The Cottey Music Department has been a vital force in the life of Cottey students since the College’s founding in 1884. As an accredited member institution of the National Association of Schools of Music (N.A.S.M.) since 1956, Cottey’s Music Department meets national N.A.S.M. standards for educational quality and institutional integrity.

Cottey’s Associate in Arts-Music (A.A.M.) degree prepares students to continue in baccalaureate programs in music education, music performance, composition, music therapy, music theory, and musicology. The A.A.M. degree focuses on the first two years of liberal arts coursework needed for a baccalaureate degree in music, including music theory coursework, lessons, and ensembles.

All Cottey students are welcome in music classes including ensembles, elective lessons, music appreciation, and fundamentals of music courses. Music Scholarships are available for both music majors and non-majors who participate in lessons and ensembles. Click here to open the scholarship page.

The Music Department’s mission is to successfully prepare students to transfer into baccalaureate music programs nationwide and to provide a music enrichment program for all Cottey students.

The goals of the Music Department are:

  • To offer a variety of courses at all levels of study from beginning to advanced
  • To offer lessons in voice, piano, woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion instruments
  • To offer vocal and instrumental ensembles available to all Cottey students
  • To offer core courses in music theory and music fundamentals
  • To offer courses in music appreciation

Career Opportunities:

A wide variety of careers are available to the well-trained music major. Positions as teachers at the primary and secondary levels are filled by music education majors. Advanced degrees are usually required for faculty positions at the college level, with opportunities for teachers of performance studies, music theory, music history, and composition. Musicians who excel in performing might become instrumental or choral conductors, orchestra players, professional choir members, or soloists. Students with interests in psychology and sociology frequently pursue studies in music therapy. Those with interests in business may find positions in marketing and financial offices of musical organizations. Musicians also work as arrangers, church musicians, music publishers, music librarians, sound engineers, and instrument repair technicians.

Music is a competitive field. Students interested in pursuing a music degree should be committed to practicing and self-improvement. Musicians learn to collaborate with others, perform under pressure, and express themselves creatively. They study music from a variety of perspectives: the historical development of music, ear training and musicianship, the organization and theory of music, composition, performance instruction, and music education.

Employment Settings

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Churches
  • Professional bands, choirs, and orchestras
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Recording Studios
  • Music Publishers
  • Music-related Businesses

Sample Occupations

  • Choir, Band, or Orchestra Director at a High School or Middle School
  • Elementary Music Teacher
  • Performer
  • Private Lessons Instructor
  • College Professor
  • Music Therapist
  • Music Historian
  • Music Technician
  • Sound Engineer

Get Involved:

Cottey College has more than 35 student clubs and organizations in which to be involved. In addition, Nevada and the surrounding community offer an abundance of service opportunities.

Mu Sigma Epsilon, Cottey’s honorary music society, is open to all students participating in music courses, lessons, or ensembles.

Ensembles are open to all Cottey students, including Chamber Singers, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Chamber String Ensemble.


Throughout the year, on-campus performances are given by students, faculty and guest performers, which are free to students. Transportation is also frequently provided to off-campus events. As a part of the international experience students have attended performances of the Royal Philharmonic, the English National Opera, a performance of Chicago at the Adelphi theatre, a ballet at the Paris Opera, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid.

Department of Music Health and Safety


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Cottey College
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1000 West Austin
Nevada, Missouri 64772
Phone: 417-667-8181
Fax: 417-667-8103
Admission: 888-5-COTTEY