2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    May 19, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Music

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Benjamin I. J. Harding, DMA, Dean


Steven G. McCollum, DMA; Director, Choral Activities
Debbie Lynn Wolf, PhD; Chair, Music Education

Associate Professor

Kenneth R. Borrmann, MMus; Chair, Keyboard Studies

Part-time Faculty

Ruth Naomi Floyd, AA; Director, Jazz Studies

Adjunct Faculty

Rebecca Benjamin, MS, Chapel Worship Teams
Graeme Burgan, MMus, Church Music, Piano
Megan Carroll, BMus, Flute
Ryan Carson, MMus, Composition
Steven Condy, MMus, Opera Theater
John Frazier, MMus, Clarinet
Thomas Hong, MMus, Conducting
Eric Jones, MMus, Strings
David C. Kramer, MMus, Brass
Robin L. Massie, MMus, Vocal Studies
William Priebe, MMus, Percussion
Suzanne M. Schmidt, MMEd, Theory
Joshua N.T. Stamper, BA, Guitar, Jazz Theory
Elizabeth Sutton, MMus, Voice Performance
A. Scott Watson, DMA, Music Technology
Stephen M. Weir, MS, Production
Virginia M. Whitney, MMus, Theory and Composition
Heidi Wolfskill, MM, Instrumental Methods, Wind Ensemble

Affiliate Artists

Brendan Hartz, BMus, Trombone
Priscilla Lee, MM, Cello
Lori Marino, MMus, Bassoon
Kathryn Moyer, BMus, Voice
Hilary Orlando, MMus, Organ, Piano
Karen Schubert, French Horn
David Shockey, DMA, Voice

The School

The School of Music exists to educate and prepare students to be musicians of excellence and integrity who glorify God by serving in the church, society, and the world.


Implicit in the mission of the School of Music are specific goals relevant to music majors, other University students, faculty, the Christian church, constituency, and the community. The four primary goals are:

  1. To educate and prepare music students to integrate musical and artistic excellence, professional skills, personal integrity, and biblical truth.
  2. To awaken students to the performing arts as an expressive gift of God’s creation, and engage them in participation, understanding, and enjoyment.
  3. To support the faculty’s ongoing artistic growth, scholarly research, and educational aspirations.
  4. To serve the student body, the University as a whole, and the local and global community as a resource for worship, education, and musical enrichment.


Cairn University achieved accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in 1979. The program had achieved associate membership in NASM in 1972. The curriculum requirements that follow are designed to meet the NASM standards required for the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Music degree. (National Association of Schools of Music, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190; Telephone: 703-437-0700; Web Site: nasm.arts-accredit.org)

The Programs

Four music programs are designed to provide a professional education for qualified students who are interested in careers as church musicians, school teachers, performers, or composers. These programs are Worship and Music, Music Education, Performance, and Composition; and each leads to the Bachelor of Music degree. Students may also choose a double-degree program in Music Education, which leads to both the Bachelor of Music degree and the Bachelor of Science in Bible degree.

A fifth program leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music encompasses a substantial study of music theory, history, and performance within the context of an expanded liberal arts curriculum.

Students in any undergraduate degree program at Cairn can add a Music minor by taking 19 credits of focused study in music.

Related Program Information

Music Facilities

A two-storied music building houses faculty studios, offices, classrooms, and rehearsal and practice rooms. A music technology lab includes synthesizers and computers with music education and composition software. The 150-seat Lewis Holmes Recital Hall located in the Ellwood A. Cook Biblical Learning Center is home to a Steinway Model B grand piano and serves as the primary recital hall. The William Chatlos Chapel, with its three-manual, custom-built, digital organ, Steinway Model D grand piano, and Baldwin concert grand piano, also serves as a recital/concert hall. Manor Hall serves as a large rehearsal hall and houses a Steinway Model D grand piano. One pipe organ, one electronic organ, and a piano lab are housed in the music building.

In 2004, the University became one of the first evangelical colleges or universities in the United States to be designated an All-Steinway School. The designation All-Steinway indicates that approximately 90 percent of the University’s pianos are made by the world-renowned company Steinway and Sons.

Audition Requirements

Each program and applied area has requirements both for entrance and for satisfactory progress. An entrance audition is required of all applicants for the School of Music. General audition requirements are listed below. When entering, first-semester music students must enroll in one of the music programs.

Scholarships ranging from $600 to $6,000 per year may be awarded to music students who pass an audition, exhibit outstanding performance ability and potential, and enroll in one of the BA or BMus programs. The scholarship award will be applied annually toward Cairn tuition for full-time study for the number of semesters normally required to complete the program. To qualify, applicants must meet Cairn’s standard entrance requirements and audition before May 1. If scholarship funds remain after May 1, additional scholarships may be awarded.

All Applicants 

  1. Auditions should be scheduled through the Music Office at least three weeks in advance of the proposed audition date. Applications for audition may be submitted electronically from the University website, by mail, or by phone.
  2. Auditions should be completed before registration day of the incoming semester. 
  3. Applicants should bring one reference copy of all music to the audition. 
  4. Applicants will normally be notified of audition results and music scholarship within two weeks of the audition.  
  5. If the applicant is unable to attend one of the scheduled audition days, individual arrangements may be made through the Music Office. For those who cannot audition in person, a video recording may be submitted.
  6. All applicants will be given a music theory/musicianship diagnostic test. A piano proficiency test is not part of the audition for non-piano applicants.

Worship and Music, Performance, Music Education, and Bachelor of Arts Applicants

  1. Perform two contrasting works from the classical repertoire (memorization required). Suggested classical repertoire:
    - A two- or three-part invention or a prelude and fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach
    - An allegro movement from a sonata by Mozart, Haydn, or Beethoven
    - A larger work from the romantic period
  2. Be prepared to play any major or minor scale (harmonic form) at a moderate tempo, four octaves; hands together.
  3. Demonstrate sightreading ability.
  1. Perform two contrasting works from the classical repertoire (memorization required). Suggested classical repertoire: Copland, Quilter, Britten, Caldara (24/26 Italian Songs & Arias), Schubert, Faure, Brahms, Handel, etc.
  2. Demonstrate sightreading ability.
  1. Perform the first movement of a standard concerto or solo piece of choice.
  2. Perform a contrasting movement from a standard concerto or solo piece by a different composer of choice.
  3. Be prepared to play three octaves of major scales up to four flats and four sharps.
  4. Demonstrate sightreading ability.
Woodwinds and Brass
  1. Perform the first movement of a standard concerto or solo piece of choice.
  2. Perform a contrasting movement from a standard concerto or solo piece by a different composer of choice.
  3. Be prepared to play three octaves of major scales (tongued and slurred) up to four flats and four sharps.
  4. Demonstrate sightreading ability.
  1. Perform two prepared snare drum solos from:
    - the N.A.R.D. Rudiment Solo Book or equivalent.
    - Cirone’s, Portraits in Rhythm or equivalent.
  2. Perform a snare drum concert roll: pp<ff>pp over 16 beats.
  3. Perform a prepared mallet solo from the book Masterpieces for Marimba by MacMillan, Intermediate Mallets by Whaley, or equivalent.
  4. Perform a timpani solo (for example, a four-drum solo from The Solo Timpanist by Firth, or equivalent).
  5. Be prepared to play any two octave major or harmonic minor scale on the xylophone.
  6. Demonstrate sight-reading ability (snare drum/mallets).
  1. Perform two contrasting works from the classical repertoire (Church Music guitar applicants may substitute two jazz/pop solos).
  2. Be prepared to play any two octave major or minor (harmonic form) scale.
  3. Demonstrate sightreading ability.
Composition Applicants

In addition to the above audition requirements, composition applicants enter the composition program in one of two ways:

  1. Submit a portfolio of original compositions prior to the audition.
  2. For students just beginning their compositional study, demonstrate, during the first two semesters of study, a working knowledge of theory and a strong interest in the creative process.

All accompanied pieces must be performed with an accompanist (no accompaniment tracks permitted). All applicants should provide their own accompanist, unless other arrangements are made with the School of Music. Applicants requesting an accompanist must mail one copy of all music with the audition application. Please note that acceptance by the School of Music does not constitute acceptance by the University, or vice versa. Applicants must be accepted by the University in addition to passing the audition.

Worship and Music Audition Requirements

Students should prepare a piece that they are comfortable with and displays their strengths as a musician. It should be approximately three to five minutes in length, in any style, and demonstrate their instrumental or vocal proficiency and overall musicianship.

Percussionists will be asked to play selected examples from the following list of grooves/techniques:

  • 4/4 Swing
  • 3/4 Swing
  • Rock
  • Funk
  • Shuffle
  • Bossa Nova
  • Samba
  • Trading fours and eights in 4/4 Swing, Shuffle, and Rock grooves
  • Brush technique

Students will also be asked to improvise and sight-read in order to assess where they are in their instrumental development. They will also be asked to participate in call-and-response exercises to assess ear training level. The audition team will play short rhythms and melodies which the students will either sing back or play back on their instrument. Students may also be asked to identify intervals and chord qualities.

General Music Program Requirements

Applied Music Requirements

An important part of each music program is regular, private study in a primary applied area. With the exception of students enrolled in the composition program, all students begin applied studies in the first semester, taking weekly lessons. For specific requirements, see the respective program descriptions. For a detailed description of Applied Music studies, see course descriptions.

Ensemble Requirements

All music majors are required to participate in an ensemble every semester they are enrolled full-time (with an exception for Music Education majors during their student teaching semester). Specific ensemble requirements for each program and applied area are delineated in the curriculum plan for each program. A listing and description of ensembles is found in the section of music course descriptions.

Recital Requirements

Music majors taking primary applied lessons for credit are required to participate in a general recital each semester. Additional recital requirements for upperclassmen are listed below.

  • Worship and Music: senior year, 25-30 minutes of music in the student’s applied area.
  • Performance: junior year, 40-45 minutes of music in the student’s applied area; senior year, 55-60 minutes of music in the student’s applied area.
  • Composition: senior year, 35-40 minutes of original compositions and arrangements.
  • Music Education: senior year, 25-30 minutes of music in the student’s applied area.

Students in the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music program give a public presentation of their senior project in one of the following formats: lecture/recital, lecture/demonstration, or project/oral presentation.

School of Music Seminars, Studio Classes, and Recital Attendance

Full-time music majors are required to attend a weekly Music Major Seminar, comprised of studio classes, guest artists and lecturers, master classes, program meetings, and recitals. The seminars provide discussions of pertinent professional subjects, while studio classes and recitals give opportunity for students to gain proficiency in performance.

Music majors are also required to attend a minimum number of concerts and recitals each semester.

Piano Proficiency Exam for Non-Keyboard Majors

All non-keyboard music majors must pass a piano proficiency exam in order to graduate. This exam must be taken by the end of the fifth semester of piano study and must be repeated each semester until the requirement is passed. Private or class piano study must continue uninterrupted until all elements of the exam have been passed. The exam consists of three parts:

  1. Part I: Technique
    1. Scales: All major and harmonic minor scales played hands together, with correct fingering, two octaves in eighth notes, minimum tempo: quarter note =72.
    2. Chords: All major and minor triads played hands together, three positions ascending and descending two octaves, in quarter notes, minimum tempo: quarter note =72.
  2. Part II: Repertoire
    1. A prepared piece from the following performed from memory:
      1)    Any two- or three-part Invention by J.S. Bach
      2)    Any first movement of a sonatina or sonata
      3)    Any other piece approved by the chair of Keyboard Studies
    2. A four-part hymn with at least two sharps or two flats played at singing tempo.       
  3. Part III: Prepared Selections/Sight Reading
    1. Prepared Selections
      1)    Perform a choral accompaniment, chosen from five predetermined accompaniments.
      2)    Perform a lead sheet accompaniment.
      3)    Harmonize a simple melody.
      The above selections are provided by the Music Office one week prior to the proficiency hearing. If requested, the piano faculty will provide examples.
    2. Sight-read a simple hymn. 


Students in the Worship and Music program are required to serve as an intern in a local church after their sixth semester of study.

Student Teaching

Music Education students must meet student teaching requirements as outlined in the School of Education Undergraduate Handbook and the School of Education Student Teaching Handbook.

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