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Music Overview

The Marygrove Department of Music offers undergraduate programs designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of music as well as introductory music courses for students majoring in other disciplines. We strive to provide talented and motivated students with a challenging and supportive music program that invites active exploration of the musical practices from a variety of Western music genres.

With our small class size, students enjoy intensive, interactive engagement with Marygrove faculty and peers, as well as guest artists and lecturers who visit our campus. We are committed to helping our students achieve excellence by learning to integrate musical knowledge and skills into their own unique musical gifts—so that each student may become a well-informed and expressive musician. Through our mission of “Musicianship as Leadership, Community and Self-expression”, the Marygrove Department of Music strives to provide students with opportunities to develop crucial professional, critical and creative thinking, leadership, and communication skills for lifelong learning.

Performer • Private Music Instructor/Coach • Church Musician • Production Music Director • Arranger/Composer/Songwriter • Community Music Instructor • Ensemble Conductor/Director • Studio Musician • Music Minister

Graduates from the Music Program have a wide variety of career opportunities available to them. Marygrove’s music graduates are working as performers, private studio instructors, music coaches, ensemble conductors/directors, classroom music teachers, studio artists, songwriters, and music ministers around the Detroit area and beyond.

Our program also prepares graduates for a variety of masters degrees such as arts management, music business, sound editing, music ministry, and record production.

Recent alums have stated that the combination of high-quality music making experiences with development of knowledge and skills in performance practice, critical thinking, literacy, and communication at Marygrove provided them with the tools to become confident and independent musical leaders in their chosen fields.

How can I apply for a music scholarship?
Scholarships are available to incoming students, both first-time and transfer. They may be renewed for up to five years for first-time students, and up to three years for transfer students. When you come for your informal interview, just let us know that you would like to be considered for a scholarship and we’ll give you the details about the audition process. Contact us for details.

Do I need to audition?
We don’t require a formal audition unless a student is applying for a music scholarship [see information at bottom of page]. However, we do require an entrance interview for all prospective music students.

At your entrance interview, we will ask about your music background and your musical career goals. We would also love to hear you play or sing something on your primary instrument (e.g. voice, piano, guitar) so we can see where you are in your technical/expressive development. The informal meeting also gives prospective students an opportunity to ask questions about the program. Based on approval from the department, the incoming freshmen will be designated as a “pre-music major” and enrolled in the first semester of classes.

Incoming status for transfer students varies from individual to individual, and appropriate determination will be made during the entrance interview.

Entrance interviews may be scheduled at any time with one of the music faculty—just contact us.

Why does someone pursue a music degree at Marygrove?
The majority of our incoming students have experience playing one or more instruments—either being self-taught, or mentored through school or religious communities. They are smart and passionate about their music making, and want to gain formal skills and knowledge to develop their innate talents into a professional career. Our students have dreams of performing on-stage or recording, teaching music to others, directing ensembles, composing music; or even combining music with another field such as psychology, early childhood development or dance.

How do you differ from other college music programs?
We are a genre-diverse music program. Most music programs ask students to focus on one genre/style during their course of study, but our approach is more similar to an art or dance department. We invite students to gain a broader perspective of the art from by studying and performing a variety of styles and genres such as classical, R&B, pop, and jazz. We explore the technical, dramatic, musical and expressive options found throughout the art of Western music, and how musicians make informed decisions based on context, tradition and preference.

Some music programs expect incoming students to already know how to read music and to have had formal musical training (e.g. private lessons). However, our curriculum is designed for students who have (a) primarily learned through informal mentorship or are self-taught; (2) are strong aural-based learners [by ear] with little experience reading or writing music; and/or (3) have strong backgrounds in commercial contemporary [popular] music (e.g. gospel, R&B, neo-soul, pop). Also, as a small department, we are able to give an uncommon amount of one-on-one attention, which creates a close, interactive community of professors and peers.

What type of music experience do I need to have?
Because we only have 4-5 years with each student to help prepare his/her for the professional world, it is essential for incoming students to have had strong prior musical experiences to build upon. Prospective students should

  1. be fairly proficient in singing or playing an instrument
  2. be intellectually curious about the process of music making
  3. have some experience performing in public.

However, these prior experiences can look quite different from one student to the next. Some have never had formal lessons, or are not yet able to read music. If you aren’t sure whether your musical experiences have prepared you for college study at Marygrove, please just contact us. We would love to speak with you.

“Pre-Music Major?” How do I become an official music major?
In their first semester, all incoming freshmen are designated as “pre-music majors” and enrolled in MUS 103 Professional Musician and 2 credits of private lessons (as well as IS 100 and other GenEd/proficiency courses). Upon completion of this first semester, the faculty and student will examine the student’s progress and interest to determine if a Marygrove music degree is right for him/her.

Which music degrees does MG offer?

Bachelor of Music – core music curriculum (approx. 63 credit hours), plus 20 credit

hours related to your major instrument (e.g. voice, piano)

Bachelor of Arts in Music – core music curriculum (approx. 63 credit hours), plus 20 credit

hours of electives or a minor in another department

**Please note: all degrees also require approximately 40 credit hours of General Education, Common Experience, proficiency and/or elective credits for a total of 120 prior to graduation

What is the difference between a Bachelor of Music (BM) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA)?
The core of music classes for the two degrees is the same, but a BM requires additional music credits in the primary instrument; while a BA allows students to pursue additional studies in a different field. BA in Music students often wish to explore two different fields OR wish to combine music with a minor in another field. For example, pairing music and a pre-law would lead well into a law school for a career as an entertainment lawyer; OR pairing music and business could be beneficial to someone with an entrepreneurial spirit; OR pairing music and early childhood development could prepare someone to teach a Music Together program for preschoolers.

I want to teach in public schools. Can I be state-certified in music education at Marygrove?
Not at this time. With the implementation of our new genre-diverse curriculum, we made the decision to close our Bachelor of Music Education degree. It was too difficult for students from informal music-making backgrounds to learn how to engage in formal musicianship and learn how to teach formal musicianship within the same degree. Within the next few years, we hope to design a new Masters in Music Education degree, which would allow students holding an undergraduate music degree to pursue certification at Marygrove.

Is it possible to minor in music?
Absolutely! Some students who minor in music are looking to creatively combine these studies with another major (e.g. Criminal Justice, English, Psychology). Others simply love music and wish to learn more about it for their own enjoyment.

What performance opportunities do you have on campus?
Our on-campus student performance events include: Chamber Recitals [acoustic recitals with piano], MgMusic Coffeehouses [amplified with live band], master classes with guest musicians, interdisciplinary stage performances (e.g. “Cinderella through the Kaleidoscope” in 2015), degree recitals, and opportunities for participation in special events such as Take Back the Night and the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

In addition, we always encourage students continue performing off-campus with church or community organizations, or at events such as open-mic nights, weddings, or local competitions. However, we do urge students to consider the rigorous demands of college study, and the strategic benefits of delaying certain opportunities before accepting off-campus performances.

  • Ryan Recital


  • Kyonna Coffee


  • Cinderella Dance


What courses would I take as a music major?
The courses in our core music curriculum will help you to:

  • Build proficiency in music literacy (i.e. hearing, reading, writing and speaking about music)
  • Develop a variety of skills and knowledge for performance, conducting/directing, song-writing/arranging, and music teaching.
  • Improve confidence and independence in your own music making
  • Find community and collaboration in your musicianship through active discussion, group performances, and related research projects
  • Develop crucial professional and performance practice skills
  • Articulate personal career goals and gain an awareness of necessary skills/knowledge/experiences towards achievement of these goals

Ellen Duncan
Madame Cadillac Building, Room 250
Direct: (313) 927-1254
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tara Sievers-Hunt
Madame Cadillac Building, Room 251
Direct: (313) 927-1312
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
Bachelor of Arts, Music Major (B.A.)
Minor in Music
Minor in Fine Arts

Ellen Duncan, M.A.
Tara Sievers-Hunt, M.Mus.
Zen Zadravec, M.Mus.
Paul Kinney, M.Mus.
Kim Swan, M.Mus.
Rita Yevzelman, Master Diploma
Christopher Brent, Staff Accompanist

Professor Emerita
Sue Ann Vanderbeck Lenz, M.Mus.

For more details about music department courses or our curriculum, please contact us!

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