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

Mint To Be

Iwan Williams, director of dining services, dishes on Central Market.


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

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Ian Heetland ’20, 9-12 Vocal Music Teacher, Knoxville High School
  • Rachel Peter Guzman ’19, Elementary Music Teacher, Keokuk Community School District
  • Beth DeVries Kuttler ’18, K-5 General Music Educator, Southeast Polk Community School District
  • Tristan Miedema ’18, Musical Theatre Teacher, Drake University
  • Sam Moss-Okirie ’18, Singer-Songwriter and Teacher, Red Cloud Studio
  • Rachel Woodward ’18, Print Music Associate, Rieman Music
  • Carston Calderwood ’14, 7-12 Vocal Music Director, Edgewood-Colesburg High School
  • Kylee Martin ’14, High School Band Director, Ottumwa Community School District
  • Tyler Morgan ’13, High School Band Director, Centerville Community Schools
  • Michelle De Bruin ’12, Spiritual Services Facilitator, Christian Opportunity Center
  • John Roloff ’10, Chief Operating Officer, Kansas City Symphony

Central College Theatre to Perform ‘The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940’

Central College theatre program performs “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”


  • 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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