at a glance

Major icon MAJOR Minor icon MINOR

At Ave Maria University, you will kindle what St. John Paul II called “the divine spark which is the artistic vocation” (Letter to Artists 3). In addition to core classes in piano, aural skills and conducting, you have the opportunity to further pursue your interests in composition, voice, piano or organ. You will leave AMU equipped to share truth and faith to all people through the beauty of music.

Careers: Composer, arranger, director, music minister


By teaching music as a liberal art, the department appeals to an ancient tradition that places music among the most important disciplines for forming the intellect. To this end, our program pursues the acquisition of practical skills along with a rigorous intellectual formation in musical thought.

light bulbFast Fact: AMU choirs regularly perform in the gorgeous Ave Maria parish church across the boulevard from the university. It features a 4-manual organ, spacious choir loft, and impeccable acoustics.

music program composing on piano

Skills you will gain with


  1. Performance. Our facilities have marvelous acoustics, offering a unique setting to grow as a vocal or instrumental musician.
  2. Theory. Whether or not you focus on composition, a working knowledge of music theory develops your ear for sound and strengthens your performing ability.
  3. History. With a solid foundation in the traditions of Sacred and secular music, you can carry on those traditions with a style uniquely your own.


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A look into the

Music Department

Mission Statement
Students completing the Major in Music will achieve a level of competency in the areas of applied music, music theory, and music history and culture. By means of individual and ensemble instruction, students will achieve performance experience and repertoire exposure commensurate with the Bachelor of Arts framework. Students will demonstrate a foundational grasp of the elements, structures, and theoretical frameworks of classical music, along with practical training in the aural and performative aspects of musical phenomena. Every student will succeed in demonstrating knowledge of the development of musical style and its contemporaneous intersection with the broader currents of culture, society, philosophy, and religion through history and current times.

Live performances of great music have been available to our students on campus, as well as in Naples and Fort Myers.  On-campus guest performers have included:

  • Vivian Choi, Instructor at Concordia Conservatory
  • Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki, Baritone, Dean of the FGCU School of Music
  • Dr. Camille Ortiz, Coloratura Soprano
  • Duo Lana, Dr. Svetlana and daughter Milana Strezeva, Russian-American Soprano and Pianist
  • Students have numerous opportunities to further their studies in music and performance skills in masterclasses with great musicians on the AMU campus.
    Past guest instructors:


  • Dr. Jeanie Darnell, Voice Area Coordinator, FGCU
  • Steffanie Pearce, Artistic Director, Gulfshore Opera, FL
  • Dr. Svetlana and daughter Milana Strezeva, Russian-American Soprano and Pianist
  • Dr. Camille Ortiz, Coloratura Soprano
  • Dr. Zachery Morris, Lyric Tenor


  • Dr. Michael Baron, International Pianist, Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers, FL


  • Sebastian Modarelli, Organist and Composer

Composition & Music Technology

  • Dr. Jason Bahr, Composer, FGCU
    Null-state, Benjamin D. Whiting & Melody Chua, Composer and Flutist

Choral & Conducting

  • Maestro Raffaele Ponti, Music Director, Florida Diocese of Venice


  • MUSC 104 Music Theory I
  • MUSC 105 Music Theory II
  • MUSC 106 Aural Skills I
  • MUSC 107 Aural Skills II
  • MUSC 108 Class Piano I
  • MUSC 109 Class Piano II
  • MUSC 111-114 Applied Voice, Organ, Piano, or Composition (8 credits required)
  • MUSC 204 Music Theory III
  • MUSC 206 Aural Skills III
  • MUSC 208 Class Piano III
  • MUSC 312 Survey of Western Music History
  • MUSC 430 Conducting I
  • MUSC 431 Conducting II
  • MUSC 440 Senior Recital or MUSC 441 Senior Project or MUSC 443 Senior Internship
  • 8 credits of Choir (MUSC 200, MUSC 101M/W). Placement by audition. Note that access to subsidized applied music fees for majors and minors for a given semester requires participation in a mixed ensemble as determined by the department.
  • 2 credits of Chamber Choir (MUSC 410/411)

Please note: On rare occasions, majors with a strong musical foundation may wish to attempt a test out exam for a course.  These exams are offered in Music Theory, Aural Skills, and Class Piano courses.


  • Recital Attendance
  • Studio Classes



Pianist, Vocal and Diction Coach, Isabelle Aubin recently relocated to South West Florida from Rochester, New York where she held positions with Rochester Lyric Opera, Buffalo State College, Nazareth College of Rochester, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Genesee Valley and Orchestra Chorus.

Recently, Isabelle joined the faculty at Ave Maria University where she is staff pianist and vocal coach.

Ms. Aubin has also worked in Italy for Centro Studi Italiano, Sessione Senese per la musica e l’arte, Festival di musica da camera, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, the Chœur Symphonique de Saguenay Lac St Jean, Camp Musical du lac St Jean and the College d’Alma, in Canada. Isabelle has prepared and performed full opera productions for Société d’arts Lyriques du Royaume, Opéra Plume, Universitié du Québec, Camp Musical du Lac St-Jean, Festival di musica da camera and Rochester Lyric Opera.

Ms. Aubin received her B.M., from the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec; M.M. in piano performance from Montreal University; and teaching certificate from the University of Quebec, with continued studies in coaching and collaborative piano at the Mozarteum of Salzburg, American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Song Fest, Sessione Senese and Banff Centre.



Alexandra Carlson has performed solo and chamber works throughout Europe, Russia, and the USA. She won prizes at the London International Piano Competition, the Valentino Bucci International Competition, the Maria Yudina International Piano Competition, and the Hopes, Talents, Master Competition. The New Horizons Project awarded her a fellowship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Carlson’s festival performances include the Atlantic Music Festival, the US-Russia Education Bridge Project Festival, and the Baltic International Piano Duo Festival. As a soloist, she has performed with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, the 5th Avenue Chamber Orchestra and the Junger Künstler Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. Dr. Carlson earned her Master of Piano Performance, and Doctorate of Musical Arts, cum laude, from the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. Recently, she made her conducting debut with Classic Chamber Concerts. An adjunct professor of music at Ave Maria University, Dr. Carlson lives in Naples, FL. For more information please visit 


M.M Piano Performance, State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, St. Petersburg, Russia; D.M. (Chamber Ensemble), State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory




Education: B.A., Music, Ave Maria University; M.M., Music Performance, University of North Florida



Dr. Ferranti is an accomplished vocal pedagogue, singer, pianist, and conductor. He formerly served as a tenured Associate Professor of Music at Cedarville University in Ohio. A versatile musician, he has sung leading tenor roles in opera and music theater, has served as a minister of music in several churches, and maintains a private voice studio in Naples, Fl. His teachers have included several international authorities in the field of voice and voice science, including Dr. Stephen Austin, Dr. Ingo Titze, Professor Oren Brown, and Cornelius L. Reid. Dr. Ferranit’s research interests center on historical vocal pedagogy, especially how ancient pedagogical practice may be used to foster 21st-century results in the singing voice. At AMU he teaches Private Voice Lessons, Aural Skills I-IV, and conducts the AMU Choir.

Education: Vocal Performance, Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam; M.Mus. in Vocal Performance, Boston Conservatory; D.M.A. Vocal Performance & Voice Science, Louisiana State University; Certificate of Vocology, National Center for Voice and Speech

Office: Canizaro Library 251
Phone: (239) 280-1592



Dr. Gerlach received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Organ Performance from Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, respectively.  He was also awarded the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. He completed his doctorate in Choral Conducting from Indiana University. Dr. Gerlach is also Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Naples and Assistant Director of the Artis—Naples Choruses.

Education: B.M., Organ Performance, Eastman School of Music; M. Mus., Organ Performance, Indiana University; Ph.D., Choral Conducting, Indiana University



Education: B.M., Music Education, University of South Carolina; M.M., Music Education, University of South Carolina
Office: Canizaro Library 250
(239) 304-7919



Composer/Pianist Seunghee Lee holds Ph.D. and M.F.A. degrees from Brandeis University, M.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and B.M. from Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea.  Lee serves as Assistant Professor of Music teaches Tonal and Advanced Music Theory, Class Piano, Music Composition and Piano lessons. Performances of her compositions have taken place at notable venues in Germany, Finland, Italy, South Korea and across the United States by Ensemble Uusinta, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, McCormick Percussion Group, Ensemble Strings, and Hammers, among others. Lee has received artist residencies and a fellowship from Atlantic Center for the Arts and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, ASCAP Fellow Scholarship from Composers Conference at Wellesley College, and recently won 2017 International Alliance for Women in Music Annual Concert Competition.

Education: B.M., Music Composition, Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, Korea; M.M., Music Composition, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.F.A., Music Composition and Theory, Brandeis University; Ph.D., Music Composition and Theory, Brandeis University

Office: Canizaro Library 252
(239) 280-1588

Admittance into the Department of Music involves a 2-step process of being officially accepted to the university by Enrollment and acceptance into the Music Program. Acceptance into the Music Program is dependent upon the successful completion of an audition in piano, organ, voice, or composition. On-site auditions are highly recommended and should be scheduled through the Music Department in addition to scheduling a campus visit through Admissions.

Music Admissions Timeline Graphic

Phase 1: Application
The end of July opens up the new academic year’s application for admission to the university. When asked to share your intended major while filling out the application, fill in Music. Your next steps will be to send your official transcripts to the admissions office. An admissions counselor will be in close-contact with you along the way. Be sure to let them know you are interested in studying music. You also will send official SAT and/or ACT score reports to the admissions office. Remember, increasing your test score will increase your Academic Merit Award!
Q: Can I submit materials that are not required for admissions? A: YES! You can submit letters of recommendation, portfolios of compositional works, records of performances, awards or accolades, and links to recorded material. It is best to share this with the admissions office as well as with the music faculty.

Phase 2: Auditions & Awards
Auditions begin in the month of December and continue through the end of the Spring semester.  Face-to-face auditions on AMU’s campus are recommended and preferred, but online interviews and videos are also acceptable.  We highly recommend submitting audition material as soon as possible for primary award consideration.  Results of live auditions can be expected within 7-10 business days whereas online audition results may take longer.  Notification of full acceptance to AMU’s program with an initial award offer will be communicated to the student by email.

Phase 3: Finalization & Enrollment
We encourage students to continue to grow their interest in AMU by coming to visit.  It is best to come for an Ave Experience or at the time the Music Department is performing concerts and recitals.  We also highly encourage prospective students to stay with a current undergrad music student as a host on their campus visit.  Take advantage of the Admissions Office’s Early Deposit Grants if you have made your decision to enroll.  Enrolled students will receive communication from the faculty and the Registrar staff regarding class schedules, pre-registration, and orientation.

The Department of Music accepts Music Major students in piano, voice, organ, and composition.
Admission to the music degree program is dependent upon the successful completion of:

  • An audition performance in piano, voice, or organ
  • Diagnostic evaluations in sight reading
  • An interview with music faculty

The Department of Music also accept Music Minor students by the same audition criteria. Auditions for prospective music minors normally take place just prior to the start of the semester in which the student intends to begin the coursework for the minor, though students may audition at an earlier date.
Successful auditions will demonstrate technical and musical maturity, and the potential for advanced study in music.
Auditions may be performed on-site during a campus visit or recorded and submitted online via an emailed YouTube video. On-site auditions are highly recommended. Campus visits for auditions should be scheduled through the Admissions Office.
Please be sure to contact and coordinate your campus visit and audition schedule with the department faculty before making travel arrangements.

Composition Track Audition
If a student wants to audition for composition track, either as a freshmen or as a transfer, a portfolio of 2-3 most recent pieces is required. Audio or video recordings are optional but highly recommended. MIDI recordings will also be accepted. Any styles of music are accepted, however, students must acknowledge that they will be learning tonal and atonal composition of classical music tradition while at AMU. Students are expected to keep up with at least one musical instrument or voice skill and can take lessons (piano/organ/voice) at AMU upon each instructor’s approval. If a student does not have adequate experience for an audition in an instrument or voice, or AMU does not offer an instrumental lesson of the student’s strongest experience (i.e. brass, strings, woodwind, etc.), there will be a further discussion between the student and faculty members to find the best solution.

Eligibility for Audition
All students who audition should be seniors in high school, or otherwise prepared to enter the university in the fall following the audition. Exceptions to eligibility requirements are made only with the permission of the Department of Music.
Piano: At least four years of piano lessons are required to be eligible to audition, with at least one year immediately prior to the audition.
Voice: At least one year of lessons prior to the audition is required for eligibility.
Organ: At least one year of lessons prior to the audition, along with sufficient background on the piano, is required for eligibility. Additional years of lessons on the organ, rather than piano background, may also satisfy the eligibility requirement.
Composition: Existing knowledge of Music Theory (e.g. from AP Music Theory) as well as a current portfolio of 2-3 recent compositions is required.
Students who do not have the required music lesson experience are still encouraged to contact the music faculty on a case by case basis.

Making Audition Arrangements
The deadline for which an audition form must be submitted is two weeks prior to the intended day of audition.
When auditioning on-site, PDFs of any piano accompaniment parts must be emailed to the department faculty at least one week prior to the intended date of audition.
If auditioning on-site, arrange your Campus Visit with Admissions and ensure your on-campus arrangements (we recommend being hosted by a current music student).
We recommend submitting online auditions via YouTube. Create a private YouTube channel and share access to the channel where your audition videos are posted with the department faculty. If a recorded audition is the only means by which a candidate can complete an audition, preference is given to video recordings over audio recordings. We strongly recommend students make a high quality video recording for audition submissions.

Perform your Audition
The audition consists of the audition performance, sight singing, and an interview with the department faculty. You will have approximately 10-12 minutes to perform your audition pieces.
Vocalists must perform their audition from memory. A faculty accompanist is provided for on-site vocal auditions.
Pianists must perform their audition from memory.
Organists need not perform from memory.

Choral Scholarship Audition
Incoming students and current students who are Music Minors or non-majors may complete an audition for a Choral Scholarship while on campus. Online auditions for the Choral Scholarship are only approved on a case by case basis.
To schedule a choral scholarship audition, please complete the Audition Application form and the Campus Visit form (if not a current AMU student).
The audition consists of performing a prepared piece, sight reading, and vocalizes (demonstrated by the faculty). The prepared piece can be anything you choose: a solo piece, your part of a studied choral work, etc. Contact Dr. Ferranti and Dr. Gerlach for more info.

Marching Band Audition
Students interested in joining the extracurricular marching band, jazz, and concert programs should prepare 2-octave chromatic scales, an excerpt of choice as well as prepared material found at the link below. Auditions may be scheduled in person, or via video submission.

In addition, students should submit a band recruiting survey found at the link: Front Rush

Music Major Scholarships
The Department of Music is pleased to offer competitive Music Major Scholarships to incoming students majoring in music. Awards are made to those students who qualify via their audition performance and sight reading ability. Rather than having an awarding deadline, the Music Major Scholarships are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. It is highly recommended that you submit your audition for scholarship consideration as soon as your acceptance to the university has been received. Priority consideration is given to on-campus auditions.
Most scholarship awards are renewable for up to four years, and are made in addition to any other institutional scholarship awards a student may receive. Please see the Music Admissions, Audition Overview, and Audition Repertoire Requirements pages for more information.

Choral Scholarships
The Department of Music has an active choral program that is becoming recognized throughout Southwest Florida for its dynamic performances. We are pleased to offer Choral Scholarships to incoming students and current students who are Music Minors or non-majors. The scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate strong vocal and sight reading skills, and have earned a minimum ACT score of 23 or SAT 1130 and maintain good academic standing during their undergraduate studies. Students holding a choral scholarship maintain membership in an AMU mixed choral ensemble each semester. The Camerata di Ave Maria is not an eligible ensemble for the Choral Scholarship since it is extracurricular.
Choral scholarships are renewable for up to four years, and are made in addition to other institutional scholarships a student may receive. On-campus auditions for the Choral Scholarship preferred but online auditions may be approved case-by-case. Please refer to the Audition Overview page for more information.

Band Scholarships
The Music Department is now offering competitive scholarship to build up the expansion of the wind program consisting of participants in the Ave Marching Band. Scholarships are available for incoming students based on their experience in their respective high school band and marching band programs including color guard. Committed students to the Ave Marching Band are eligible for scholarship renewal for each season of participation and are in addition to any other institutional scholarship awards a student may receive. Auditions for this ensemble are not required. All majors are welcome.


Students should prepare 2-3 pieces of contrasting style and tempo from the classical repertoire. While a student may include one song from Musical Theater or Broadway, Pop/Jazz/Contemporary songs are unacceptable.
Repertoire should include pieces from the following, with at least one selection from a foreign language, and must be performed from memory:

  • Italian art song or aria
  • German lied
  • French mélodie
  • American art song

Students should prepare 2-3 pieces of contrasting styles that best represent the applicant’s abilities on the piano. Pieces from the Jazz and Ragtime repertoire may be accepted but are not recommended.
Repertoire of the following styles are preferred and recommended:

  • Movement from a classical sonata (Clementi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)
  • Polyphony (J. S. Bach)
  • Selection from the Romantic era

Students should prepare 2 pieces from their performance repertoire as well as a few verses of a hymn tune.
Repertoire should include the following:

  • One work from J. S. Bach
  • One piece composed after 1800 in a contrasting style


Students should prepare a portfolio of 2-3 recently composed pieces. Any styles of music are acceptable. Since students are expected to keep up with lessons for at least one instrument in concurrence with Composition lessons, students should expect to audition for one of the other concentrations listed above. For more specific guidelines, please contact Dr. Lee.


Piano:  At least four years of piano lessons are required to be eligible to audition, with at least one year immediately prior to the audition.

Voice: At least one year of lessons prior to the audition is required for eligibility.

Organ: At least one year of lessons prior to the audition, along with sufficient background on the piano, is required for eligibility.  Additional years of lessons on the organ, rather than piano background, may also satisfy the eligibility requirement.

All auditioners should be seniors in high school, or otherwise prepared to enter the university in the fall following the audition.  Exceptions to eligibility requirements are made only with the permission of the Department of Music.


All audition pieces must be from the classical repertoire. Broadway and popular styles are not acceptable. Students may perform 2 – 3 works, which should show contrast in musical style and tempo. Repertoire should include at least TWO of the following and must be performed from memory:

  • Italian Art song or aria
  • German lied
  • French melodie
  • American art song

In order to secure an accompanist (provided free of charge for all vocal auditions), please send a PDF of your music at least one week in advance or send a hard copy at least two weeks in advance to the Music Department.

By Email: PDFs may be emailed to the departmental assistant, Katia Rezende ( Please include your full name and date of audition in the subject of the email.


Drop off: Accompanist parts may be dropped off M-F between 9am-5pm at the Ave Maria University campus, on the second floor of the Canizarro Library


By Mail: C/O Katia Rezende Ave Maria University 5050 Ave Maria Blvd Ave Maria, FL 34142

  • Vocalists must perform from memory. An accompanist is provided for vocal auditions.
  • Pianists are very strongly encouraged to perform from memory.
  • Organists need not perform from memory.

"*" indicates required fields

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Please indicate what instrument(s) you plan to audition with*

Please list the title and composer for the work(s) you will perform in your audition

Development of skills and musicianship through the study of compositional technique and literature.

Development of skills and musicianship through the study of vocal technique and literature.

Development of skills and musicianship through the study of piano technique and literature.

Development of skills and musicianship through the study of organ technique and literature. Includes instruction in hymn playing and accompaniment.

O’Bryan Performance Hall
The new and spacious O’Bryan Performance Hall, which is located in the Thomas and Selby Prince Building, seats a 400-person audience and has a state of the art audio visual system. The hall is ideal for larger choral performances, staged scenes and operettas, as well as Senior Recitals.

Ave Maria Parish Catholic Church
The choirs of Ave Maria University enjoy the opportunity to perform in one of America’s most unique pieces of ecclesiastical architecture – the soaring arches of the Ave Maria Catholic Church. Located just across Ave Maria Boulevard from the university, its 4-manual organ, spacious choir loft, and impeccable acoustics make this AMU’s most treasured venue.

Private Dining Room
Located on the first floor of the Bob Thomas Student Union, this open room’s fine acoustics make it an ideal place for rehearsals, lessons, and smaller performances.  The PDR has historically been used for Senior Recitals, master classes, and small concerts.

Ark Chapel
This tall and slim chapel located on the first floor of the Bob Thomas Student Union is a beautiful venue for contemplation and prayer in addition to its remarkable acoustics. The Ark Chapel has historically been used for Schola Gregoriana rehearsal.

Music Technology Lab – in development
The Music Technology Lab is an ongoing project. The lab will serve the purpose of being able to offer the Music Technology elective, which would be open to all university students to take, as well as serving as a great space for Composition lessons.

Class Piano Lab
The Class Piano Lab, located in the Music Department, is home to three full-sized, weighted keyboards, each equipped with a headphone jack for practical convenience. It serves as a perfect location for students to practice their keyboard skills as learned in Class Piano.



  • Yamaha C7
    • This piano is the principal performance instrument on campus. Yamaha considers this model the flagship of their Conservatory Concert Collection, “appearing on famous concert stages, international competitions and prestigious music events throughout the concert world.”  It serves as our primary instrument for Senior Recitals, concerts, and lessons.
  • Yamaha Grand GC1
    • This instrument is used for smaller recitals and accompaniment for choral and vocal concerts.
  • Yamaha Baby Grand GH1
    • This instrument is used primarily for classroom instruction, the Class Piano course, studio classes, and lessons.
  • Steinway & Sons Parlor Grand
    • This instrument, used primarily for classroom instruction, features classical Steinway construction from 1941 and ivory keys.  It was the personal instrument that AMU’s founder, Tom Monaghan, had in his home in Michigan.
  • Yamaha Baby Grand GH1 – Practice Room 5
  • Mason & Hamlin Model B Grand – Practice Room 4
  • Yamaha Studio T118 PE – Practice Room 3
  • Yamaha Console P2 – Practice Room 2
  • Keyboards


  • Marshall & Ogletree
    • Opus 5
      • 65 Engraved Stops plus 98 Alternate Stops, 48 Audio Channels
      • Inaugurated on the Feast of the Annunciation, 2009, at Ave Maria Catholic Church, the Opus 5 Marshall & Ogletree four-manual organ was designed specifically for Ave Maria University’s Oratory, now the parish. The instrument was engineered by the best technical and organ design experts in the country. The instrument serves as both a liturgical instrument and as the principal instrument for organ instruction in the University. Its flexibility and complete versatility make it an exceptional teaching instrument. It can — without exaggeration — do anything.
        • Great
          • 16’ Sub Principal
          • 8’ Principal
          • 8’ Violone
          • 8’ Bourdon
          • 4’ Octave
          • 4’ Flute
          • 2’ Fifteenth
          • 1-1/3’ Fourniture IV
          • 16’ Sub Trumpet
          • 8’ Tromba
          • Alternate Stops:
          • 16’ Bourdon
          • 8%

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