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Music Major

Church Music Concentration

School of Arts and Sciences



21st-century church musicians need an incredibly diverse skill-set, including the ability to work collaboratively with pastors, administer and recruit, lead a congregation in song, direct ensembles, and work with children. Concordia University Irvine has addressed this need for diversity by hiring full-time professors who are leading experts in each area, and providing students significant experience in all areas. This leads to graduates who are in demand for full-time church employment in many Christian denominations. Concordia is also proud to be one of the top schools in the nation for commissioning church musicians for the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod through our Director of Parish Music program.

If you would like to have a conversation with a professor about the Church Music Concentration, please contact:

Dr. Tom Mueller
[email protected]
(949) 214-3651  

  • Church Music Concentration
  • 18 Units
  • Church music students must select MUS 482 in the music major. Applied units in this concentration are in addition to the Musical Collaboration and Applications core of the music major.  Please see Christ College certificate requirements for additional requirements.
  • MUKC 311: Church Music Keyboard Competency
  • 0

This zero credit competency course/exam will assess a student's ability to lead worship from a piano and or organ in a congregation which uses hymnal (e.g. LSB) as its main resource for congregational song material. The exam may be repeated until the student obtains a passing grade. Private lessons are available for students who want to receive specialized instruction in order to prepare for this exam. This particular competency exam is typically taken in the junior or senior year of study, after completion of the music major piano competency exam. Course Fee: $25. Prerequisite: MUKP 211.


  • MUGC 211: Church Music Guitar Competency
  • 0

This zero credit competency course/exam will assess a student's ability to lead worship from the guitar. The exam may be repeated until the student obtains a passing grade. Private lessons are available for students who want to receive specialized instruction in techniques to help a student prepare for this exam. This particular competency exam is typically taken in the junior and senior year of study. Course Fee: $25. Prerequisite: MUE 282 and MUS 281.

  • MUS 222: Intermediate Conducting
  • 2

As a continuation of MUS 221, students will build upon their conducting skills with more advanced study in expressive gestures, left-hand independence, cueing, psychological conducting, and score preparation. Prerequisite: MUS 221.

  • MUS 483: A Survey of Christian Hymnody
  • 3

This is an historical survey course of Christian hymnody which will develop an awareness of the poetic, musical, theological, and spiritual aspects of hymnody for both congregational and devotional use. Offered alternate years.

  • MUS 484: Planning Music in Christian Worship
  • 2

A practical study of planning music within the worship service will be presented in this course as students draw upon their experiences in theology, worship, history, arranging, performance, and repertoire courses to create and evaluate worship forms in today's church. Prerequisite: THL 382.

  • THL 382: Corporate Worship
  • 3

Through an examination of the theology of corporate worship as it is taught in Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and how it has developed throughout the history of the church, this course will look at the criteria for preparing and evaluating worship services in today’s church. Prerequisite: CTHL 101 or CTHL 200 or equivalent.

  • Choose 2 units from the following:
  • MUGU 101-401: Private Lessons: Guitar
  • 1

Private Lessons: Guitar

  • MUKI 101-401: Private Lessons: Keyboard Improvisation I-IV
  • 1

Private Lessons: Keyboard Improvisation I-IV

  • MUKO 100: Organ Class
  • 1

This course will introduce basic organ techniques and repertoire to students with limited or no prior organ experience. As students become comfortable with combining hands and feet, the class will address topics such as organ repertoire, mechanics of the instrument, practical applications (hymn playing in particular), touch, articulation, and registration. Practice time is required and the student will need to obtain organ shoes and purchase a textbook. The course may be repeated.

  • MUKO 101-401: Private Lessons: Organ
  • 1

Private Lessons: Organ

  • MUKP 101-401: Private Lessons: Piano
  • 1

MUKP 101-401: Private Lessons: Piano 

  • Choose 6 units from the following:
  • MUS 204: Songwriting and Analysis
  • 2

The practical application and technique of songwriting, including lyrics, melody, harmony, form and stylistic content.

  • MUS 307: Improvisation
  • 2

Students will study musical improvisation in jazz and popular music through analysis of the work of great soloists and the application of genre-specific melodic, harmonic and rhythmic concepts. Prerequisites: MUS 303 or MUS 306.

  • MUS 316: Music Technology II
  • 2

Building on the skills attained in Music Technology I, this course is focused on the creation of music, utilizing state of the art music technology with an emphasis on preparing the student for vocation in the classroom, studio or stage. Prerequisite: MUS 216 or permission of instructor.

  • MUS 405: Arranging in Popular Music
  • 2

The advanced application of arranging concepts in a popular music setting with an emphasis on the utilization of commonly used instrumental and vocal groupings and curating the arranging process through various stages including concept development, score preparation, rehearsal, programming, recording and performance. Prerequisites: MUS 305 and MUS 306.

  • MUS 441: Handbell Methods and Repertoire
  • 3

This course will study the organization and directing of handbell programs. The one (1)-unit course includes a philosophy of handbell ringing, methods for beginning ringers, materials and equipment, recruitment, and handbell literature for school and church. The two (2)-unit course adds literature, curriculum, and methods for more advanced ringers, small ensembles, and solos. The three (3)-unit course adds work in composition and arranging for handbells as well as advanced conducting. Prerequisites for one (1) or two (2) units: Experience with handbell ringing and familiarity with musical notation; for the three (3)-unit course: MUS 202 and MUS 222.

  • MUS 461: Music for Children
  • 3

This course will enable students to identify, understand, and work with the music capabilities of children. The three (3)-unit course is required for music education and liberal studies majors and others interested in developing school music curricula and/or other special skills and projects. The two (2)-unit course is available to others primarily interested in preparing musical activities and cultivating classroom teaching skills. Basic music reading ability and musical experience recommended.

  • MUS 471: Choral Methods and Repertoire
  • 3

This advanced choral music methods course will focus on repertoire, rehearsal management, advanced conducting techniques, vocal pedagogy, planning, and administration. Prerequisites: MUS 202 and MUS 222 or consent of instructor. Offered alternate years.

  • THL 281: Introduction to Worship Arts
  • 1

This course will provide an overview of the contemporary worship arts profession and its methods and principles including the study and evaluation of worship services in churches of various sizes and denominations; technologies, equipment, and tools that support worship arts programming; common worship band principles; approaches used in service planning; and the use of dance, drama, and visual arts.

  • Total Units
  • 18 Units

Current students, please note: The requirements listed here may not reflect the most current courses for this major and may not be the requirements for the catalog year you are following to complete your major. Please refer to the Academic Catalog for official requirements you must meet to qualify for a degree.

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