row of students playing the saxophone with a row of students playing the trombone behind them, at the jazz music festival

College of Arts & Sciences

Music Education


Trilla Lyerla


Department of Music and Theatre

Department Office: Owens Musical Arts Building 201

Shaping Tomorrow’s Sounds


Passion for music and compassion for the next generation of learners merge for students in our music education program.

Personal attention from a talented, accomplished faculty, along with extraordinary performance opportunities and extensive hands-on classroom experience, make Baker’s music education program one of the best in the region, while organizations like the National Association for Music Education provide students with opportunities to learn about music beyond the classroom.

Graduates leave with the skills and confidence to take on a classrooms of their own.

Male student playing the clarinet at a band concert

The first step on campus…

…often leads to the first audition. Every student gets a shot at the spotlight with none of the waiting your turn that happens at larger schools.

Broadway at Baker presents State Fair performance
Male student playing the clarinet at a band concert
Students holding music books while singing in a choir on stage

Exceptional Experience


Heard ‘Round The World

Baker ensembles have hit the road to tour and perform on the California coast, throughout Europe, and at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Award Tour

Our vocal and instrumental ensembles consistently bring home awards from regional and national competitions.

PreK-12 Preparation

Along with music curriculum, our students complete a core of education courses that lead to preK-12 licensure in general music, vocal music, or instrumental music.

A quick preview of performing arts at Baker:



Competitions & Selections

  • Vocalists compete in the regional auditions for the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
  • Pianists compete in the Kansas Music Teachers Association collegiate auditions and in the Music Teachers National Association Young Artists’ Competition.
  • Instrumentalists are nominated and selected to perform in the Kansas Intercollegiate Band.

Music Education Course Descriptions

Do you want to teach music?

Baker University’s undergraduate education programs license teachers in mathematics (6-12) and Middle-Level Mathematics (5-8). Students pursuing a degree in education and teacher licensure work closely with faculty advisors from the School of Education to fulfill the requirements for a degree from Baker University and teacher licensure in Kansas. Candidates are required to complete education course work and the required course work in at least one content area.

Learn More

Vocal Ensembles

Practice your art

Music ensembles are an integral part of the performing arts at Baker University. Performance opportunities abound, with student musicians showcasing their talent in a variety of ways. Students need not be music majors to join an ensemble, they just need a passion for making music.

The auditioned Concert Choir and Chamber Singers are open to all.

Vocal Ensembles

Instrumental Ensembles

Showcase your talent

Whether you’re a tuba player or a master cellist, Baker’s Music Department has a home for you. Students can choose from five instrumental ensembles: Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Wildcat Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, and University Chamber Ensemble.

Music ensembles are an integral part of the performing arts at Baker University. Performance opportunities abound, with student musicians showcasing their talent in a variety of ways. Students need not be music majors to join an ensemble, they just need a passion for making music.

Instrumental Ensembles

Ensemble Rehearsal Schedules


Graduates of our music program go on to become renowned professional musicians and leading music educators in their districts.

Male student playing the baritone at a band concert


The Department of Humanities gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following years tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship
  • Dr. Irene Murphy Memorial Scholarship
  • Etta and Orin Murphy Scholarship Kahle Endowed Scholarship
  • Kahle Endowed Scholarship
  • The Moorman Prize for Prose Writing
  • The Moorman Prize for Poetry Writing
  • Jefferson-Greiner Scholarship
band student holding a clarinet and smiling at a football game

Music Events

Meet the Faculty

Dr. Trilla Lyerla
Professor of Music, Chair of the Department of Music & Theatre
B.A., B.M. University of Kansas; M.A., D.M.A. University of Iowa
Expertise: piano, music theory, world music
Office: Owens 200

Dr. Tom Becker
Adjunct Teaching Artist
B.M. University of Nebraska at Omaha, M.M. Northwestern University, M.A. University of Denver, Ph.D. University of Kansas
Expertise: guitar
Office: Owens 106

Will Cooper
Adjunct Teaching Artist
Expertise: trumpet
Office: Owens 106

Jim Funkhouser
Adjunct Teaching Artist
Expertise: French horn, composition
Office: Owens 106

Brian Jackson
Adjunct Teaching Artist
B.M.E. Wichita State University; M.A. Baker University
Expertise: percussion, drumline, percussion ensemble
Office: Owens 101

Lisa Jackson
Adjunct Teaching Artist
B.M. Eastman School of Music, M.M. University of Akron
Expertise: violin, viola
Office: Owens 100

Ray James
Instructor of Music
B.M.E Murray State University, M.M.E. Wichita State University
Expertise: music education
Office: Owens 202

Edward Laut
Instructor of Music
M.M. Catholic University of America, B.M. Indiana University
Expertise: cello
Office: Owens 100

Dr. Robin Liston
Coordinator of Academic Advising, Professor of Music
B.M.E. The Ohio State University; M.M., Ph.D. University of Kansas
Expertise: music education, music history
Office: Library 120

Dr. Ryan Olsen
Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Ensembles
B.M.E., M.A. University of Missouri at Kansas City; D.M.A. Arizona State University
Expertise: choral ensembles, choral music education
Office: Owens 102

Dr. J.D. Parr
Instructor of Woodwinds
B.M. Washburn University, M.M. Michigan State University, Ph.D. University of Kansas
Expertise: jazz ensemble, music education, woodwinds, music theory
Office: Owens 202

Dr. Frank Perez
Associate Professor & Director of Bands
B.M., B.M.M.E., M.M.Ed. Thorton School of Music, University of Southern California; D.M.A. University of Kansas
Expertise: wind ensembles, athletic bands, low brass, music technology, music education, electro-acoustic music
Office: Owens 215

Dr. Mark Pretzel
Director of Orchestral Activities
B.M., M.M. University of Cincinnati; M.M. Bowling Green State University; D.M.A University of Missouri at Kansas City
Expertise: orchestra, piano, conducting
Office: Owens 100

Marci Ziegler
Associate Professor of Music
M.M. University of Kansas
Expertise: applied voice, class voice, vocal pedagogy, opera & musical theatre workshop
Office: Owens 203

Parmenter and long student center

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