Nurture Your Musical Talent

Music flows from your spirit through your hands and voice. Give your talent the spotlight it deserves in Kirkwood’s music program.  

Immerse yourself in music and learn from our highly accomplished faculty, scholars, and active performers. Audition for our internationally acclaimed vocal ensembles. Perfect your instrumentals in a jazz ensemble or the Kirkwood concert band. 

As a Liberal Arts student, you’ll complete core humanities requirements and dive right into your choice of music electives. Classes focus on vocal and instrumental music, music history, and music theory. Prepare for a future on stage or in areas like musicology, music development for media, and more.

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Get your share of the $3 million in scholarships Kirkwood offers every year. That includes nearly $140,000 specifically for Visual and Performing Arts students.

You may need to audition to be eligible for some music-specific scholarships. To audition for a music scholarship, you’ll need to complete the minimum requirements:

  • One solo, classical or popular work with accompaniment (if applicable);
  • Sight-reading
  • 2.5 minimum GPA

Many people assume music careers lead only to performing or teaching. But new music-related careers are being created all the time such as music event planner, musicologist, and music development for video games.

Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university will work with a music advisor to plan out their academic path while at Kirkwood and beyond.

Kirkwood’s music advisor is very knowledgeable and a key component in making sure students get everything they need for a seamless transfer. Students should work with their advisor to plan out their class schedule based on Kirkwood’s graduation requirements, as well as the admission requirements of their transfer school.

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Music students should expect to take:

  • Four-semester Music Theory sequence
  • Participate in a major ensemble group each semester (Concert Choir, Concert Band, or Jazz Ensemble)
  • Enroll in upper-level applied lessons with performance seminar
  • Class piano or applied piano to ensure proficiency

Our music faculty includes 20 highly qualified, enthusiastic instructors – many who are professional performers themselves. Visiting guest artists frequent Kirkwood to help you develop next-level skills.

Choose Your Ensemble

Vibe with likeminded musicians in a Kirkwood ensemble. Special scholarships are available for students who participate in ensembles, and you'll also receive elective credit for participating.

Build on your strengths with internationally recognized educators, performing artists and musicians in one of these eclectic ensembles:

Instrumental Ensembles

Concert Band
Large, non-auditioned instrumental ensemble open to Kirkwood students and community members.  

Chamber Ensemble
Small instrumental ensemble featuring woodwinds, brass, strings, or Celtic instruments.  

Jazz Combo
Small instrumental ensemble performing traditional and contemporary jazz with an emphasis on improvisational techniques.  

Jazz Ensemble
Twenty-piece jazz band that explores both traditional and contemporary jazz pieces.

Vocal Ensembles

Jazz Transit
Auditioned eight-voice a cappella ensemble that performs a variety of styles.

Chamber Singers
Auditioned ensemble of eight to 16 singers who perform challenging literature in a variety of styles.

Concert Choir
Auditioned mixed chorus of 40-60 members who perform concerts throughout the year.

Explore Our Music Courses

Learn the basics of dictation and sight singing as well as how to identify scales, intervals, and chords by ear. Classes include:  

  • Music Fundamentals
  • Music Theory I, II, II, & IV 
  • Music Theory Lab  
  • Jazz Improvisation  
  • And more

Discover how the world of music was impacted by historical events. Study the works of famous composers and discover musical evolution in the U.S. Classes include:

  • Music Appreciation 
  • American Popular Music & Jazz 
  • Introduction to Film Music  

Build your performance skills and get expert instruction in tone production, technique, and musicianship. Classes include:  

  • Applied Voice
  • Class Piano
  • Applied Instrumental
George Appleseth

“Out of every school I visited, I could picture myself at Kirkwood. It was such a welcoming environment and everyone was so friendly.”

George Appleseth,
Panora, Iowa


Arts & Humanities
336 Cedar Hall