A professor in the Music Pastor program.

Music Pastor

In this section

Music Pastor at a glance

North Central’s Music Pastor major will prepare you for your calling as a church leader who ministers through music. You’ll be surrounded by a vibrant Christian community that will encourage you and support you as you pursue your passion to praise God with spirit-filled spirit worship. North Central’s world-class music program, state-of-the-art facilities, and relationships with local churches will give you both real-world experience and invaluable connections. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to join one of our student-led worship teams.

Considering a career in worship leading? Check out our article on 7 reasons to get worship leader training.

Want to learn more?

Download the one sheet!

Simply fill in your info on the form to download the informational one sheet that covers:

  • An overview of the program
  • Classes you’ll take
  • Exciting jobs you can get after graduation

Interested in earning your degree as a Music Pastor at NCU?

Click here to apply today!

What sets us apart

A student plays the keyboard.

We offer scholarships worth up to $3,000 per year for students in music programs.

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Audition to earn a Music Scholarship

The College of Fine Arts awards Music Scholarships up to $3,000 per year for students interested in pursuing their calling as a musician. Scholarships are awarded based on your audition and interview with faculty. These awards aren’t need-based and are renewable for up to 4 years, provided you continue to meet the scholarship requirements.

Visit our financial aid site to learn more about Music Scholarships and how you can apply.

A professor works with students in McPherson Studios.
State-of-the-art facilities

Our McPherson Studios feature the latest technology and recording spaces.

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Gain hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art facilities

McPherson Studios is North Central’s state-of-the-art recording facility, featuring the latest equipment and technology including a Pro Tools HD system (loaded featuring McDSPand Antares plug-ins) with a Digidesign Control 24 interface, Genelec and Westlake monitors, and a wide selection of microphones and outboard equipment. Our Control Room is a great place to work with comfortable leather sofas and a warm atmosphere. The Studio A recording room is over 1200 square feet with enough room to record a choir, a big band, or an orchestra. Studio A also features a Yamaha grand piano with full MIDI capability. There are two additional rooms when isolation is needed for the session.

Artists who have recorded with us:

  • Sara Groves
  • Ben Gowell
  • Kristi Northrup
  • David Pedde
  • David Juve
  • Sovereign Grace Music Kids Project
  • Jeff Kerr and River Valley Worship Team
  • David Santisteven
  • Emmanuel Christian Center Youth Worship Team
A worship team at North Central University. What is a worship leader blog.
World-class worship teams

Lead spirit-filled worship on campus and in the community.

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North Central’s performance groups and ensembles are the real deal. From premiere touring performance group Worship Live, led by renowned singer/songwriter Jeff Deyo, to the multifaceted Festival Chorus, we offer opportunities for students of all interests and skill levels to get involved.

Here are some of the highlights:

Worship Live
Worship Live is North Central’s premiere touring performance group, and is composed of current students under the direction of singer/songwriter Jeff Deyo. Worship Live also serves as the primary worship team for our daily chapel services.

Concert Chorale
The Concert Chorale is an ensemble of fifty singers and instrumentalists under the direction of Larry Bach. The Chorale has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe, singing in churches, schools, and concert halls.

Festival Chorus
The Festival Chorus is a large ensemble made up of students with a range of experience levels and from a number of different majors.

Women’s Choir
This chorus consists of selected female vocalists that minister in a variety of university and community events. This group is open to students by audition only.

Jazz Workshop
Jazz Workshop is designed to facilitate instrumental improvisation through the study of various forms of jazz, popular, and world genres in a combo setting. The ensembles of Jazz Workshop perform at the Jazz at the Clay performance series, the NCU Jazz Concert, Songs of the Season, Partners for Progress, and a variety of city-wide opportunities. The NCU Fusion Ensemble, a part of the Jazz Workshop Ensembles, has been featured at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival.

  • Skills you’ll gain

    When you graduate from the Music Pastor program, you’ll be prepared to:

    • Lead worship and music ministry in church settings
    • Use music to worship, bring God’s Word to life, evangelize, disciple others, and further God’s work
    • Effectively use multimedia presentations
    • Play the piano proficiently
    • Apply written and aural music theory
    • Conduct
    • Arrange and compose music
    • Teach music
    • Understand music of other cultures
    • Oversee administration, organize, manage time, create budgets, understand public and staff relations
  • Requirements

    To ensure that you’re prepared as an experienced, highly-skilled musician, we have a few requirements for our Music majors.

    • Ensemble participation—You need to participate in at least one ensemble each semester. You can choose from: Woman’s Chorus, Festival Chorus, Chorale (audition only), Rhythm Players, Jazz Workshop ( upperclassmen), String Ensemble
    • Recital performance class—You’ll register for this class each semester to prepare for your senior recital, perform on your primary instrument, and learn recital etiquette.
    • Recital attendance—You’ll be expected to attend all recital classes, senior recitals, and faculty recitals.
    • Applied lessons—You’ll take music lessons in one major instrument and one minor instrument. You can choose from the following: piano, voice, guitar, drums, bass guitar, violin, flute, cello, saxophone, trumpet and french horn. Piano is the minor instrument for anyone who isn’t a piano major.
    • Jury exams—You’ll take final jury exams at the end of each semester. At jury exams, you’ll perform pieces you’ve studied that semester.
    • Piano proficiency—You’ll be required to demonstrate piano proficiency by the end of your fourth semester of theory.
    • Senior project/recital—All Music Pastor majors need to complete a half hour performance on their primary instrument as well as a half hour conducting recital to finish their degree.
  • Internships

    You’ll participate in an internship as part of your program. Your internship will prepare you with real-world experience and valuable connections as you follow your calling as a music pastor.

  • Minors & programs

    We want you to be well-rounded and well-prepared when you graduate, so you’ll have the opportunity to choose a minor or supporting program so you can explore another area of interest. Here are some possibilities:

    • Campus Missions
    • Evangelism & Church Planting
    • Intercultural Studies
    • Leadership Development
    • Media Communications
    • Media Production
    • Theatre
    • Urban Studies
    • Youth Ministries

    See the full list of minors and supporting programs.

North Central alum Ben Cruse.
Worship Pastor, River Valley Church (Minneapolis Campus)

Ben Cruse ‘15
Dunn, NC

"Every year, anything I did, any class, any leadership team, any worship team, somebody was pouring into me, investing into my life, and caring about me-not just to prepare me as a minister, but also to grow me as a person."


All students must complete the General Education Core and Christian Studies Core. General electives may be added or an optional minor may be selected. You need 124 total credit hours to complete the Music Pastor degree.

Watch the new Worship Live video, performed and recorded by NCU students and alumni!

Meet one of your professors

Faculty Vinnie Zarlettie


Mensing 101

Vinnie Zarletti

Assistant Professor of Worship Arts

I am originally from Kenosha, WI (go Pack go!), and am married to my high school sweetheart (Justine). We have three amazing kids (Vinnie, Sofie, and Santino), and live in Princeton, MN (way north!). As a graduate of NCU (B.A. Music, 2002), I have had a love for the school for more than half of my life, and truly enjoy teaching here! Since graduating, I have served the local church in music ministry for over 12 years (serving in Orlando, FL and Princeton, MN). It has been my pleasure to lead people in worship through these years, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the next generation of worship leaders and music pastors here at NCU.


Worship Studies and Musical Worship Leadership in the Local Church


I love the culture of NCU and the impact that it has around the world. It is an honor to work with such incredible students!


Theology of Christian Worship (339). Worship is so much bigger than we think it is! This class helps us to connect to God’s Story and explore the truth that Christian worship leads us to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.