The Department of Music provides a course of study in music within the liberal arts framework. 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. The curriculum serves this end by focusing on three principal areas of musical discipline: applied music study (lessons on the major instrument or voice), music theory, and music history. The first three years of the major focus on these three areas of competency. In the third and fourth years of study, students begin to branch out into their areas of interest or specialization.

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; achieve performance experience and repertoire exposure commensurate with the bachelor of arts framework by means of individual and ensemble instruction. They will also be able to 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; and demonstrate knowledge of the development of musical style and its contemporaneous intersection with the broader currents of culture, society, philosophy, and religion.

For audition information, please see the links on the bottom of this page.

Contact the Music Department

Diane Butler

Departmental Assistant
Ave Maria University
Department of Music
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142
Phone: (239) 280-2485

Explore the Music Program

Welcome to Music at Ave Maria University! Our department features a major and a minor in music, as well as opportunities for students of any major to join us in making music. We are pleased to offer music scholarships for music majors and a special choral scholarship for non-majors. We cordially invite you to complete your audition with us.

This year our students will be inspired and challenged by their work in many solo, ensemble, and scholarly contexts. Let your voice be heard in the AMU Choir or the Gregorian Chant Scholæ! Opportunities for individual growth include master classes and recital performances, and interaction with music scholars and active professionals in the field. Members of our Senior class will be preparing their Senior recitals, as well as preparing to attend graduate schools or to assume leadership positions in communities, churches, and schools. It is an exciting time to be a part of music at AMU!

Please use the side navigation bar to find important information about the next steps toward joining us a student musician. We would be very happy to meet you!

  • Music scholarships are available for Music Majors and Minors
  • Choral scholarships are available for non-Music Majors.
  • Let your voice be heard in one of our university vocal ensembles:
    • AMU Choir
    • AMU Chamber Choir
    • Men’s Schola Gregoriana
    • Women’s Schola Gregoriana
  • Students have participated in masterclasses with great musicians on the AMU campus.
    • Franc D’Ambrosio – Longest-running Phantom on Broadway
    • Laughing Bird vocal quartet
  • Students have access to live performances of great music on campus, as well as in Naples and Fort Myers.

In addition to the core curriculum, music majors take the following courses

MUSC 104A Elementary Music Theory I

MUSC 104B Elementary Music Theory II

MUSC 105A Elementary Musicianship I

MUSC 105B Elementary Musicianship II

MUSC 111-113 Applied Voice, Organ or Piano

MUSC 204A Intermediate Music Theory I

MUSC 204B Intermediate Music Theory II

MUSC 205A Intermediate Musicianship I

MUSC 205B Intermediate Musicianship II

MUSC 312A Survey of Western Music History I

MUSC 312B Survey of Western Music History II

MUSC 430 Choral Conducting

  • Some students have sung in the chorus of Opera Naples.
  • Several students have served as paid core singers of the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida (Fort Myers).
  • Student organists have gained valuable experience playing for Sunday Masses at The Oratory. One of our current organ students has just been hired as Director of Music at Saint Raphael Catholic Church, Lehigh Acres.
  • Students graduating with the B.A. in Music have a number of vocational possibilities upon graduation:
    • Director of Music at a parish
    • Director of Music at a seminary
    • Graduate studies in performance, music education, musicology, music therapy, music theory & composition, and other areas of music
    • Music teacher in a private or Catholic school
    • Private teacher of piano, organ, or voice

Helen Tintes-Schuermann, D.M.

Chair of the Music Department

Education: B.A/B.S. (Fine Arts/Music Education): Moorhead State Univ., MN MM (Voice and Opera Performance), University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, MN) DM (Voice Performance), Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
Masters in Lied and Oratorio (Hochschule “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria) Opera Diploma (Escuela Superior de Canto, Madrid, Spain)
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Susan Treacy, Ph.D.

Professor of Music

Education: B.Mus., Oberlin College Conservatory of Music; M.Mus., Manhattan School of Music; Ph.D., University of North Texas.
Office: Canizaro Library 254
Phone: 239-280-1668
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Seunghee Lee, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Education: Ph.D., M.F.A., Music Composition and Theory, Brandeis University
M.M., Music Composition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.M., Music Composition, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Taylor Ferranti, D.M.A.

Visiting Associate Professor of Music

Education: B. Mus., Voice Performance, Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam; M. Mus., Voice Performance, Boston Conservatory; D. Mus., Voice Performance/Voice Science, Louisiana State University
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Brice Gerlach, D.M.A.

Adjunct Professor – Organ

Education: B. Mus., Eastman School of Music, M. Mus., Indiana University, D. Mus., Indiana University
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Alexandra Carlson,

Adjunct Professor of Music

Education:D.M.A., Chamber Ensemble, State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, M.Mus., Piano Performance,
State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory

Elizabeth Gotlund, 2010 (organ & sacred music), went on to graduate school at the University of Iowa, where she has now received her M.Mus. and D.M.A. in organ performance. She is currently organist at Saint Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Iowa City, IA, and also at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Riverside, IA.

Meaghan King, 2009 (organ & sacred music), received her M.Mus. in Sacred Music & Organ Performance from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, and is currently a D.M.A. candidate in Organ Studies at the University of Southern California.

Jensine Caranto, 2014 (voice & sacred music), is currently studying for the M.Mus. in Voice Performance at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas, Austin.

Rich Dittus, 2008 (piano & sacred music), is Director of Music at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Palm Coast, Florida.

Paul Dittus, 2014, (voice), is Director of Music at Saint Anne Catholic church, Gilbert, Arizona.

Teresa Asper, 2011 (organ & sacred music), is Music Program Director at Holy Family Academy, Manassas, Virginia.

The Marshall-Ogletree Organ

Inaugurated on the Feast of the Annunciation, 2009, the Opus 5 Marshall & Ogletree four-manual organ was designed specifically for Ave Maria University’s Oratory. 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.

For more information on this instrument, click here


Colleen smiling headerIMG_0711The music department possesses several fine instruments for instruction and performance, including three brand-new Yamaha pianos. The principal performance instrument is a Yamaha C7. 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.”

The Ave Maria Oratory

Oratory edited
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 Oratory.

Choral Performances

Student Performances

Are there scholarship opportunities?

Yes! Ave Maria University offers a variety of scholarship opportunities, including a very competitive Academic Scholarship based on GPA and standardized test scores, as well as merit-based Music Major Scholarships.  AMU now offers a new Choral Scholarship as well, which is available any qualified student (non-music majors) in connection to performance in an AMU choral ensemble.

In what performance areas can students concentrate at AMU?

Students can complete the major via piano, organ, and voice.  Students take weekly lessons throughout the duration of the program.

Will an AMU music degree get me into graduate school?

The bachelor of arts degree in music is generally accepted as an appropriate credential at most graduate schools of music. Of course, no guarantees can be made by any institution that a graduate will gain entry to graduate school, or even to his chosen field of employment, but AMU music graduates have been accepted into graduate music programs including those at the University of Iowa, Westminster Choir College, Notre Dame University, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, University of Southern California, and the Butler School of Music at University of Texas at Austin .

In order to enter the music program, must I apply and audition for the music major prior to coming to AMU?

Yes.  Normally, students enter as music majors.  We do consider matriculating or transfer students, but our entry criteria are higher in those instances because the student will typically have less time to complete the major.

How can students not majoring in music participate in music at AMU?

The music department offers several courses that are open to non-music students, including: choral ensembles; chamber music, which regularly includes stringed and other instruments; private lessons (piano, organ, or voice); and music theory and musicianship.   Qualified student instrumentalists frequently perform with the University choir at liturgical events on campus.  The music minor is a further option for students sufficiently proficient in piano, organ, or voice.  The Choral Scholarship is available to qualified students regardless of major, in connection to performance in an AMU choral ensemble.

What is the music minor?

The minor in music is a good option for students who love music and wish to continue to study it, but intend to major in another area.  The coursework consists of the first part of the major coursework:  first-year music theory and musicianship, music history, lessons, and ensemble.  All other music coursework is also open to minors (with prerequisites).   Most students spread the music minor coursework across three years or four years as they complete their major, but it can sometimes be completed in two years.  The credits required to complete the music minor fit within the usual 128 credits required for a degree at AMU.

Does the music department participate in liturgical musical activities?

Yes! The cultivation liturgical music tradition of the Church is an institutional commitment for the department of music at AMU.  We participate in Masses at the Ave Maria Oratory, and we frequently participate in liturgies at various parishes in the region.

What instruments are available for student practice, instruction, and performance?

Yamaha G3

Yamaha C7

Steinway Model A

Mason & Hamlin Grand

Marshall & Ogletree Organ, Opus 5 (4 manuals)

Several smaller pianos and organs for practice

How many students currently are majoring in music at AMU?

The AMU Department of Music is currently home to about 38 students.  Our program is large enough to mount major performances and engage in stimulating discussion and mutual learning from others, but small enough to ensure personal attention, an outstanding student-to-faculty ratio, and a strong community bond.

What if I have more questions? Please feel free to send any other questions to  We would be happy to hear from you!

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 who are not majoring in music.  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 equivalent.  Students holding a choral scholarship maintain membership in an AMU mixed choral ensemble each semester.

Choral scholarships are renewable for up to four years, and are made in addition to other institutional scholarships a student may receive. Auditions for the Choral Scholarship are available on-campus only.  Please see the Choral Scholarship Auditions page for information on how to audition.

University Chorus

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.  All music major auditions completed before April 30 are considered for the Music Major Scholarship. Priority consideration is given to on-campus auditions.

Music Major 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 Auditions and Major and Minor Auditions pages for more information.

General Audition Requirements for the Degree Program in Music

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

    • An audition performance in piano, voice, or organ
    • Diagnostic evaluations in written music theory, aural skills, and sight reading
    • An interview with the faculty in music

Successful auditions will demonstrate technical and musical maturity, and the potential for advanced study in music.

On-site auditions are highly recommended. Campus visits for auditions should be scheduled through the Admissions Office. If a recorded audition is the only means by which a candidate can complete an audition, preference is given to video recordings.

Eligibility to Audition

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.

Audition Repertoire Requirements

All audition pieces must be from the classical repertoire.  Broadway and popular styles are not acceptable. Students may perform 1 – 3 works, which should show contrast in musical style and tempo.

    • 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.
Audition Application
Apartment/Unit Number

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


Music Major Auditions

Please follow these steps for a smooth music major audition process:

  1. Apply.  Auditioners must submit both the Audition Application form and the general University ApplicationExternal link.  The deadline for the audition application is two weeks prior to the intended audition date. Please clear the date with the music department before making travel arrangements.
  2. Schedule your campus visit.  Fill out the Campus Visit form with Admissions to arrange your visit schedule and ensure your on-campus arrangements (for students intending to stay overnight).
  3. Complete the music diagnostic evaluations.  Links to the music theory and musicianship evaluations will be sent to you upon receipt of your Audition Application.
  4. Perform your on-campus audition.  The audition consists of the audition performance, sight reading, and an interview with the music faculty.  Please review the information on the Audition Requirements page for more details.
  5. Await admissions and scholarship decisions.  Students must be accepted by both the university and the Department of Music to pursue a degree in music.

Music Minor Auditions

Admission to the music minor is by audition only.  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.  Music minor auditions follow the same requirements and process as auditions for the major.

Auditions for the Choral Scholarship

Incoming students not intending to major in music may complete an audition for a Choral Scholarship during a campus visit.  Auditioners should have a strong vocal or choral background and good sight reading skills, and must earn a minimum ACT score of 23, or SAT equivalent.  To schedule a choral scholarship audition, please complete the Audition Application form, and the Campus Visit form.

The audition consists of:

    • Vocalises (We will demonstrate what to do.)
    • Performing a prepared piece
    • This piece can be anything you choose:  a solo piece, your part of a choral work you have studied, etc.
    • Sight reading