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.

Latest News

Harwood Memorial Union, June 20, 2016

Lawn concert with jazz, band performances will be presented May 3

The Spring Lawn Concert will be presented Wednesday, May 3, on the lawn in front of Harwood Memorial Union. Music will be presented by Jazz […]

Peter Loewenstein '24 playing the guitar

Peter Loewenstein ’24 brings family guitar legacy to performance on Thursday

When brass and guitar students present a recital Thursday, one of the guitarists brings a long family legacy of the instrument to his performance. Peter […]

Erin Bryan

Erin Bryan will be soloist at chorale concert in Fond du Lac April 29 and 30

Assistant Professor of Music Erin Bryan will join the South Shore Chorale as soprano soloist for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (4th Movement) April 29 and 30. […]


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)

Abby Schmidt

Schmidt, Abby

Adjunct Instructor of Music (Choral Union)

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)

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. 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


Requirements for a major in Music | 48 credits in music, including the following:

  • MUS 010 (5 semesters): Recital Attendance (0 credits)
  • MUS 111: Foundations in Music (4 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)
  • 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. Can choose either recital or project option. (2 credits)
  • At least 6 additional credits in Music (6 credits)

Requirements for a minor in Music | 22 credits in music, including the following:

  • MUS 010 (3 semesters): Recital Attendance (0 credits)
  • MUS 111: Foundations in Music (4 credits)
  • MUS 121: Music Theory I (4 credits)
  • 2 music history courses (MUS 330, 331, or 332) (8 credits)
  • 1 semester of lessons– MUS 100, 102, 140, 240, 150, or
    250. Cannot include lessons at the 050 level. (1 credit)
  • 1 semester of ensembles– MUS 190 (1 credit)
  • At least 4 additional credits in Music (4 credits)

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.