Favorites ()
Apply
Photo of student on timpani with the St. Thomas choir in the back at the annual Christmas Concert.

Begin the next step of your journey at St. Thomas!

Department of Music

About the Department of Music

Think outside the box about where you can take a music career.

The Music Department at the University of St. Thomas strives to provide outstanding music instruction through our progressive curriculum. You will realize your full potential in the development of your musical, artistic and career goals, gaining a versatile skill set that will offer you a distinct competitive advantage in the next chapter of your life. Our accomplished faculty models musical and academic excellence and will mentor you in a creative environment that enhances the cultural, spiritual and intellectual life of the university and community.

As an undergraduate or graduate student in our department, you will acquire a diverse skill set in critical thinking, unique brand identity, adaptability, problem solving, collaboration and communication through our creative environment and innovative curriculum.

Our Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

The pursuit of a life in music can take many paths. Regardless of the career you seek, our department is dedicated to providing outstanding music instruction through our rigorous curriculum and helping you achieve your full potential. 

MA in Music Education

Master’s in Music Education concentrations include:

  • Choral
  • Instrumental
  • Kodály
  • Orff Schulwerk
  • Piano Pedagogy
Our graduate programs

Graduate Certificates

Music educators can get certifications in:

  • Eurhythmics
  • Kodály Levels I-III
  • Orff Schulwerk Levels I-III
  • Piano Pedagogy
  • Teaching World Music
Our graduate certificates

Professional Development

St. Thomas offers more than 50 non-degree, professional development classes for music educators.

Non-Degree Courses

Doctoral Studies

The Doctorate in Leadership is a distinctive program that prides itself on artfully weaving theory with real-life application.
EdD in Leadership with a Concentration in Music Education

Play well together

Music for Everyone

The Guitar Ensemble performs during the annual St. Thomas Christmas Concert.

Ensembles


Our department is the proud home to over 20 large and small performing ensembles. Ensembles are open to all students. Large ensembles require an audition.

A soloist in the St. Thomas String Orchestra performs during the annual Christmas Concert.

Lessons

For beginners, advanced, and every skill level in between, you can enhance your abilities and style through individual or group music lessons at St. Thomas.

Studio and Ensemble Options

  • Guitar Studio and Ensembles
  • Keyboard Studios and Ensembles
  • Bands Programs
  • Choirs
  • String Programs
  • Guitar Studio and Ensembles

    Guitar Ensemble

    Members of this ensemble study, perform and record music for multiple guitars and bass from Renaissance through 20th-century composers, including American jazz and rock styles. Students learn improvisation, composition and arranging techniques, and present at least two performances each semester. Students also participate in a recording session in a major recording studio.

    Small Guitar Ensemble

    This course is intended for the guitarist who is interested in the performance of music for guitar and other instruments. Typical combinations include bass, drums, keyboard, full band, and all other orchestral instruments. All styles and genres welcome. Students present a live performance at the end of each semester.

    Jazz Ensemble

    Members study and perform jazz in various styles with exposure to improvisation, and present formal and informal concerts on campus each semester.

    Popular Music Ensemble

    Student groups receive individual coaching for small ensembles on the performance of all genres and types of American popular music.

    Keyboard Studios and Ensembles

    Piano Ensemble

    The Piano Ensemble presents a unique opportunity for piano majors, piano minors and other qualified pianists to explore the treasures of two-piano and piano duet repertoire.

    Accompanying Ensemble

    The Accompanying Ensemble provides an opportunity for pianists, singers and instrumentalists to explore the joys of the art song and chamber music repertoire through individual and group coaching.

    Jazz Ensemble

    Members study and perform jazz in various styles with exposure to improvisation, and present formal and informal concerts on campus each semester.

    Popular Music Ensemble

    Student groups receive individual coaching for small ensembles on the performance of all genres and types of American popular music.

    Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band

    As a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble or Band, you will study and perform standard and contemporary band music, transcriptions of other musical genres, and premiere new repertoire commissioned by St. Thomas.

    Bands Programs

    If music is a serious vocation for you, consider joining the highly acclaimed St. Thomas band program. Students in all academic disciplines are welcome. You can participate in a variety of musical groups from small chamber ensembles to larger symphonic ensembles. And you will have ample opportunities to perform.

    Our ensembles have played before enthusiastic audiences at the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Conference North Central Division and the Music Educators National Conference. They also have toured throughout the United States and abroad, performing in major concert halls of Australia, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Japan, China, Italy, India and Croatia.

    Choirs

    The joy of singing is irresistible. Perhaps that is why more than 250 singers participate in the University of St. Thomas choral program. You can join one of six choirs and receive academic credit. In recent years, St. Thomas choirs have performed at national, regional and state American Choral Directors Association conventions. As a choir member, you will develop a deep understanding of music and an appreciation of diverse cultures guided by outstanding conductors who hold high artistic standards.

    String Programs

    String players from all academic disciplines are invited to audition for the St. Thomas Orchestra. As an orchestra member, you will benefit from instruction by our acclaimed conductor, as well as section coaches and the St. Thomas string faculty. The ensemble rehearses twice a week and performs up to two concerts each semester. The orchestra repertoire features standard, international and contemporary orchestral works, as well as newly commissioned pieces.

    The ensemble regularly performs with nationally known solo artists and has appeared at the Minnesota Music Educators Association conference. The orchestra has also been broadcast nationally on PBS television.

    Guitar Studio and Ensembles

    Guitar Ensemble

    Members of this ensemble study, perform and record music for multiple guitars and bass from Renaissance through 20th-century composers, including American jazz and rock styles. Students learn improvisation, composition and arranging techniques, and present at least two performances each semester. Students also participate in a recording session in a major recording studio.

    Small Guitar Ensemble

    This course is intended for the guitarist who is interested in the performance of music for guitar and other instruments. Typical combinations include bass, drums, keyboard, full band, and all other orchestral instruments. All styles and genres welcome. Students present a live performance at the end of each semester.

    Jazz Ensemble

    Members study and perform jazz in various styles with exposure to improvisation, and present formal and informal concerts on campus each semester.

    Popular Music Ensemble

    Student groups receive individual coaching for small ensembles on the performance of all genres and types of American popular music.

    Keyboard Studios and Ensembles

    Piano Ensemble

    The Piano Ensemble presents a unique opportunity for piano majors, piano minors and other qualified pianists to explore the treasures of two-piano and piano duet repertoire.

    Accompanying Ensemble

    The Accompanying Ensemble provides an opportunity for pianists, singers and instrumentalists to explore the joys of the art song and chamber music repertoire through individual and group coaching.

    Jazz Ensemble

    Members study and perform jazz in various styles with exposure to improvisation, and present formal and informal concerts on campus each semester.

    Popular Music Ensemble

    Student groups receive individual coaching for small ensembles on the performance of all genres and types of American popular music.

    Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band

    As a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble or Band, you will study and perform standard and contemporary band music, transcriptions of other musical genres, and premiere new repertoire commissioned by St. Thomas.

    Bands Programs

    If music is a serious vocation for you, consider joining the highly acclaimed St. Thomas band program. Students in all academic disciplines are welcome. You can participate in a variety of musical groups from small chamber ensembles to larger symphonic ensembles. And you will have ample opportunities to perform.

    Our ensembles have played before enthusiastic audiences at the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Conference North Central Division and the Music Educators National Conference. They also have toured throughout the United States and abroad, performing in major concert halls of Australia, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Japan, China, Italy, India and Croatia.

    Choirs

    The joy of singing is irresistible. Perhaps that is why more than 250 singers participate in the University of St. Thomas choral program. You can join one of six choirs and receive academic credit. In recent years, St. Thomas choirs have performed at national, regional and state American Choral Directors Association conventions. As a choir member, you will develop a deep understanding of music and an appreciation of diverse cultures guided by outstanding conductors who hold high artistic standards.

    String Programs

    String players from all academic disciplines are invited to audition for the St. Thomas Orchestra. As an orchestra member, you will benefit from instruction by our acclaimed conductor, as well as section coaches and the St. Thomas string faculty. The ensemble rehearses twice a week and performs up to two concerts each semester. The orchestra repertoire features standard, international and contemporary orchestral works, as well as newly commissioned pieces.

    The ensemble regularly performs with nationally known solo artists and has appeared at the Minnesota Music Educators Association conference. The orchestra has also been broadcast nationally on PBS television.

    Scholarship Opportunities

    Students planning a major in music, music education, music performance or music business are welcome to apply to the Department of Music any time before or during their studies at St. Thomas. By completing the application before the February 1 deadline, new students can also be considered for a music major scholarship. Students selected to advance in the scholarship process will be invited to on-campus auditions. Scholarships range from $1,500-$10,000 annually, and are renewable for four years of study.

    Faculty

    Our accomplished faculty are recognized both nationally and internationally as experts and leaders in their fields. They have a deep passion for mentoring students in a creative environment through their innovative teaching approaches.

    Photo of music faculty member and chair Dr. Shersten Johnson in the BEC lobby.

    Dr. Shersten Johnson

    Dr. Johnson is Chair of the Music Department. She teaches the full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate music theory courses, as well as individual composition and aural-skills lessons and interdisciplinary honors seminars. Her interests include contemporary opera and art song, embodied cognition, disability studies and theories of music pedagogy.

    Dr. Shersten Johnson
    Music faculty member and graduate program director Dr. Doug Orzolek leads a class in lecture.

    Dr. Douglas Orzolek

    Dr. Orzolek is Director of Graduate Programs in Music Education. He teaches music education methods and techniques, and also conducts the Symphonic Band. He teaches musical acoustics, music literature and conducting, as well as core classes and instrumental music education. He advises papers in both the master’s and doctoral level music education programs.

    Dr. Douglas Orzolek
    Dr. Steve Cole smiles during a music business class in the create[space] on the St. Paul campus.

    Dr. Steve Cole

    Steve Cole is head of music industry studies and recording arts at the university. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Benaroya Symphony Hall, Bass Performance Hall and Chicago Symphony Center. He has been a featured performer at the JVC, Playboy and Blue Note Jazz festivals, plus performing arts centers and jazz clubs around the world.

    Dr. Steve Cole

    Academic Excellence

    Musicians at St. Thomas are encouraged to express their originality. We will help you think outside the lines – or blend them. Let us help you find your rhythm because music can take your career in new directions.

    The undergraduate choral ensemble performs at the annual Christmas Concert.

    Undergraduate Education

    Studying music at St. Thomas gives you first-class instruction within a comprehensive, liberal arts tradition.

    View majors and minors in music
    Photo of students in a graduate instrumental class performing together, with a student in the foreground playing the trombone.

    Graduate Education

    Our Graduate Programs in Music Education exist to raise the standard of music teaching by promoting artistic, intelligent, reflective and inspired instruction at all levels.

    View graduate degrees in music

    Accreditation

    The University of St. Thomas Music Department is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the National Association of Schools of Music.

    The University of St. Thomas is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.

    Connect with Us!

    Learn more about taking your place in the St. Thomas music program.

    Department of Music: Call 651-962-5850 (Fax 651-962-5876) or Email music@stthomas.edu

    Graduate Programs in Music Education: Call 651-962-5870 (Fax 651-962-5886) or Email gradmusic@stthomas.edu

    Mailing Address

    Department of Music
    2115 Summit Ave., BEC LL05
    St. Paul, MN 55105

    Graduate Programs in Music Education
    2115 Summit Ave., LOR 103
    St. Paul, MN 55105

    Campus Location

    The undergraduate music office is located on the lower level of Brady Educational Center, and the graduate music office is located on the first floor of Loras Hall.