Music Performance

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Music Performance at a glance

North Central’s Music Performance major will prepare you to follow your calling and pursue your dreams to become a professional musician and performer. You’ll gain a strong foundation in music theory in courses taught by expert professors while perfecting your musical craft through participation in performance groups and ongoing private lessons. Plus, North Central’s state-of-the-art facilities will give you opportunities to gain hands-on experience with the latest performance and recording technology.

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 in Music Performance at NCU?

Click here to apply today!

What sets us apart


We offer scholarships worth up to $5,000 per year for Music Performance Majors.

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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.

State-of-the-art facilities

Our McPherson Studios feature the latest technology and recording spaces.

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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
Performance groups and ensembles

Pursue your passions as a musician in one of our world-class performance groups.

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

Here are some of the highlights:

One Accord
North Central’s premiere touring performance group, One Accord is composed of current students under the direction of singer/songwriter Jeff Deyo.

Worship Live
Worship Live serves as the primary worship team for our daily chapel services.

Soulful Prayze
Soulful Prayze is North Central’s multicultural worship team. The group performs music from a variety of cultures and leads North Central students in truly diverse worship experiences.

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.

Mixed Choir
The Mixed Choir 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 program, you’ll be prepared to:

    • Perform your instrument with excellence
    • Apply written and aural music theory
    • Play the piano proficiently
    • Compose and arrange music
    • Teach your instrument
    • Work with an ensemble
    • Understand music of other cultures
    • Understand the history of western music
    • Pursue an advanced degree
  • Careers

    Our graduates succeed in a variety of jobs and careers. Here are some possibilities:

    • Professional performer
    • Music educator
    • Conductor
    • Private instructor
    • Worship Leader
    • Composer
    • Accompanist
  • Requirements

    To ensure that you’re prepared as an experienced, highly-skilled musician, we have a few requirements for our Music Performance 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.
    • Theory Placement Exam—You’ll take the theory placement exam before you enter the Music program or register for classes.
    • 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 majors need to complete an hour classical recital on their primary instrument to finish their degree. A junior recital will also be completed prior to approval for senior recital.
  • Supporting 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:

    • Intercultural Studies
    • Media Production
    • Music Pastor
    • Theatre
    • Urban Studies
    • Worship Leading

    See the full list of minors and supporting programs.

Music Performance alum Norah Long.
Independent Professional Performing Artist, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Norah Long '91
Minneapolis, MN

"North Central provides both excellence in education and a safe structure in which to explore both classroom learning and lessons of how to become successfully independent and responsible members of our world."


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 Performance degree.

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

Meet one of your professors

Mensing 100

Jeff Deyo

Worship Arts Specialist professor

It’s no wonder Jeff has such a heart for the next generation, having grown up in a ministry family, where his father has been in Youth For Christ for over 50 years. After traveling as a professional recording artist, based out of Nashville, TN, for 17 years (as the lead singer of Sonicflood and as a solo artist), he began realizing his unique passion for teaching and equipping musicians and singers. As a result, he founded a worship training school called the Pure Worship Institute (PWI) that is in its 9th year. Following this, Jeff was invited to become a part of the full-time faculty in the College of Fine Arts at North Central University, where he has been teaching for 6 years.

What are your areas of expertise?

I have been a pianist, a singer, and a songwriter for 35+ years. I have been a professional recording artist and a worship leader for 20+ years. I have also been published as a writer/author, I have acted in a movie, and I have a strong gift for preaching and teaching.

What do you love about teaching at North Central?

I was drawn to NCU because of the passion and authenticity of this community in seeking and serving God. There aren’t many places as genuine and as vigorous when it comes to Kingdom pursuits. NCU is committed to the inseparable components of authenticity and excellence just as David was. Psalm 78:72 tells us, “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.”

What are your favorite classes to teach?

I love all of my classes, but my favorites are Worship Leading and Music Ministry Philosophy. Worship Leading is an incredible class where I get to share all of my techniques and passions for the art of worship leading, and MMP is a great class, because I have the opportunity to help creative types understand the pitfalls so many musicians fall prey to long before they have to venture out into the world of professional ministry. I also love working with our worship teams to help them grow practically and spiritually in their leadership of people and in musical worship.