Skip to main content

Music education

Visit Apply

We’re proud of our reputation for preparing outstanding music educators and our 100% placement rate. Our graduates consistently find positions in a variety of school settings throughout the country. 

How do we do it? Augustana’s liberal arts focus, small classes and personal attention from professors and advisors are key to the Augustana student experience. 

A rigorous progressive music education curriculum, combined with the freedom to pursue other interests, provides the knowledge and skills you need to become an effective music educator. Outside the classroom, Augustana’s ensembles from jazz to opera offer opportunities to broaden your understanding, skills and love of music, as well as perform locally and abroad.

Augustana’s academic reputation, student development of effective teaching skills, and recommendations from faculty who know you well will create many avenues to secure your dream job.

What you'll learn

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Collaborative leadership

Collaborative leadership

Make decisions and act for the good of the community as a group.


• Successful completion of all coursework, exams and requirements leads to an Illinois P-12 Music teaching license. This license allows the holder to teach all levels and types of music in the state of Illinois, ranging from preschool through high school, including instrumental, vocal and general music classrooms. The Illinois teaching license is accepted for reciprocity in most other states.

• The music education area has three faculty members, each specializing in different content areas. This provides a balanced approach to the music education coursework.

Dr. Dawn Farmer, instrumental music education

Dr. Jesse Rathgeber, general & elementary music education

Dr. Michael Zemek, vocal music education

• The Quad-Cities area provides many student-teaching placement options: rural, urban, suburban, public and private institutions, working with diverse student populations. All student teaching placements take place locally and are closely supervised by faculty members.

• The music education program is designed so you can complete it in four years. Many students who choose to pursue study abroad or other travel opportunities also can finish the music education degree requirements in four years.

• Our engaged music education alumni share a deep appreciation for their preparation in the classroom and their faculty mentors. In return, they welcome opportunities to pay it forward with current students by offering shadowing and student-teaching opportunities.

• The Augustana chapter of CNAfME, the national association of music teachers, is highly regarded within the region and has been elected as Illinois' host chapter for events across the region. Augustana is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

The music department

Students of any major — including non-music majors — may audition and apply for music scholarships ranging from $1,000–$4,000 annually.

The 40+ music faculty represents all instrumental areas, including harp. All students, including non-music majors, can take lessons and participate in one of 12 ensembles — from opera to a symphony orchestra to jazz combos. Nearly a quarter of Augustana’s students perform in ensembles.

The music program has a strong tradition of touring ensembles. Since the early 1880s, annual tours have taken the Symphonic Band to 32 states and many countries. The Augustana Choir most recently traveled to Spain, France and Sweden.

Augustana has four concert halls, including the 1,600-seat Centennial Hall and the more intimate, acoustically excellent Wallenberg Hall. Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts, currently being renovated, houses all of the music department’s classrooms and offices, practice rooms and ensemble spaces.

Recent grads

Ariane (Omerza) Call ‘21 is a band teacher in Aledo, Ill.

Christine Rogers ’20 is a K-5 music teacher at Millikin Elementary in Geneseo, Ill.

Eric Tabaka ‘20 is teaching K-8 general music and vocal music in the Vinton-Shellsburg School District in Vinton, Iowa.

Amy Crone ’19 in a music teacher at Henderson Elementary School in Forney, Texas.

Sarah Bromberger ’16 is a band director/general music teacher in Willow Springs, Ill.

More Than I Imagined Amber Mraz
“My peak experience was performing with the Augustana Choir in Stockholm, Sweden.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow
Elizabeth Kupar
More Than I Imagined Elizabeth Kupar
“I heard about Augustana’s strong music program and wanted to learn more about it. As soon as I stepped on campus for my first visit, I felt at home.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow
Luke McMillan
More Than I Imagined Luke McMillan
“Dr. Farmer, my amazing major advisor, helped me realize my true potential as an educator and a musician.”
Read More Directional Arrow Directional arrow
Ryan Jones

Music alumni show Jones '24 what's possible

Until Ryan Jones '24 applied to Augustana, he didn’t realize all his music teachers from elementary through high school in Lake Zurich, Ill., were Augustana alumni.

New music faculty excited to get started

Augustana’s Department of Music welcomes a director of jazz and director of orchestras this fall.

music video

Even without an audience, music students find joy, purpose

Music students aren't able to perform for an audience due to COVID-19, but in some ways this has caused them to look at music with fresh eyes.