Arizona Christian University Music Programs are designed to identify and develop God given talents within each individual.  Our Faculty and staff are committed to offer customized programs which nurture and facilitate musical creativity and spiritual growth.

What We Offer

Our goal is to offer a Biblically integrated music education that prepares students for ministry and professional occupations.  All music majors acquire core skills in music theory, ear training, basic piano, music history, music technology, and private lesson instruction. Each Semester students are required to participate in performance ensembles that might include, Praise Bands, Advance Bands, Chorale, Vocal Ensembles, Musical Theatre and the launch of the new Firestorm Pep Band and expanded jazz band.  The Music Department offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Music with numerous emphases.

Bachelors of Science in Music
This emphasis is designed to equip students for advanced studies in music. In this program you will gain a strong foundation with Music Theory, Music History, Conducting, Ensemble Performance and focused study of your Primary Instrument. Other music elective classes could include Music based Technology, Composition and Orchestration, Worship Music, and Music Education. You will graduate having completed course work necessary to qualify for Graduate level Master Programs.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Modern Worship
In this program students will develop the discipline and skills needed to fulfill the role of Worship Leader in a Modern Church. You will study Worship Leading, Praise Band development and rehearsal techniques, worship planning, song arrangement, technologies used in music production, recording and development of customized Backing Tracks, and develop a personal and Biblically based Philosophy of Worship. All ACU programs emphasize a strong foundation in Theory, Private Voice and instrumental development, with ample opportunities for weekly participation in Praise Bands and other performing ensembles.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Ministry
Similar to the Modern Worship Degree, students will be prepared to work in a Church setting fulfilling the role as Worship Pastor. In addition to some exposure to modern styles of worship, the focus will be on Traditional worship forms. This program will give you the professional skills needed to plan and facilitate worship experiences, build and administrate a Worship Department, direct a choir, rehearse and lead a Praise Band and develop a Biblical based Philosophy of Worship.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Technology
This program is designed for musicians that require the tools of music technology to develop their Art. You will receive a strong musical foundation and learn the technical knowledge to compose, multitrack record, digital audio edit, MIDI program, and mix and Master on Digital Audio Workstations. When you graduate you will have the analytical and professional skills for a music production focused career such as Producer, Music Director (MD), recording and mix engineer, studio musician, composer and arranger, and more.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Theory and Composition
Gain the knowledge to become an arranger, orchestrator, composer and songwriter. This program will give you a strong and comprehensive foundation in music theory and analysis. You will also acquire the skills to use modern technology to notate, orchestrate, develop and record your musical ideas. Courses in Arranging, Orchestration, Private Composition Lessons, and Film Scoring will prepare you to fulfill your musical goals.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Vocal Performance: Classical Voice
This program prepares students for work as vocal artists in the Classical genre, and as foundation for private voice studio.  You will learn traditional aspects of vocal technique, performance practice in solo and ensemble classical styles, and preparation for professional auditions.  You will graduate having completed course work necessary to qualify for Graduate level Master Programs.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Vocal Performance: Commercial Voice
This emphasis prepares students for work as vocal artists in the commercial music industry or in a modern church worship setting. Instruction in contemporary music styles, including jazz, pop/rock, and musical theater, will prepare you to develop an understanding of music theory and practice in these various genres and styles. Through cross training using classical vocal models alongside jazz and rock vocal models students you will be encouraged to develop your own unique voice with special attention given to voice health and function. Additional coursework includes band development, rehearsal, recording, arranging, and performing.
Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Music Education
This Program is designed for students wanting to teach music in Charter or Public schools. You will receive a strong musical foundation in Theory, History, Private Lesson instruction, and Performance Ensemble experiences. You will also develop skills in General, Choral, and Instrumental Methods.

NOTE: To teach in a Public school you will need to include Education as a double major or enter a Post Baccalaureate Education program (this generally requires an additional year with coursework and student teaching).

Bachelors of Science in Music with Concentration in Piano Performance (Coming Fall 2018)
This program prepares students for work as piano accompanist, performer, concert pianist, and delivers a teaching foundation for private piano studio. You will learn to play traditional and contemporary performance styles. Additional concentration will focus on healthy piano technique, practical and essential piano skills, collaborative piano and
accompanist studies, sight reading, etc. This is a practical and well rounded program that prepares Pianist to succeed in a diverse musical culture.

Program Objectives

Courses will enable music graduates to:

  1. Demonstrate musicianship mastery in: Theory (reading, singing, analyzing, composing), History (events and style characteristics by time period), and Literature (genre, composer and representative works).
  1. Exhibit career specific music technology skills to write music, produce live or recorded music, and share music.
  1. Present excellent solo and ensemble performances that are self-committed audience-communicative, and collaborative.  Excellence applies to all performance arenas in music.
  1. Express a biblically oriented philosophy of music and its application in chosen participation areas of church, ministry and education.
  1. Apply training to determine career goals, take steps into selected field, and establish a life-long learning plan.

What can I do with a degree from the Music program?

  • Band Member (Rock, Jazz, Pop)
  • Choir Conductor
  • Composer and Arranger
  • Conductor
  • Graduate School
  • Music Director
  • Music Teacher (Charter or Public School)
  • Piano Accompanist
  • Private Studio Teacher
  • Producer
  • Professional Musician
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Studio Mix Engineer
  • Studio Recording Musician
  • Vocal Performer (opera, musical theatre, etc.)
  • Worship Arts Director
  • Worship Leader
Gerald Fercho, M.A.

Gerald Fercho, M.A.

Music Department Chair

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Gerald comes to ACU as assistant professor of Music and serves as the Music Department Chair.  He brings a wealth of music performance experience, recording, producing, and practical worship experience to the University.  Before coming to ACU Gerald was on staff as Worship Leader for over 20 year at a local Valley church.  Furthermore, he owns and operates a recording studio that has recorded Local and National Artists since the 90’s.  In addition to Chair and Teaching duties at the University, he continues to stay involved in recording projects, church music leadership, and local guitar performance events. Currently, Gerald is the Music Director for the Saturday service at Scottsdale Bible Church. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theory and Composition from Warner Pacific College, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from University of Calgary, a Master of Arts in Music in Choral Studies from California State University in Long Beach, and completed all coursework for a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Studies from University of Southern California.

Libbie Kent, M.M.

Libbie Kent, M.M.

Associate Professor of Music

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Associate Professor Libbie Kent has been full time music faculty at Arizona Christian University since 2003, having taught university music theory, sight singing, and instrumental music courses for twenty years. At ACU she has previously served as department chair, served on numerous university committees, and produced/conducted 15 theatre works, including Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and musicals such as Singing in the Rain, and Oklahoma!

She has a Master’s of Music from Arizona State University in Music Theory and Composition.  Before coming to ACU Ms. Kent taught full time at Grand Canyon University and at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.  In addition to teaching, Ms. Kent has served as Choir and/or Instrumental Director at Grace Community Church (Tempe), First Baptist Church (Tempe) and Hillside Baptist Church (Phoenix).  She has performed violin as a member of Symphony of the West Valley, Mesa Symphony, Lyric Opera Theatre and in concert/opera/theatre pit orchestras.

Ms. Kent published as editor two volumes of “Integrated Music Theory: A Collection of Music Theory Materials,” targeted for music theory sequences at schools such as ACU.  Her original musical compositions have been performed at Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, and Bavarde Summer Music Festival.  Her orchestral work, Trilithon, was selected for the “New Artists’ Series” at Merkin Hall, New York City.  Her ballet, Three Stones, commissioned by DeVere Dance Company, was performed at Herberger Theatre in Phoenix, in association with Ballet Arizona.

Dr. Kira Rugen

Dr. Kira Rugen

Director of Choral Studies

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Kira Z. Rugen is the Director of Choral Activities and Musical Theater at Arizona Christian University. Previously, Kira served as a faculty member at Grand Canyon University, where she taught music history, conducting and music education courses, and as a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University where she conducted Schola Cantorum (undergraduate music majors) and Choral Union the 100+ member community choir. Additionally, she is the Artistic Director of Solis Camerata, an early music professional choir which has concerts around the valley and performs with the Phoenix Symphony for Final Fantasy and Zelda, and Game of Thrones live concerts. Kira’s compositions are commissioned and performed frequently including a premiere of her piece, Saint-Brieuc Magnificat, in France, November 2017. As a professional singer, she is in her thirteenth season as a soprano with the Phoenix Chorale, under Charles Bruffy, with whom she has won two Grammy Awards. Furthermore, she has performed for the Norvis Early Music Course in Durham England, Carnegie Hall’s Young Artist Concert Series with Ton Koopman, Korea’s Incheon International Choral Festival, and with Anúna (Ireland’s National Choir) under Michael McGlynn throughout Ireland, Japan and China. She earned her BA in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Weber State University, a Master of Music in Choral Education and a Doctorate in Choral Conducting at ASU.

Juliana Witt

Juliana Witt

Piano Instructor

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Juliana Witt is a Phoenix-based teaching artist and activist who channels energy from nature and humanity into musical art. As a pianist, organist and composer, she strives to initiate change based on the belief that all humans are innately creative and that the world is a place better when humans are tapped into that creativity. Her local performance activities include performances in Prism’s New Music Festival,  Spark! Dance Festival at Mesa Arts Center, ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre, Ballet Arizona, Rosie’s House, and prepared piano improvisation concerts at local venues. She is also the founder of the Teaching Artist Collective of Arizona, an organization that seeks to support teaching artists in the Phoenix Valley. She is very passionate about continuing education and artistry for teachers and making the freelance artist life sustainable.

Outside of the Valley, she has performed with the Pacific Symphony in Irvine, CA, New York, including two original shows produced by Lincoln Center Education, an Iceland tour with violinist Chrissie Gudmundsdottir, a Europe tour with Violinist Anna Sabelfeld and a U.K tour with her trio, Dionysus, an ensemble dedicated to new music and commissions.

She is currently studying Collaborative Piano in a DMA program under Dr. Andrew Campbell at Arizona State University. She holds degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano and also completed a Professional Artist’s Certificate in Collaborative Piano at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has studied with Dr. Allison Gagnon, Dr. Karen Savage, Dr. Jeffrey Savage, Dr. Kenon Renfrow, David Lehman.

Martha Irvine

Martha Irvine

Vocal Instructor

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Born into a musical family, Martha has loved to sing for as long as she can remember. Her first solo, when she was two years old, was intended to be a duet with her big sister. From what her parents say, she took the microphone away and sang her own song! She started playing guitar at age 13 and quickly fell in love with the freedom she felt in communicating to audiences through music. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Arizona Christian University, in Phoenix, AZ, and her Master’s degree in Contemporary Commercial Voice Pedagogy from Shenandoah University, in Winchester, VA. She is also certified in all levels of Somatic VoiceworkTM /The LoVetri Method for Contemporary Commercial Voice. She has studied and performed a diverse selection of solo music including selections from Rock, Pop, Jazz/Blues, Country, Folk, Musical Theater, Christian and Classical styles. Martha also has a love for song writing that was birthed out of jam sessions with her rock band that rehearsed in a friend’s garage. She has recorded one full length album entitled “Anthem to You” and she is currently working on a new EP to be released next year! Martha has over 14 years of worship leading experience in Arizona and Virginia, and as a sought after performing artist, she regularly sings for churches, retreats, and events. Her eclectic love for musical styles, functional vocal technique, and song writing influences her ability to train and coach singers to find their own unique vocal identity.

Additional Music Adjunct Faculty: 
Dustin Blatnik – Praise Band Instructor
             
Robert Carrillo – Drum Instructor
            
Nathan Del Turco – Praise Band Instructor, Songwriting Instructor
                
David James Hepburn – Music Technology
                
Christopher Herrera – Voice Instructor
         
Phil Livingston – Bass Instructor, Music Technology
            
Dakota McGrath – Praise Band Instructor
             
Jon Murray – Jazz Band Instructor
             
Tracy Peterson – Voice Instructor
             
Lytle Rieffer – Guitar Instructor

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