Administration, Area Coordinators, and Staff

The Administration of the College of Visual and Performing Arts consists of the Dean and the Associate Dean and the CVPA office staff.

The Adminstration of the School of Music consists of the Director, the Assistant Director, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, the Coordinator of Admissions and Public Relations, the Coordinator of Teacher Certification, and the School of Music Office Staff.

Faculty Area Coordinators manage the affairs of school instructional areas and represent those areas on the school's Advisory Committee.

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Community School of the Arts

The Community School of the Arts offers programs in music, art, and theatre for children and adults in the community.  In most years they have more than 500 people register for private lessons or a class each semester.  They continue to grow and they offer new classes every semester.  They have more than 60 instructors in the program; they are NIU faculty, community teachers, and NIU graduate and undergraduate students.  Private music instruction is offered on most instruments for both children and addults. You will be able to reserve a practice room on the 3rd or 4th floors for the times that you give lessons through the CSA.  If you are interested in giving private lessons through the NIU Community School of the Arts, please contact Deborah Booth in Room 132.

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The NIU School of Music faculty is committed to excellence in instruction, creativity, scholarship, and public and professional service.  Recognized by numerous awards, grants, commissions, and fellowships, the music faculty is active professionally throughout the United States and around the world, including performances, recordings, publications, presentations, and guest lectures. 

Link to Faculty Biographies

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Fine Arts House

The College of Visual and Performing Arts has joined with Student Housing and Dining Services in the creation of Fine Arts House, located in Neptune North Residence Hall.  As one housing option for music majors, Fine Arts House has music interest floors for men and women.  Many of our students enjoy its congenial living environment and organized activities.  Fine Arts House has several faculty advisors who work with the students to develop programs that relate to the arts.  The Neptune North Computer Lab has five keyboard workstations and similar software to the Music Computer Lab.

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Graduate Assistantships/Tuition Waivers

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate staff assistantships are available to qualified graduate students.  To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, students must be admitted to the Graduate School and be in good academic standing. Tuition is waived, via a tuition-waiver scholarship, for students during the period of their appointment to assistantships.  In addition, tuition is waived for the summer session following the assistantship appointment period providing the student is an admitted graduate student during that summer.

The following are likely to have single or multiple graduate assistants assigned on a regular basis:

  • MUHL 220 Instruction (music appreciation)
  • Piano-Accompanying
  • Class Piano
  • Theory/Aural Skills
  • Music Education
  • University Jazz Band
  • Jazz Combos
  • Graduate String Quartet
  • Rosebud Jazztet
  • Percussion Maintenance and Techniques
  • Woodwind/Double Reed Techniques
  • Brass Techniques

For more information, see the Graduate Funding page.

Requests for Other/Additional Graduate Assistantships

Faculty members may submit requests for graduate assistants to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.  Requests should be as specific as possible as to the proposed duties of the requested GA.  The Graduate Advisory Committee may  make recommendations, using the published priorities, but the Director will make final decisions regarding graduate assistantship offers.

Offers of graduate assistantships will be prioritized as follows:

  1. Delivery of instruction -- Use of the GA to deliver instruction so that faculty teaching loads can be extended or increased enrollment accommodated. (Secondary applied instruction is a low priority as it generates very few hours.)
  2. Service to the school -- Use of the GA in essential performance roles in conducted ensembles or for accompanying.  GAs only performing in a single conducted ensemble should also be utilized to assist in regard to delivery of instruction, instructional support, and University mission support. Such activities might include administration of convocations, undergraduate chamber music instruction, and outreach performances.
  3. Ensemble or instructional support/other support needs -- Use of GAs only to perform in ensembles or to assist in the delivery of instruction, without effect on faculty teaching loads. This use would not accommodate increased enrollment. Other support needs would be addressed as well.

Graduate assistantships are one-year employment contracts, and carry no guarantee of renewal.  Renewal is subject to review of the student’s performance, the budget, and school need.  Normally, a student will not receive a graduate assistantship for more than two consecutive years.  For any given year, returning students who hold graduate assistantships will be considered first, followed by returning graduate students who currently are receiving a tuition waiver.

Tuition Waivers

Graduate students are eligible for tuition waivers to offset the tuition cost of attending the university. Tuition waiver recipients will still be required to pay student fees, however.  Tuition waivers are awarded for the maintenance of School of Music performing ensembles and other programmatic needs.  Accordingly, all recipients of tuition waivers, including Graduate Assistants, are required to perform in NIU ensembles and other special musical or classroom performances, as needed. Additionally, tuition waiver students may be asked to take attendance at evening or weekend recitals on a weekly basis. 

For more information concerning graduate tuition waivers, please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

Tuition waivers are awarded for the fall and spring terms.  There are no summer tuition waivers. 

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MCL - Music Computer Lab

The Music Computer Laboratory (MCL) offers general access to programs such as Microsoft Office, Finale, Cakewalk, and music theory/aural skills training programs such as Musique and MacGamut. In addition, the lab offers full access to the Internet and the university’s free e-mail. The MCL is located in Room 158 and its hours are posted on the door.   For a list of the hours in which all of the campus computer labs are open, click HERE.

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NIUCMS - NIU Computer Music Studios

The impetus of NIUCMS is technology-based musical experimentation, composition and research. Directed by Dr. James Phelps, NIUCMS is supported by a multitude of technological, creative environments. The studios are comprised of a beginning synthesis/sound design lab (ECMS I) which supports initial studies and creative experimentation with digital audio and computer-music programming; an advanced, 8-channel, optical computer-music composition/performance lab (ECMS II) driven by Macintosh/Protools/MAXMSP hardware and software; and an 8-channel digital sound design/mastering studio (The Annex) centered around Macintosh/Protools/Command8/mastering suite systems. The Annex is designed to provide an environment tailored for a more intimate sound design/mastering need.

NIUCMS supports the Computer Music and New Media Technology program, in which students can earn a Master of Music degree under the Individualized Studies specialization, as well as an undergraduate, computer-music emphasis degree under the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of General Studies program. The programs reflect the technology-based art scene at the end of one century and at the beginning of a new one. No longer can artists reside only in one discipline to the exclusion of others. Creators need to be well-versed in multimedia capabilities. At NIUCMS, students can explore network-based art (e.g., via Internet and WWW) including real-time video/audio communication/co-location, creations designed for CDROM media as well as sonic/visual works designed specifically for audio CD format, DVD or other digital multichannel formats.

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NIU Libraries

The Music Library
The Music Library, a branch of the NIU Libraries system, is a two-story facility located directly across from the Concert Hall foyer in the Music Building.  The Music Library keeps regular hours during every term, which are posted at its entrance.  The facility houses a comprehensive music collection containing approximately 60,000 items in nearly all formats--books, scores, periodicals, and sound recordings (LPs, cassettes, and compact discs).  Study areas and listening stations (with turntables, cassette players, or CD players) are available.   The library staff is ready to assist you with locating needed materials, and the Music Librarian can assist you with research problems or hard-to-find items.  The library's online catalog, ILLINET Online, also allows you to search library collections throughout the state.

Founders Memorial Library
Founders Memorial Library, located directly south of Holmes Student Center, is the main library on campus.  Use it for your information needs in subjects other than music.

Circulation Policies  Most materials in the NIU library system circulate to students for 4 weeks; some materials (such as reference books, periodicals, and compact discs) do not circulate.  A handout listing the circulation policies is available at the Music Library Circulation desk.

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The School of Music has a limited amount of Tuition Dollar Awards (for undergraduates) and endowed cash scholarships (for both undergraduate and graduate students).  To apply for a scholarship, you must submit the following to Lynn Retherford in the Music Office (MB 140):

  1. A letter on your own behalf including name, Z-ID, current contact information, and current large ensembles assignments. In addition, please include current GPA and reasons for requesting the musici scholarship (e.g., leadership in studio and ensemble, economic hardship, participation in multiple ensembles, etc.).
  2. Two letters from NIU School fo Music faculty:  one from your applied teacher and the other from one of your large ensembles directors. You may also submit additional recommendation forms or letters of support from other faculty members, if you wish. 

MOST STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS MUST REAPPLY EACH YEAR TO RENEW THE AWARD.  For specific information about renewal requirements, please see the Undergraduate Scholarship Coordinator.

The application deadlines for continuing students to request a new or renewed scholarship are:  prior to Thanksgiving for the following spring term and March 15 for the next fall term.

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Student Committees and Organizations

School of Music Student Advisory Committee.  This student-elected committee is formed annually and normally meets 2-4 times each semester.  Undergraduate and graduate students are chosen representing a cross-section of majors and primary applied emphases.  They meet with the Director and/or Assistant Director to discuss School of Music matters.  This committee is responsible for the process and selection of the School of Music nomination for the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Students should bring any concerns they have to this committee

Visual and Performing Arts Student Advisory Committee.The VPA Student Advisory Committee exists to provide a forum for topics and interest and concern to students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.  Its membership is reconstructed early in the fall semester of each academic year by the school advisory committees with the guidance and assistance of the Dean and Directors of the schools.  Each school will appoint two voting members to the committee, usually one undergraduate and one graduate student.  This committee will appoint the student who will represent the college on the University Council.

The NIU Music Society encourages the university and surrounding community to embrace unique and diverse musical opportunities by promoting concerts featuring accomplished artists and events that broaden musical awareness.

The National Association for Music Education Student Chapter (NAfME) serves music education majors with information, resources, and services regarding the field of music education.  NAfME is the only national organization to incorporate all aspects of music education, including all levels of education and various genres of music.  The NIU student chapter seeks to provide service to local and statewide music events, including providing student volunteers to assist with IMEA, student lesson nights, and other activities that seek to augment our curriculum.  All music ed majors are expected to join NAfME and be active participants in the NIU chapter.

The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) is a nonprofit music education organization whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research, and teaching.  In addition, ACDA strives through arts advocacy to elevate choral music’s position in American society.  Besides participating in state, regional, and national conventions, the student ACDA chapter sponsors guest speakers, choirs, and other musical activities to enhance the NIU choral experience.  The ACDA bulletin board is located between room 161 and room 157.

The Jazz Education Network (JEN) is an organization for anyone interested in jazz.  There are over 6,000 professional members as well as student chapters throughout the country.  The NIU chapter is open to all students and is active in bringing top jazz artists to campus for clinics and concerts.

The Pi Kappa Lambda national honor society for musicians installed the Zeta Gamma Chapter on our campus in the spring of 1986.

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is a professional fraternity for men who have an interest in music and, through brotherhood, uphold the principal purpose of the fraternity: to promote music, creativity, education, and performance.

Sigma Alpha Iota, the international women’s music fraternity, was organized in 1903 to ". . . form chapters of musicians who shall, by their influence and musical interest, uphold the highest ideals in music education; to raise the standard of musical work among women students of colleges, conservatories, and universities."

Kappa Kappa Psi is a co-ed national honorary fraternity for college band members.  Northern’s chapter promotes the existence and welfare of all NIU bands, honors outstanding band members through privilege of membership, fosters a close relationship among college bands, promotes performance of good music and selection of worthwhile projects, and provides a pleasant and helpful experience for all who are engaged in NIU band work.