If you've got the music in you, Central College offers multiple opportunities to develop musicianship through coursework, lessons, ensembles and a wide array of concerts. Our music major gives you the foundation for performance, scholarship, music business, church music and other professions. Our music education students can earn licensure to teach instrumental or vocal music in elementary and secondary schools — and build valuable mentoring relationships with local teachers. In addition, music students have access to courses in arts administration, entrepreneurship and not-for-profit management.
choral, instrumental and chamber ensembles
- Students perform on tour — recent destinations include Europe, Mexico and Brazil
- Majors can gain professional experience through internships in performing arts and arts administration
The Real World
- Director of choral activities, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa
- Professional saxophonist, Long Beach, Calif.
- Director of bands, Knoxville High School
- Associate director of graduate admission, Roosevelt University School of Music, Chicago, Ill.
- Grade 6-12 vocal music director, Van Meter Community Schools
- Director of operations, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra
- Executive director and special assistant to the president, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque
- Manager, Celebrity and Entertainment Engagement at American Red Cross
- Mu Gamma Pi (honorary music service organization)
- 11 choral, instrumental or chamber ensembles
Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.
Saxophonist James Skretta ’09 won the national Young Artist Performance Competition in the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) woodwind division for 2013-2014.
- The University of Iowa, doctoral degree in saxophone
- Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts, voice
- Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, N.J., choral conducting
- University of Kansas, master's degree in clarinet
- Kansas State University, percussion
- Truman State University, music theory/trumpet
- Development department, Philharmonia Orchestra, London, England
- Des Moines Symphony
- Des Moines Civic Music Association
- BMG Records
Courses & Faculty
Music majors at Central gain a firm grounding in the theory, history and practice of Western art music, augmented by study of jazz, contemporary commercial music and various non-Western traditions. In addition, music education majors gain hours of hands-on experience in elementary and secondary schools through Central’s highly respected teaching licensure program.
Both music and music education majors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of Central’s study abroad programs, some of which have excellent opportunities for music study and participation.
Learn more about health and safety for musicians:
Learn more about music and music education in the course catalog.
Meet the faculty:
- Claudia Anderson, D.M.A., , interest areas include flute
- Mark Babcock, B.A., M.M., M. Joan Kuyper Farver Endowed Chair in Music and Associate Professor of Music, interest areas include organ, music education and church music
- Steven Charlson, B.A., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include double bass
- Stanley Dahl, B.M., M.M., Senior Lecturer of Music, interest areas include percussion, music technology, Caribbean music, Flying Pans Steel Band, Percussion Ensemble.
- Kris De Wild, Lecturer of Music, interest areas include harp, choral accompanist
- Matt Driscoll, B.A., M.M., D.M.A., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include low brass
- Gabriel Espinosa, B.A., M.M., Associate Professor of Music, interest areas include jazz theory, jazz band techniques, improvisation, applied theory, jazz band, Vocal/Instrumental Combos
- Steven Kennedy, B.M., M.M., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include guitar
- Cynthia Krenzel, D.M.A., Associate Professor of Music, interest areas include clarinet, saxophone, music history, world music
- Mitchell Lutch, B.M., M.M., D.M.A., Associate Professor of Music, interest areas include conducting, instrumental music education, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Pep Band
- Allison McGuire, M.M., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include piano
- Susan Odem, B.M., M.M., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include woodwind methods and oboe
- Dennis Pedde, B.M., M.M., Adjunct Faculty, interest areas include trumpet, French horn
- Anne Petrie, B.M., M.M., D.M.A., Professor of Music, interest areas include art song, opera and music of Central and Eastern Europe, especially Russia
- Sarah Van Waardhuizen, B.A., M.M.E., Ph.D., Instructor of Music, interest areas include voice, music education
The Central Difference
Central has 11 music ensembles accessible to all students regardless of major. Many of the groups tour domestically and internationally. View full information about ensembles here.
- A Cappella Choir
- Chamber Singers
- Vocal/Instrumental Jazz and Pop Combo
- College-Community Chorus
- Symphonic Wind Ensemble
- Jazz Band
- College-Community Orchestra
- Flying Pans Steel Drum Band
- Pep Band
- Handbell Choir
- Percussion Ensemble
Central offers music awards of up to $5,000 for music majors and up to $2,000 for students who participate in music ensembles. Awards are renewable for four years. Auditions for music awards are held in February, or earlier by arrangement with the admission office. More information on music awards here.
The Cox-Snow Music Center features a 200-seat recital hall and a rehearsal hall as well as classrooms, faculty studios, practice rooms and a keyboard lab. Douwstra Auditorium houses a 9-ft. Fazioli concert grand piano, and the Chapel houses a double-manual Flemish harpsichord, Kawai RX-6 piano and a Brunzema tracker-action organ. The Roe Center features the Fine Arts MIDI computer lab incorporating the latest in music notation software and sequencing programs.
Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
Want to find out more about music and music education at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.