Music & Music Education

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
Perform on tour — recent destinations include Europe, Mexico and Brazil

The Central Difference


You don’t have to be a music major to participate in Central’s 18 ensembles. See examples below, or check out the full list of ensembles.

  • A Cappella Choir
  • College Community Chorus
  • College Community Orchestra
  • Jazz Band
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble
  • Woodwind Ensemble

Follow Your Musical Dream

Whether you want to study music or just stay involved in fine arts, Central College has you covered. Gabriel Espinosa ’76, associate professor of music, and our music faculty will lift your performances to the next level!


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. Newly-renovated 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.

Off-Campus Experiences

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.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • John Roloff ’10, Chief Operating Officer, Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City, Missouri
  • 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

Youth Camps, Conferences Set This Summer at Central College

Central College will host many camps over the summer. Check out the options.


  • Mu Gamma Pi (honorary music service organization)
  • 18 choral, instrumental or chamber ensembles

Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Graduate Placement

  • 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
Central College student

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 this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Theory & Aural Skills I ¹ ²
  • Music & Aural Skills II ¹ ²
  • Music Lessons ¹ ²
  • Primary Ensemble ¹ ²
  • Core Courses ¹
  • Core, Licensure & Endorsement Courses ²

Sophomore Year

  • Theory & Aural Skills III ¹ ²
  • Theory & Aural Skills IV ¹ ²
  • Conducting ¹ ²
  • Piano for Proficiency ¹ ²
  • History of Western Music I ¹ ²
  • Music Lessons ¹ ²
  • Primary Ensemble ¹ ²
  • Core Courses ¹
  • Core, Licensure & Endorsement Courses ²

Junior Year

  • History of Western Music II ¹ ²
  • Music Lessons ¹ ²
  • Primary Ensemble ¹ ²
  • Major Electives ¹ ²
  • Core Courses ¹
  • Core, Licensure & Endorsement Courses ²

Senior Year

  • History of Western Music III ¹ ²
  • Music Lessons ¹ ²
  • Primary Ensemble ¹ ²
  • Major Electives ¹ ²
  • Core Courses ¹
  • Senior Seminar ²
  • Student Teaching ²
  • Core, Licensure & Endorsement Courses ²

¹ Coursework for Music
² Coursework for Music Education


Learn More

Want to find out more about Music & Music Education at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.

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