The Department of Music, in partnership with the Department of Educational Studies, offers a Music Education major that can lead to state certification as a music teacher. The major itself does not automatically lead to a teaching credential. To receive state certification, students must complete the Music Education major and additional Educational Studies classes.

All of the classes focus on practical, real-world skills that will transfer directly to the student’s first classroom. The Department of Music works with students as individuals and in groups to develop performance skills and knowledge of music theory, history and literature. Music students share a personal relationship with faculty whose work as teachers, performers and scholars keeps them and their students in touch with the realities of today’s musical world.

The Music and Educational Studies departments also work together to ensure students have outstanding clinical and student teaching placements and complete their degrees in four years (if they start the program their first semester). All of the full-time music faculty have public school teaching experience and enjoy close relationships with music teachers in local school districts. The faculty also works closely with students after graduation to help them find a job.

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A headshot of Erin Bryan.

Bryan, Erin K.

Assistant Professor of Music and Voice Area Coordinator

Jessica Jensen posing with her trumpet

Jensen, Jessica A.

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Brass)

Deb MacKenzie

MacKenzie, Deb

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Piano)

William Nelson

Nelson, William

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Single Reeds)

Sandy Polcyn

Polcyn, Sandra

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Double Reeds)

Sackman, Marc

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Flute)

Toby Shucha Portrait

Shucha, Tobin C.

Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Music Education and Bands

Charles Stephan

Stephan, Charles

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Low Strings)


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon


To receive state certification, students must complete the Music Education major and the following Educational Studies classes:

EDU 190: School and Society
EDU 260: Diversity in American Education
EDU 270: Differentiated Instruction
EDU 311: Literacy Development in Middle/Secondary Schools
EDU 320: Clinical Block: Student Practicum in Teaching (Students should enroll in MUS 302 and EDU 320 concurrently.)
EDU 571: Student Teaching Seminar (taken during student teaching)

They also must complete EDU 421: Student Teaching: Music as their capstone experience.

To complete the Music Education major, students must take 72-81 credits in music, including the following:

  • MUS 010 (5 semesters): Recital Attendance (0 credits)
  • MUS 111: Foundations in Music (4 credits)
  • MUS 112: World Music (3 credits)
  • MUS 121: Music Theory I (4 credits)
  • MUS 221: Music Theory II (4 credits)
  • MUS 330: Music History 1400–1750 (4 credits)
  • MUS 331: Music History 1750–1900 (4 credits)
  • MUS 332: Music History 1900–present (4 credits)
  • Three of the following courses: MUS 260:01, MUS 206:02, MUS
    260:03, MUS 260:04, MUS 260:05, MUS 260:06, or MUS 265. (8 credits)
  • MUS 270: Introduction to Music Education (4 credits)
  • MUS 280: Music Technology (2 credits)
  • MUS 302: Elementary School Music Methods (4 credits)
  • MUS 306: Middle and High School Music Methods (4 credits)
  • MUS 334: Conducting I (2 credits)
  • MUS 335: Conducting II (2 credits)
  • 6 semesters of lessons: MUS 100, 140, 240, 150, or 250.
    Cannot include piano lessons or lessons at the 050 level. (6 credits)
  • 4 semesters of MUS 102 or piano lessons– MUS 150:09, or
    250:09. (4 credits)
  • 6 semesters of ensembles– MUS 190 (6 credits)
  • MUS 500 or EDU 421. Music Education Majors wishing to receive certification must complete EDU 421 as their capstone (along with EDU 571 at the same time). Those who are not going to be licensed or have not taken the required EDU coursework will have to choose either recital or project option. (2-12 credits)

Note: you cannot double major in both Music and Music Education.

Career Tracks

A major in Music Education culminates in student teaching and certification. As a result of their learning in classes, individual lessons and ensembles, graduates are well-prepared to teach in K-12 schools. Music majors from Ripon College have successfully pursued careers in the following:

  • Public school and studio teaching
  • Performance
  • Higher education
  • Church music
  • Other professional fields

Unique Opportunities

  • Certification in instrumental music, choral music and general music is available in early childhood/adolescence (birth-grade 12).
  • Students of any discipline can participate in Chamber Singers, Choral Union, Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, some on the basis of audition.
  • Chamber Singers tours annually over spring break.


Choral Union

Choral UnionRipon College’s Choral Union is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members and presents at least one concert per semester. Through the ensemble’s repertoire, singers are exposed to a variety of musical styles, time periods, languages, instrumental collaborations, and high-quality texts. Additionally, Choral Union frequently performs with other ensembles. Recent collaborations not only include the college’s orchestra and Chamber Singers, but also the Green Bay Civic Symphony. Highlights of the 2014–15 season include Brahms’s Schicksalslied, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Thompson’s Frostiana. Please contact Dr. John C. Hughes, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, for more information ([email protected]; 920.748.8788).

Chamber Singers

Chamber SingersChamber Singers is Ripon College’s premier choral ensemble and is open to students of all majors through a rigorous audition process. Chamber Singers primarily performs advanced unaccompanied literature; however, instruments occasionally join in performance. The ensemble presents at least one major concert per semester, as well as several other concerts on and off campus as musical ambassadors for the college. In January 2017, Chamber Singers will tour four Midwestern cities. Please contact Dr. John C. Hughes, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, for more information ([email protected]; 920.748.8788).

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz EnsembleThe Ripon College Jazz Ensemble is a big band that plays music from the earliest jazz through the most contemporary jazz styles. From within the group, a number of different jazz combos perform as well on the two major Jazz Ensemble concerts each year. Development of improvisation skills is a major goal of the group. The Jazz Ensemble also performs on a pops concert each year and occasionally at off-campus events.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Choral Union The Ripon College Symphonic Wind Ensemble is made up of brass, winds and percussion. In recent years, the group has had approximately 50 to 55 members. It is largely a student group, although there are a few community members. The group performs two major concerts each year, as well as a pops concert and a concert of small ensemble music. Literature ranges from band classics from throughout the 20th century to transcriptions of music from other media, marches and lighter fare.


OrchestraUnlike many schools its size, Ripon College has a long-standing, vital College Orchestra. Made up of students and community members, the group puts on two concerts a year that feature orchestral works from all of the style periods of Western music. Concerts often feature guest soloists. Children’s concerts are another type of event that the orchestra puts on with some regularity.