Department of Music

Welcome Class of 2019

We have an AMAZING class of musicians coming in the Fall, and we cannot wait to get started. The Instrumental Music Assistants will be on hand during orientation to help rent instruments, get lockers, and assist with your auditions. PLEASE let us know if you do not have the audition materials, and no, it is not too late to decide to join a music ensemble!


Jazz ensembles, symphony orchestras, bands, chamber groups, huge choirs, vocal much to choose from, but there IS a place for you. Any musician is welcome! Contact a Conductor if you have questions.

Choirs: Prepared piece (accompianist provided). No solo? How about the first verse of Amazing Grace or My Country, 'Tis of Thee.

Jazz Vocal Ensembles, Voice leads for the Jazz Bands: Two contrasting songs from the Great American Songbook, sight-reading excercise, interview to determine your past experience fronting a jazz ensemble

Strings: Short 3-5 minute solo or etude, ochestral excerpts (posted here), sight-reading, 2-octave major scales up to 3 flats/sharps.

Woodwinds/Brass: Major and chromatic scale, sight-reading, 3-5 minute solo of etude, required excerpts (posted here).

Percussion: 3-5 minute solo or etude, three snare rudiments or 3 scales of choice on mallets.

Piano: Two pieces of contrasting style, such as J.S. Bach's Invention and Piano Sonata by Beethoven; simple sight reading. Not for beginners.

Organ: Organists should demonstrate hymns and/or a 3-5 minute prepared piece. Pianists interested in trying organ lessons are welcome to audition on piano for Dr. Winterfeldt.

Handbell Choirs: The audition includes reading music notation and demonstrating rhythm skills. Previous ringing experience is not necessary as a prerequisite. See lobby of the music building for more details.

Electric Guitar or Bass: Ability to read traditional music notation, scales short solo of etude.

Jazz Sax and Brass: Major scales, sight-reading, etude (download it here), optional blues improvisation. Auditions for incoming first years on Saturday, September 5, returning students on Sunday, September 6.

Jazz Rhythm Section: Group format demonstration of swing, latin, and rock/funk grooves; interaction with other rhythm section members; prepared performance of Autumn Leaves (download it here); optional blues improvisation. Auditions for both incoming and returning students 5pm-6:30pm on Sunday, September 6.

Music Faculty Win Again

Dr. Chad Winterfeldt wins the Swenson-Bunn Teaching Award for 2015, following Dr. Brandon Dean's win last year. Award-winning faculty, an almost fanatical dedication to excellence and opportunities galore...why go anywhere else?




Music Scholarships

The Jussi Björling Scholarships assists students of merit with their college costs and are renewed annually. Contact Admissions to apply. We will continue to use our electronic audition process, but also offer traditional live auditions upon request.Gustavus leverages various awards to remain competitive even with state institutions. Considering the value of a Gustie education, it is no wonder why so many musicians choose to study here.

So What Will You Do With a Music Degree?

Have a look at our Graduates in Music Booklet. Here you will find inspiration and direction as you consider your options. A Gustavus degree in music offers the discipline, creativity and flexibility for a wide variety of professions. Dr. Rick Orpen explains:

The Graduates in Music Booklet is a first attempt to chronicle the music activities of Gustavus Graduates. It is my intent to include all Music Majors but also those non-majors who continue significant involvement with music (music career, professional ensemble, employed by music organization, etc). I welcome your feedback on your listing (additions, corrections, updates) and any others. I expect I have unintentionally missed some graduates, especially those who were not a major, and I wish to include them. Please pass the word about checking this out. All correspondence concerning the Booklet can be sent to

Discover More About Your Music via Our Colloquium

Come to a Music Colloquium event, free and open to the public! This unique series of talks or pre-concert lectures focus on anything from opera to jazz and pop. Click here for events coming soon. For an overview of the entire series click here.

Looking for something other than the common college music experience?

Christmas in Christ Chapel

At Gustavus, we understand music is the key to unlocking your genius, no matter what your major field of study may be.  We know music has inspired you to achieve great things thus far.  Why not see how far it can take you?

  • World-class professors devoted to you and your goals
  • Small class sizes 
  • Updated technology to fuel your imagination
  • Scholarships for music majors and non-majors alike (more than $500,000 in music scholarships given last year)
  • Ensembles which enable you to perform all over the world
  • The musician-friends you have longed for, ready to explore with you

Come see how we can serve your musical passion by applying online or with your iPad today!