young men playing trombones


School of Music, Theatre, & Dance

The bachelor of arts in music at Anderson University starts with core courses to give students a strong foundation in music. Music majors then customize their study to their skills and calling by picking a concentration. The major has tracks in performance, composition, or music theory and history.

Your AU Story Begins Now

As a singer-songwriter and a touring musician, I find myself just about every day either playing a show on the road or sitting at a piano writing a song and using the skills that I learned at Anderson University. The faculty and staff in the music department were awesome and they really just equipped me with the tools that I needed to get out there in the real world and start building a career for myself. I also found AU to be a really great community of believers where I could grow in my faith and learn about the love of God.

Jon McLaughlin      CLASS OF 2005

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Program Overview


​Majoring in music at Anderson University gives students a lot of opportunities to experience their craft. Not only do they study one-on-one with faculty, they also participate in our ensembles.

  • Wind Ensemble
  • Orchestra
  • Jazz Band
  • Chorale
  • Women’s Chorus
  • Valley Voices

They develop their ability to understand written music and to write their own compositions. Students must participate in student recitals, potentially both as soloists and as part of chamber ensembles. Our students also support one another by attending recitals and other performances.


Why AU Music?

Anderson University’s music program is known around the world. Alumni perform at the La Scala opera house in Italy, the Met, Carnegie Hall, at the Academy Awards, and at other international venues.

Guest artists and artists-in-residence visit the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance each year. We have welcomed artists like:

  • Canadian Brass
  • Van Cliburn gold medal pianist Jon Nakamatsu
  • Thodos Dance Chicago and
  • Indianapolis Baroque Ensemble.

Alumni successfully pursue graduate work. They have attended:

  • Indiana University
  • St. Thomas University
  • Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and
  • Boston University, and Vanderbilt University.

Our alumni succeed as performers.

  • Lawrence Brownlee
  • Sandi Patty
  • Bill and Gloria Gaither
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Jon McLaughlin



Complete the 50-hour undergraduate major at AU’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Complementary Major

Students who would like to pair their passion for music with their other skills and calling may choose the complementary major. This streamlined course of study  must be paired with another major on campus and lets students customize their studies to meet their career and calling goals.

Among the classes in the 33-hour complementary major are:

  • music theory
  • music literature
  • world music
  • entrepreneurship
  • private lessons and ensembles

View the complete list of courses for the complementary major.

  • Music (18 hours): The music minor includes music theory, aural comprehension, and music literature. Students also complete 4 hours of piano, 2 hours of applied study, and 2 hours of music ensembles.
  • Music Performance
    • Majoring in Music Business(15-16 hours): To ensure adequate performance level, students must audition on their primary instrument to be admitted into this program. Courses include applied study, introduction to conducting, and specialized courses for singers, pianists, and instrumentalists.
    • Not Majoring in Music (18 hours): To ensure adequate performance level, students must audition on their primary instrument to be admitted into this program. Courses include music theory, aural comprehension, piano, and private study.
Piano and Composition Camp

Learn more about AU’s Piano and Composition Camp.



Among the classes in the 50-hour major are:

  • Theory
  • History
  • Music Literature
  • World Music
  • Private lessons and ensembles

View the complete curriculum for the music major.



Music majors find their place in a variety of careers based on the track they choose. Our graduates have also found success as professional performers in a variety of genres. Some work as composers or in music publishing. Others have continued their education in graduate school, where they have studied music history or theory as they prepare for teaching at the college level.


Let’s connect during your campus visit.

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  • School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Caroline Ahn wearing blue

Dr. Caroline KyungA Ahn

Artist in Residence and Assistant Professor of Music

Caroline Ahn wearing blue
Dr. Caroline KyungA Ahn

Embracing a wide spectrum of musical styles, Dr. Ahn writes music inspired by the natural world.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Caroline KyungA Ahn holds degrees from Yonsei University, Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. Her compositions include orchestral, chamber, and theatrical works that have been widely performed in South Korea, the United States, Europe, and South America. Dr. Ahn currently works as an Assistant Professor and Artist in Residence at Anderson University. She also serves as a chair for Opus Composition Festival and a chair of Commissioned Composer program at IMTA and also serves as a president of the non-profit community serving group Sound of Hope.

Winner of 2018 Christine Clark/ Theodore Front Prize of IAWM (International Alliance for Women in Music), her achievements include being chosen ISCM New Music Days, the Excellence in Composition prize at the IBCF (International Brass Chamber Music Festival, KY) and a finalist for the Respighi Composition Competitions of 2014 season. Caroline was also selected as one of the finalists of Sioux Symphony Orchestra as ‘Composer of the Year’ in 2014. Caroline won the Donghak Civil War theme song competition in Korea in the same year. Commissions include by Anderson Symphony Orchestra, Kaeum String Orchestra, ‘The 3Beats’ trio, Carmel City (IN) to write the opening and finale music of Carmel Festival (IN) in July 2012, New York Classical Players, Inspirare Trio, IKTUS Percussion Quartet, ISO Player group, IMTA Commissioned Composer of the year of 2015, Indiana State Contemporary Music Festival, Cramped Spaces, Mirus Trio and many more.

Learn more about her commissions and awards on her professional website.

Contact Dr. Ahn:
D.M., Indiana University
M.M. and M.A., Eastman School of Music
B.M. Yonsei University
Artist in Residence and Assistant Professor of Music

Joani Brandon

Dr. Joani Brandon

Professor of Music Education; Women's Chorus

Joani Brandon
Dr. Joani Brandon

Dr. Joani Somppi Brandon serves as a professor of music, teaching music education general/choral methods and Women’s Chorus. Joani is the former director of the Anderson Area Children’s Choir Chorale (1999-2011). The nine years prior, Joani taught music at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Indiana. She previously served as a middle school choral director for three years in Wilmington, Ohio where she received the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year award and was in top ten first-year teachers in the state of Ohio.

Joani completed her bachelor of arts degree in music education and piano performance, with honors in music and education, from Anderson University in 1987. In 1995, she completed her master’s of music education from Butler University where she studied conducting and children’s choir methods with Henry Leck, director emeritus of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Joani has also studied conducting with at the Choral Music Institute with Doreen Rao and Barbara Tagg. Joani has Kodaly Certification from the Hartt School, University of Hartford (Connecticut), Orff Schulwerk Certification, and Dalcroze training from Anderson University, where she also serves as the program director for the Summer Studies in Music Education program featuring Orff Schulwerk, Feierabend, and Dalcroze summer courses.

She completed her doctor of musical arts degree in 2013 from Boston University, and her research interests include teacher training in elementary music education methodologies. She has worked with all ages of singers from early elementary to adults and is a frequent clinician and guest conductor. Joani is a member of the national and state chapters of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and is past repertoire chair of the Elementary and Middle School Divisions for the Indiana School Music Association. She is a former national president of the Feierabend Association for Music Education. She is actively involved in church music at Park Place Church of God, where she serves as Sanctuary Choir director. Joani is married to Chris Luekenga, AU Dean of Students, and has two grown sons: Jonathon and James.

Joani Brandon has been at Anderson University since 1999.

B.A., Anderson University
M.M., Butler University
D.M.A., Boston University

Jonathan Brooks

Dr. Jonathan Brooks

Professor of Music

Jonathan Brooks
Dr. Jonathan Brooks

Jonathan Brooks completed his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas in music theory. His dissertation, entitled “Imagined Sounds: Their Role in the Strict and Free Compositional Practice of Anton Bruckner,” investigates the degree to which Bruckner’s harmonic-counterpoint teachings affected his compositional output. Prior to coming to Anderson University, Jonathan was a Lecturer of Music Theory at Baylor University for the 2000-01 academic year where he taught classes in form and analysis, traditional harmony, and twentieth-century analysis and ear-training.
Jonathan’s research interests include the history of music theory, and the analysis of harmonic and contrapuntal elements in Late Romantic and Early Twentieth-Century Viennese music. Jonathan presented several papers on turn of the century Viennese harmony and compositional theory for the Texas Society of Music Theory. More recently, he has focused research on popular music of the sixties and tracing the origins of their harmonic-contrapuntal structures in earlier popular and classical music.
In addition to his work in music theory, Jonathan is an active composer who focuses on piano, song and choral writing. In addition, he has taught private lessons since arriving at Anderson University with several students going on to complete master’s and doctorate degrees. Over the last year, Jonathan has worked with the Just Press Play Academy in Anderson teaching music theory and piano skills to children between the ages of 8 and 11.

Courses taught at Anderson University: Theory, Aural Comprehension, Choral Arranging, Counterpoint, Private Composition Lessons

Jonathan Brooks has been at Anderson University since 2001.

Contact Jonathan:
Associate Professor of Music
Professor of Music
Theory, composition
B.A., Erskine College
M.M., Indiana University
Ph.D., University of North Texas

Dr. Rebecca Chappell

Professor of Music; Director of Music Business Studies

Dr. Rebecca Chappell

Dr. Rebecca Chappell is Director of Music Business Studies at Anderson University and teaches clarinet and saxophone.  She is founder and Director of Orangehaus Records, Orangehaus Publishing, and Orangehaus Music Business Camp, a summer music business experience for high school students. She served on the Board of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA) from 1999-2009, including President of the organization from 2003-2007, and was the first educator to receive the "Music Business Educators Award” from EMI Music Group. Chappell currently serves on the Board of Legendary Road, a music company that promotes independent artists through a national restaurant chain.

Chappell has performed as a woodwind soloist throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, including a performance for the Prime Minister of Israel. Professional orchestral performances include the Indianapolis Symphony, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and tours with "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" and Pavarotti. As an active studio musician, Chappell has recorded for noted clients such as John Williams, Hall Leonard, MGM Studios, and Dr. Seuss Enterprises. She is also a member of IndyKlez, an Indianapolis-based professional world music group. In addition, Chappell currently serves as an adjudicator for Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA), Indiana Music Teachers Association (IMTA), and Regional and State Contests for the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA).

Becky Chappell has served at Anderson University since 1993.

Contact Becky:
Director of Music Business Studies;
Professor of Music
Woodwinds, music business
B.A., Anderson University
M.M., Oklahoma State University
D.A., Ball State University

David Coolidge

David Coolidge

Associate Professor of Musical Theatre; Director of Musical Theatre Program

David Coolidge
David Coolidge

David Coolidge is the Director of the Musical Theatre Program at Anderson University. He received his MFA in Acting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his BFA in Musical Theatre from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. As a professional theatre artist, David toured with Jason Robert Brown in the Broadway National Tour of “Parade” directed by Hal Prince, served as the Director of six National Tours, and as the Assistant Artistic Director of TheatreworksUSA oversaw thirty National Touring Productions. As a coach, David works one-on-one with young professionals to develop a plan to successfully navigate the 'business of the business'. Past clients have been successful on Broadway, National Tours, TV, and Film including: MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods, The Good Wife, Army Wives, and Law & Order.

David Coolidge
M.F.A., University of North Carolina Greensboro
Associate Professor of Musical Theatre
Director of Musical Theatre Program
Listen to a story about David

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Rebecca Edie

Rebecca Edie

Staff Accompanist, Instructor of Piano

Rebecca Edie
Rebecca Edie

Rebecca Edie serves as Staff Accompanist and piano instructor at Anderson University. She received a B.M. in Performance from Butler University and an M.M. in Performance, Vocal and Opera Coaching, and Accompanying from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. Rebecca also serves as Staff Accompanist for the Indianapolis Children's Choir, Indianapolis Youth Chorale, and has appeared as soloist and orchestral pianist for the Santa Fe Symphony, OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Tulsa Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Anderson Symphony, and Orvieto Festival of Strings in Italy.

M.M., St. Louis Conservatory

Dr. Christopher Holmes

Associate Professor of Music

Dr. Christopher Holmes

A native Texan, Dr. Christopher Holmes studied music theory at the University of Texas at Arlington and music history at Baylor University. He earned his Ph.D. in musicology from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, completing a dissertation on the music of Peter Maxwell Davies.

Dr. Holmes's primary research interests are in the relationship between twentieth-century music and tradition and aesthetics. His current research projects include papers on tradition and twentieth-century music and studies of the music Peter Maxwell Davies, Edmund Rubbra, and Hans Werner Henze. He has presented papers at regional and national conferences on the music of Arnold Schoenberg and Peter Maxwell Davies, as well as pre-concert talks for the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. He also organized a series of talks at the Anderson Public Library.

At Anderson University, Dr. Holmes teaches a variety of courses in music history and literature for music students and non-majors. He is also the founding director of the Community School for Performing Arts at Anderson University. He has previously taught music history courses for both undergraduate and graduate students at Indiana University.

Dr. Holmes enjoys reading tales of espionage, watching films, fishing, and watching Dallas Cowboys football. But most especially, his joy is in his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Emma, Charlotte, Anne-Claire, and Elise.

Courses: History of Medieval and Renaissance Music, History of Baroque and Classic Music, History of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Music, History of Lyric Theatre, Introduction to Music Literature, Introduction to World Music, and Music, the Arts, and Culture, as well as seminars on various topics.

Associate Professor of Music
B.M., University of Texas at Arlington
M.M., Baylor University
Ph.D., Indiana University