Students holding music books while singing in a choir on stage

College of Arts & Sciences



Dr. Trilla Lyerla

Chair & Professor of Music

Department of Music & Theatre

What is music?


Whether it’s vocal or instrumental jazz, classical, contemporary, or any of the 40-plus primary genres, being moved by music is part of being human. Music is a form of communication that can transcend language barriers through a blend of sounds and silence arranged to create harmony, melody, and rhythm.

Through music therapy, it and can address physical and emotional needs. If you are inspired by music and its versatility, becoming a music major might be for you.

Why study music at Baker University?

Baker University’s music program offers you the best of both worlds: the personal attention only a smaller school can offer and the performance opportunities of a larger school. Baker University has one of the best music programs in the region.

You will gain firsthand experience on stage in music labs or hit the road to perform or compete in regional or national competitions. If performance art is not your thing, Baker has an extensive music education program to meet your needs.

A quick preview of performing arts at Baker:

Male student playing the clarinet at a band concert

Career Opportunities for Music Majors

Here are jobs for music majors:

  • Music teacher
  • Music therapist
  • Production assistant
  • Musician
  • Singer/songwriter
  • Music conductor
  • Music producer
  • Recording engineer
  • Sound engineer

Music Course Descriptions


Music Majors

The Department of Music and Theatre gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Music
  • Chris Grubb Memorial Jazz Scholarship
  • Robert E. Dunham Memorial Scholarship
  • Linda H. Dreyer Endowed Scholarship
  • Dorothy Foreman Memorial Scholarship
  • Kristin Cooper Memorial Scholarship
  • Dr. John and Dr. Susan Buehler Choral Music Education Scholarship
  • Talent-based scholarships for participation in Baker University music ensembles and activities.

Vocal Ensembles

Baker University’s vibrant music ensembles form a vital part of the performing arts experience. With abundant performance opportunities, students of any major can join and showcase their talents, driven by a shared passion for music. The auditioned Concert Choir and Chamber Singers welcome all dedicated and enthusiastic musicians.

Vocal Ensembles

Instrumental Ensembles

At Baker’s Music Department, we welcome musicians of all backgrounds, from tuba players to cellists. Explore a wide array of ensembles, including Symphonic Winds, Wildcat Pep Band, Drum Line, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble, alongside various chamber groups. No matter your major, your passion for music is all you need to join and shine.

Instrumental Ensembles

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

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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

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Jim Funkhouser

Adjunct Teaching Artist

Expertise: French horn, composition

Office: Owens 106

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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

Adjunct Teaching Artist

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

Nicholas May

Adjunct Teaching Artist

B.M. University of Nebraska at Lincoln, M.M. University of Kansas

Expertise: saxophone, clarinet

Office: Owens 106


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. 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 203


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 215


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