The department has as one of its principal goals the preparation of teachers for colleges and universities. Every effort is made to ensure that graduates have the knowledge, imagination, and musical and pedagogical skills to enable them to inform and inspire others.
An unusual feature of the program, and a major advantage for students at Berkeley, is the number and variety of courses in which they are given employment and in which they teach under faculty supervision. Teaching experience of this kind is both a philosophical and practical aim of the program and a means of student support. The department employs graduate students (normally after their first year of study) as graduate student instructors in courses in European music history and appreciation, American music cultures, ear training, harmony, computer music, chorus, and orchestra.