The Department of Music offers a diverse program of musical studies, including appreciation, history/literature and theory courses, as well as ensembles and applied music lessons at all levels in voice, piano, organ, harpsichord, stringed instruments, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

The music department 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.

Music majors may choose one of three areas of concentration: music education, performance and history/literature-theory. The music education concentration culminates in student teaching and certification. The performance concentration requires a senior recital, and the history/literature-theory involves a completing a major research project. As a result of their learning in classes, individual lessons and ensembles, graduates are well-prepared to teach in K-12 schools, graduate study in music, or continued avocational participation in music as members of ensembles or as individual performers.

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Sheet music

Ripon College students to perform music recital April 30

A Ripon College student recital featuring student performers nominated by applied music faculty, will be held Tuesday, April 30. The recital will begin at 4:15 […]

Lawn concert at Harwood Memorial Union

Enjoy outdoor lawn concert by Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Rally Band, Jazz Ensemble May 1!

Ripon College will presents its annual Spring Lawn Concert Wednesday, May 1. Featuring the Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Rally Band, the concert will […]

Benjamin Cabala '24

Ben Cabala ’24 will present senior flute recital April 27

Ben Cabala ’24 of Madison, Wisconsin, will present his senior flute recital Saturday, April 27, at Ripon College. The program will begin at 4 p.m. […]


A headshot of Erin Bryan.

Bryan, Erin K.

Assistant Professor of Music and Voice Area Coordinator

Adjunct Instructor of Music Christopher Cramer playing guitar

Cramer, Christopher

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Guitar)

Paul Dietrich

Dietrich, Paul

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Jazz)

Elford, Scott

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Percussion)

Yukiko Grine

Grine, Yukiko

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Orchestra)

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, Chair of Music Department and Director of Music Education and Bands

Charles Stephan

Stephan, Charles

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Low Strings)

Paul Thompson

Thompson, Paul

Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities


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.

Advising at Ripon


Requirements for a Major in Music
Total Credits 48 credits
Prerequisites Music Theory sequence (MUS 121 Music Theory I, 123 Aural Skills I, 221 Music Theory II, 223 Aural Skills II, 225 Music Theory III and 227 Aural Skills III); Music History cluster (MUS 330 Departmental Studies, 331 and 332)
Elective Courses Six semesters of lessons, not including piano lessons or lessons at the 050 level ; 4 semesters of piano ; six semesters of ensembles (MUS 190:xx); MUS 500 (students may elect either a seminar paper or recital option); and at least 6 additional credits in Music.


Sections for lessons: Note that there is no MUS 050:09. Beginning piano students should take MUS 102. (MUS 100, 140, 240, 150:xx or 250:xx)
1. Trumpet. Jensen
2. French Horn Jensen 3. Trombone. Jensen 4. Euphonium. Jensen 5. Tuba. Jensen
6. Guitar. Cramer
7. Organ*. Stellmacher 8. Percussion. Elford
9. Piano. MacKenzie 10. Violin. A. Stephan 11. Viola. A. Stephan 12. Cello. C. Stephan
13. String Bass. C. Stephan
14. Flute. Sackman
15. Oboe. Polcyn
16. Clarinet. Nelson
17. Saxophone. Nelson
18. Bassoon. Polcyn
19. Jazz Woodwind. Nelson
20. Jazz Brass. Dietrich
21. Jazz Keyboard. Dietrich

*Organ prerequisite: MUS 150:09 or permission of instructor.

Piano Lessons

050 Beginning Instrumental Lessons, 100 Group Voice Class, 102 Class Piano I, 103 Class Piano II, 104 Class Piano III, 105 Class Piano IV, 140 Intermediate Voice Lessons, 150 Intermediate Instrumental Lessons, 240 Advanced Voice Lessons, 250 Advanced Instrumental Lessons

Music Credits

010 Recital Attendance, 110 Music and Gender, 111 Foundations in Music, 113 Foundations in Aural Skills, 112 World Music, 121 Music Theory I, 123 Aural Skills I, 200 Topics in Music, 221 Music Theory II, 223 Aural Skills II, 225 Music Theory III, 227 Aural Skills III, 230/330 Western Music History Antiquity-1750, 231/331 Western Music History 1750-1900, 232/332 Western Music History 1900-Present, 265 Diction for Singers, 270 Introduction to Music Education, 280 Music Technology, 300 Departmental Studies, 302 Elementary School Music Methods, 306 Middle and High School Music Methods, 334 Conducting I, 335 Conducting II, 500 Senior Project


(190)One credit EXCEPT Chamber Winds (enrollment in Chamber Winds includes participation in Symphonic Wind Ensemble). Membership in the following ensembles is open to all students (minimum training on appropriate instruments may be required) EXCEPT Chamber Singers and Chamber Winds, which are open by audition. Instruments are available on loan. May be repeated, but only eight total credits may be counted toward graduation. Grading is Pass-Fail, except for Section 04, Chamber Singers, which is letter graded.
Section 1. Jazz Combo Dietrich
Section 2. Concert Choir P. Thompson
Section 3. Choral Union P. Thompson
Section 4. Chamber Singers P. Thompson
Section 5. Jazz Ensemble Dietrich
Section 6. Orchestra Grine
Section 7. Symphonic Wind Ensemble Shucha
Section 8. Rally Band Shucha
Section 9. Chamber Winds Shucha
Section 11. Brass Ensemble Jensen
Section 12. Guitar Ensemble Cramer

Techniques Courses

Three credits - Techniques of making and teaching music on instrument families or in vocal settings.
Section 1. Brass Techniques Jensen
Section 2. Percussion Techniques Elford
Section 3. String Techniques A. Stephan & C. Stephan
Section 4. Vocal Techniques Bryan
Section 5. Woodwind Techniques Polcyn
Section 6. Choral Techniques P. Thompson
Additional Criteria Additionally, Music majors must pass five semesters of MUS 010. Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the AP Music Theory exam are excused from MUS 111.
Requirements for a Minor in Music
Total Credits 20 credits
Elective Courses At least one Music Theory course ; at least one Aural Skills course at least one of the following ; 3 semesters of MUS 010 Recital Attendance

Music Theory Courses

MUS 111 Foundations in Music, MUS 121 Music Theory I, MUS 221 Music Theory II, or MUS 225 Music Theory III

Aural Skills

MUS 113 Foundations in Aural Skills, MUS 123 Aural Skills I, MUS 223 Aural Skills II, or MUS 227 or MUS 110 Music and Gender, MUS 112 World Music, MUS 121 Music Theory I , MUS 200 Topics in Music, MUS 221 Music Theory II, MUS 225 Music Theory III, MUS 265 Diction for Singers, MUS 330 , MUS 331, MUS 332, MUS 280 Music Technology
Additional Criteria The remaining credits may be selected from any courses in music.

Career Tracks

Music majors from Ripon College have successfully pursued careers in public school and studio teaching, performance, higher education, church music, and other professional fields.

Unique Opportunities

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


Chamber Singers

Chamber SingersChamber Singers is Ripon College’s premier choral ensemble and is open to students of all majors by audition. Chamber Singers performs a wide array of choral repertoire throughout the year. The ensemble performs multiple times on campus each semester. Every spring, the Chamber Singers go on tour to share music with schools and communities throughout the region. For more information please contact Paul Thompson.

Choral Union

Choral UnionRipon College’s Choral Union is open to students, faculty, staff and community members. The choir performs on its own, and also joins other choirs and the Ripon College Orchestra for a masterwork concert every spring. Rehearsals are Thursdays from 7 - 9 p.m. For more information, please contact Abby Schmidt.

Concert Choir

Concert ChoirThe Ripon Concert Choir is a mixed choir open to any student on campus. This choir is designed to be a singing home for students regardless of past choral experience. No audition is required; simply sign up and come to rehearsals. The group will sing varied choral repertoire with a focus on music as a vehicle to build our voices, skills, and humanity. For more information please contact Paul Thompson.

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.


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.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Symphonic Wind EnsembleThe 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.