Music is an important part of the Wartburg culture, with about one-third of the student body participating in an ensemble. Our students tour the U.S. and abroad with some of their best friends, perform in famous concert halls and cathedrals, and work with world-renowned composers. More than 6,000 people attend the annual Christmas with Wartburg performances in Waverly and Des Moines. Students do not need to be a music major to be a member of an ensemble, take private lessons, or compete for a music scholarship.

Wartburg College is an accredited, institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Students completing the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved music therapy degree program are eligible to sit for board certification by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Wartburg is the only private college in Iowa to offer the music therapy major. Completion of the Bachelor of Music Education or the Bachelor of Music Education/Music Therapy degree leads to licensure in education in the state of Iowa.

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Piano Basic Skills

As part of the requirements for accreditation by NASM (National Association of Schools of Music), all schools of music have a piano requirement for all music degrees.  At Wartburg, it is called the “Basic Skills” test and it includes functional keyboard skills as follows:

1.Two 2-page pieces, approximately the level of the Bach Minuet in GM (BWV 114), or Burgmuller Arabesque, or Bartok pieces from For Children

2.Major and harmonic scales, HS (hands separately) with correct fingering; up to three sharps or flats only

3.Harmonization from a lead sheet – sight reading the melody while playing block chords as accompaniment; playing I-IV-V-V7 root position chords one hand; singing a melody while accompanying two-hand (bass in LH, chords in RH)

4.Four-part reading – playing two prepared hymns; with three days preparation, playing either sop-tenor, or alto-bass of a four-part open score
Applied lessons and piano classes are directed at preparing you to learn these skills.  If you have little or no prior background, you would start at Levels 1 or 2, but you could also get quite a head start this summer if you were to buy the book used in the class (Faber Adult Piano Adventures Bk 1) and read through it carefully, either on your own or with a local teacher.  For those of you who have already had one to two years of piano, brushing up your skills in repertoire such as that listed in #1, and polishing your scales means that you could move immediately to Class Level 3 or 4 (Faber Adult Piano Adventures Bk 2; Level 3 Class focuses on harmonization and beginning score reading; Level 4 Class focuses on score reading).

The Bachelor of Music Education degree meets the requirements of the Iowa Department of Education for K-12 music certification. This entitles students to teach in the elementary general music classroom, or teach in a band, choir or orchestral setting at the middle school or high school level.

The Bachelor of Music Education/Music Therapy degree is offered for those who wish to qualify for K-12 licensure through the state department of education and as a Board-Certified Music Therapists through the Certification Board for Music Therapy. Coursework meets the requirements of the Iowa Department of Education for K-12 music licensure to include a semester of student teaching in fulfillment of the education license. Those in the degree program then also complete a six-month music therapy internship as a requirement established by the American Music Therapy Association prior to sitting for the board certification exam.

The Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree is offered for those who wish to complete the coursework aligned with the requirements set by the American Music Therapy Association to qualify for becoming a Board-Certified Music Therapist. A six month internship post coursework is required before sitting for the board certification exam.

The Bachelor of Arts in Music degree provides you with a variety of career options in the music field. You may choose the general music major, which allows you to combine a music major with another major or minor field. Or you may choose the Church Music track, which combines course work in music and religion to prepare you for leading music programs in churches or for further study in graduate school.

The Bachelor of Music in Performance degree prepares you for further study leading to professional performance, studio teaching, or work in church music.

The Wartburg College music faculty is committed to providing you with an excellent education and helping you achieve your goals as you seek to advance your knowledge and skill through a major in music. The mission of the Wartburg College Music Department is to help students develop technical and interpretive skills as well as acquire an appreciation for music’s intrinsic qualities in life and history. Throughout all our programs, you will

  • gain an understanding of the elements of music, including a competency level in music theory and aural skill
  • gain an understanding of musical styles and periods, and understand music within a larger cultural contex
  • develop performance skills through applied lessons and solo recital
  • participate in an ensemble experience at a high level
  • develop the ability to write and speak as an advocate for your art
  • develop an appreciation for the value of music in education and society

Music Department Fast Facts

The music department boasts a 100 percent job/graduate school placement rate for ALL graduates.

Wartburg offers four-year majors/degrees. This means one year less tuition and one more year of salary when compared with a state university.

The college offers the only B.A. in church music in Iowa.

Wartburg is the only private college in Iowa with a music therapy degree.

Music education students start field experience in their first year.


The Bachman Fine Arts Center has facilities for rehearsal and practice, 50 grand and upright pianos, 22 practice rooms, and 16 music studios.

Perfect your musical skills and make memories that last a lifetime.



Karen Black, D.M., Kantorei, Handbell Choir
Scott Muntefering, D.M.A., Brass Choir, Trumpet Choir
Lee Nelson, D.M.A., Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor, conducting
Rebecca Nederhiser, D.M.A., Wartburg Community Symphony, Kammerstreicher
Luke Sanders, Knightliters Jazz Band
Lia Snead, D.M.A., Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, conducting
Nicki Toliver, D.M.A., Castle Singers and St. Elizabeth Chorale

Music History/Music Theory/Musicology
Karen Black, D.M., church music, theory
Molly Doran, Ph.D., musicology
Rebecca Nederhiser, D.M.A., music theory
Suzanne Torkelson, D.M.A., listening to music, form and analysis
Eric Wachmann, D.M.A., music theory

Music Education/Music Therapy
Barbara Ashton, M.M., director of music therapy
Kyle Fleming, M.M.T., music therapy clinical coordinator
Scott Muntefering, D.M.A., music education, orchestration, arranging
Nicki Toliver, D.M.A., music education, voice methods

Ryan Frost, D.M.A., percussion
Josh Hakanson, M.M., percussion
Andrew Harris, D.M.A., horn
Caleb Lambert, D.M.A., low brass
Scott Muntefering, D.M.A., trumpet

Diane Beane, M. M., piano
Karen Black, D.M., organ
Laurie Braaten-Reuter, M. M., piano
Molly Doran, Ph.D., piano
Ted Reuter, D.M.A., piano
Harrison Sheckler, M.M., piano
Suzanne Torkelson, D.M.A., piano, piano pedagogy, collaborative piano

Gabriel Forero, D.M.A., violin, viola
Lauren Jensen, M.A.T., bass
Liudmila Lebedeva, M.M., cello
Luke Sanders, M.M., guitar

Katherine Beane, M.M., voice
Dan Gast, M.M., voice
Rosemary Gast, M.M., voice
Kylie Gougler, D.M.A., voice
Jennifer Larson, D.M.A., voice, voice pedagogy, diction (English, Italian, and French)
Scott Larson, M.M., voice
Brian Pfaltzgraff, D.M.A., voice, diction (German), opera workshop, voice literature
Carita Pfaltzgraff, M.M., voice

Christopher Anderson, D.M.A., saxophone
Dominique Cawley, M.M., flute
Nathan Landes, Ph.D., oboe/bassoon
Rebecca Nederhiser, D.M.A., oboe
Eric Wachmann, D.M.A., clarinet

Carrie Church, office coordinator
Sarah Bouska, music tours, camps, and promotions manager
Brian Pfaltzgraff, D.M.A., department chair

Emeriti Faculty
Jean M. Abramson, A.M.D.
Jane Andrews, D.M.A.
Craig Hancock, D.M.A.
Ted Reuter, D.M.A.
Paul A. Torkelson, D.M.A.
Franklin E. Williams