnishing the apartment in the way you prefer to live
  • The Lease: 
Although it is possible to find apartments that are rented on a month-to-month basis, the vast majority of renters sign leases. The lease is a legal agreement between the tenant and the landlord that the tenant will stay in the apartment for a certain amount of time and pay the landlord a certain amount of money per month. It is meant to protect you as the renter as much as it is to protect the landlord, so make sure that everything that is agreed upon is in writing and that the landlord gives you a copy of the lease for your records. Also, be sure to read the lease thoroughly before signing it. If you would like to make any changes, discuss them with the landlord before you sign your name. The most common lease term is one year (12 months). 

Follow these lease guidelines: 

  • Read everything carefully. 
  • Be sure the form is complete before signing. 
  • If you have made special lease agreements with the landlord, make sure they have been added and are signed by both you and the landlord.
  • Find out how the lease can be renewed when the term is finished.
  • Keep a copy of the lease signed by you and the landlord.
  • Your lease should include:
    • Beginning and ending dates of the contract
    • Amount of the rent
    • Security deposit cost and what it covers 
    • Furniture and appliances included with the apartment or house 
    • Procedures for subletting 
    • Party responsible for yard and shoveling of snow, trash removal, etc. 
    • Whether utilities are included in the rent 
    • Whether there is a parking space included 

Common Lease Requirements 

Amount of Rent – When you sign a lease you promise to pay the entire amount, not just the monthly amount. This means that if you leave the apartment before your lease expires, the landlord may require you, by law, to pay the rest of the rent due. 

Amount of Security Deposit – The landlord is required to pay you interest on this amount. You should ask the landlord what the interest rate is equal to. 

Rent Due Date – Rent is usually due on the first day of each month. If the rent is not paid on time, there is usually an extra charge you must pay. 

Length of Lease – Most leases are for one year. You may be able to sign shorter leases at some apartments, although the rent may be higher. 

Maintenance Requirements – You are expected to keep the apartment clean and free of excess garbage. If you break anything in the apartment, you are expected to pay to have it repaired. Normal wear is expected. However, grease on kitchen walls, for example, is not considered normal wear and a landlord may deduct from your security deposit to have the walls painted. 

Breaking the contract – If you leave the apartment before the end of the lease, you may still be required to pay the remaining months’ rent if you cannot find another renter. 

Subletting – With many apartments, you will not be allowed to rent the apartment to another person without the owner’s written permission. Be sure that you understand this if you think you may want to leave before your lease ends. 


Longy does not offer any on-campus parking options for students. The HOLA parking lot is always reserved for HOLA staff. Metered spaces are available on all major and side streets around HOLA and there are several parking facilities within walking distance of the campus. 

To avoid the hassle and expensive of parking and maintaining a car, students are highly encouraged to use public transportation. 

Partner Organizations and Mentorship

Members of the Skid Row community and Urban Voices Project (Skid Row’s resident community choir) performed new arrangements and original works accompanied by students from the Longy School of Music Master of Arts in Teaching program.

The MAT Program partners with various non-profit organizations, schools and districts each year to ensure students gain experience in diverse settings and learn from expert practitioners in the arts education and social justice fields. Past and present partners include: 

  • Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)
  • Quincy Jones Elementary School
  • Larchmont Charter School
  • El Sistema USA
  • Amani Project
  • Bridge to Everywhere
  • Venice Safe Place for Youth
  • Long Beach Post-Acute Nursing Home
  • CleanSlate LA
  • Southern California Counseling Center
  • A Place Called Home
  • Plaza Del La Raza
  • Jazz Hands for Autism
  • Urban Voices
  • Street Symphony
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • San Marino Unified School District
  • Newhall Unified School District
  • Glendale Unified School District

Post-Graduate Job Opportunities

MAT graduates are employed in the education and arts field around the USA and internationally. According to mentor teachers in the Los Angeles Public Schools District, MAT graduates are the readiest for the classroom, prove themselves to be leaders in the field, and have a depth of knowledge about how to teach in ways that embody culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogies.

What comes next?

  • 56% of graduates teach in public, private, or charter schools
  • 24% of graduates work as Teaching Artists at non-profit or El Sistema programs
  • 9% of graduates work in arts administration and leadership roles
  • 5% of graduates pursued further graduate studies
  • 3% of graduates work as freelance performers
  • 3% of graduates work as music faculty in higher education

Example MAT Thesis Projects