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


Central has 18 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
  • College Community Chorus
  • Vocal/Instrumental Jazz
  • Pop Combo
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble
  • Jazz Band

Doing Big Things

Will Daniels ’19 graduates in just three years, leaving as a three-time national champion.

Ensembles (cont.)

  • College Community Orchestra
  • Flying Pans Steel Drum Band
  • Pep Band
  • Brass Ensemble
  • Flute Choir
  • Handbell Choir
  • Clarinet Ensemble
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Piano Ensemble
  • String Ensemble
  • Woodwind Ensemble


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.

Study Abroad

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.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • 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

Christmas Candlelight Concert Highlights Central Music’s Virtual Performances

Central College’s music department will offer a variety of virtual performances in December, highlighted by the Christmas Candlelight Concert, which will be pre-recorded and premiere online at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.


  • 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 Music & Music Education in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:


Learn More

Want to find out more about Music & 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.