Music Major

Church Music Concentration

School of Arts and Sciences



21st century church musicians need an incredibly diverse skill-set, including the ability to plan worship collaboratively with pastors, administer and recruit, lead a congregation in hymn-singing, direct choirs and handbells, work with children, conduct instrumentalists, and lead praise bands. 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.

  • Church Music Concentration
  • Church Music students must select Music Cultures: Musical Expression in Christianity (3), Music for Children (2-3), and 6 units of choir and/or handbells in the Music Major. Applied and ensemble units in this concentration are in addition to the Musicianship Core of the Music Major.
  • MU__ 101-401: Secondary Instrument I-IV
  • 2

MU__ 101-401: Secondary Instrument I-IV

  • MUKC 311: Church Music Keyboard Competency
  • 0

This zero credit compentency 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 216: Music Technology I
  • 2

An introduction to music technology hardware and software, focusing on the tools and methods used to create, prepare and perform music. Topics include MIDI, digital audio workstations, score preparation, live performance systems, and methods of music production. Students will participate in hands-on projects in which they will apply their understanding of basic music technology principles. Students should be able to read muscial notation.

  • MUS 281: Introduction to Worship Band
  • 1

This course is a focused classroom and rehearsal experience teaching standard concepts and worship band ensemble methods that are applied in the preparation and performance of much of today's modern worship repertoire. It is open to all students but specifically required for all incoming freshmen or transfer students that are new to our worship band program. All ensembles may be repeated for credit, but only two (2) units will apply toward graduation except in the case of students in a music major/minor where additional units are required.

  • 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. Prerequisites: 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, CTHL 200, or equivalent.

  • Optional Recommended Courses
  • MUCO 101-401: Private Lesson: Composition I-IV
  • 2

MUCO 101-401: Private Lesson: Composition 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.

  • MUS 305: Arranging
  • 2

This course introduces students to the basic principles of arranging pre-existing musical material for the small ensembles commonly encountered in church, educational, and commercial settings. Aspects of reharmonization, voicing, scoring, part generation, and idiomatic instrumental and choral writing will be studied. Pre-requisite: MUS 202.

  • MUS 393: Practicum: Contemporary Ensemble Leadership
  • 1

Contemporary Ensemble Leadership is a practicum designed to prepare the student for the effective leadership of jazz, pop, rock and worship ensembles. The class includes ensemble lab experience and individual coaching and instruction between the instructor and the student. The student may function as a member of the ensemble or a sa non-playing ensemble leader. Requires consent of instructor.

  • MUS 404: Contemporary Music Theory
  • 2

An introduction to modern harmonic relationships found in jazz, contemporary pop and worship music, focusing on chord structure, spelling, inversions, plural interior chords, scalar relationships, and jazz and pop notation. Students will learn to create genre-specific improvised melodic and harmonic accompaniment from a lead sheet or rhythm section chart. Pre-requisite: MUS 304.



  • MUS 412: Instrumental Methods and Repertoire
  • 2

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

  • 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 221.

  • MUS 451: Music Cultures of the World: Emerging Nations
  • 3

This course will introduce students to the study of music as a universal cultural phenomenon and the discipline of ethnomusicology with exposure to the musical and social aspects of folk, traditional, and art music of Latin America, Africa, India, North America, Southeast Asia, and contemporary mass media. Prerequisite: MUS 102, MUS 111, MUS 112, MUS 201 or equivalent knowledge and experience in music strongly encouraged. Offered alternate years.

  • 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 202and MUS 222 or consent of instructor. Offered alternate years.

  • MUS 472: Vocal Pedagogy and Literature
  • 3

A survey of voice anatomy, acoustics, physiology, hygiene and vocal development. The course will explore teaching singers of various ages and selection of age-appropriate repertoire. Prerequisite: MUVO 201, MUVO 301 or MUVO 401.

  • MUS 485: Contemporary Christian Song
  • 2

This survey course that will look at the development and function of contemporary Christian music appropriate for use within both liturgical and non-liturgical worship services as students draw upon their experiences in theology, music, and worship courses and learn to select and evaluate contemporary music appropriate for a Lutheran-Christian worship context. Prerequisites: THL 382; MUS 482/THL 482 and MUS 483/THL 483 are also suggested.

  • THL 381: Worship Arts Ministry
  • 3

This course will look at the theology, methods, and principles for leading a worship arts ministry including the evaluation and development of working definitions for 'contemporary' worship; planning worship services for varied congregational settings; worship ministry in the context of congregational change; values that shape worship ministry programming; the role of technology; and the application of a theology of worship in cultivating a character of leadership. Prerequisite: MUS 281 or consent of instructor. Offered alternate years.

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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