Music Matters at

Cumberland University

Studying music at Cumberland allows you to create something beautiful. Join our growing community and we will help you align your passion for music with a meaningful career. It’s time to rise and share your gift with the world.

The Cumberland University Music Program offers music education to all students wishing to take private lessons, music courses, or to participate in one or more of our instrumental and choral ensembles. Students can choose to earn Associate or Baccalaureate degrees in General Music, Music Performance, or Music Education. 

Variety of Course Offerings

Course offerings include studies in Music Theory, Sight-Singing, Ear-training, Dictation, Music History, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Music Theater, Classical Literature, Improvisation, Arranging, Marching Band Management and more. Our small class size and excellent student-to-faculty ratio enable us to tailor our course offerings to your needs or interests. 

A Degree to Move You Forward

Music Alumni from CU have gone on to lead successful careers in music and many other disciplines. We are actively recruiting music students at Cumberland University and would love to share all CU has to offer. 

What Our Graduates Say

Advance Your Career

Josh Parker, Class of 2012 

“My experience at CU was fantastic. As a music major, I learned the skills I needed to advance my career as a musician. I now play guitar professionally in a band, do studio work and have released an instrumental album.”

Positive and Personal

Gabe Lamog, Class of 2011

“The faculty and staff at Cumberland University made my learning experience positive and personal. I loved the smaller campus environment. The smaller class sizes made it easier to communicate with  the professors. I am proud to be an alumni of CU and encourage students to attend.”

Community Minded

Ashlee Sexton, Class of 2004 & 2009

“Cumberland was a great choice for my education and has enhanced my life in so many ways. I became a better musician, educator, and leader because of the opportunities I was afforded at CU. I love the ties Cumberland has in the community. I continue to be impressed with the caliber of musicians and teachers from CU.”

Meet Our Faculty

John Ray
Music Program Director and Assistant Professor of Applied Voice

Josh Nelson

Director of Athletic Bands
(615) 257-2004

Sandy Elliott

Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choirs

Jenny Ballard

Assistant Professor of Theatre

Performance Scholarships

Performance scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the ensemble director or program director based on academic performance, performance success, and future potential. Fine Arts Scholarships support several areas of fine arts including band, chorus, art, and theatre.

Cumberland University Marching Band


Auditions are scheduled on specific dates and consist of a prepared selection, sight-reading, and scale or rudiment performance. Admission to the music program at CU is contingent upon audition results. Upcoming auditions will be held on November 4, 2023, February 24, 2024, and March 16, 2024. 

*Students need to sign up for an audition if they plan to major or minor in music OR if they will need a scholarship in their first semester. You do not need to sign up for the above audition dates if you are planning to participate in one of the ensembles and do not need a scholarship. Please contact A. Wayne Ray for band at and Sandy Elliot for choir at


Sign Up

Auditions are held throughout the year and take approximately 15-20 minutes and begin at 11:00 am. Dates are listed on the events calendar below. To sign up for an audition time, click the link below. 


Concert Band

The Cumberland University Concert Band is the main instrumental music ensemble in the music program. This group performs traditional concert band and small ensemble literature. 

Jazz Band

The Cumberland University Jazz Band is a combination of both big band and combo ensembles. Admission into the CU Jazz Band is by audition only. This ensemble is the premier instrumental performing group at Cumberland.

Marching Band

The Cumberland University Phoenix Marching Band is a contemporary style college marching band open to all CU students. If you’re a transfer student, current CU student, or incoming freshman, and have a strong desire to be part of an energized college marching band we invite you to audition.

University Singers


Cumberland Chorale


Musical Theatre


Music Events


  • October 26-29 Five Women Wearing the Same Dress Heydel 7:00 PM, Matinee 2:00 PM
  • Friday, November 3 Voice Class II Heydel 12:00 PM
  • Friday, November 10 Student Recital II Heydel 12:00 PM
  • Tuesday, November 14 Concert Band/Jazz Band Heydel 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, November 16 Musical Theatre Cabaret Alumni Hall 7:00 PM
  • Friday, December 1 University Singers/Cumberland Chorale Baird Chapel, 7:00 PM


  • January 26-28 Putnam County Spelling Bee Auditions Heydel (Times TBA)
  • Friday, February 2 Vocal/Instrumental Competition Heydel  12:00-2:00 PM
  • Friday, February 9 Voice Class I Heydel 12:00 PM
  • Friday, February 16 Student Recital I Heydel 12:00 PM
  • March 21-24 Putnam County Spelling Bee Heydel 7:00 PM; Matinee 2:00 PM
  • Friday, March 22 Voice Class II Heydel 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 6/7 Arts Extravaganza Capitol Theatre 7:00 PM/2:00 PM
  • Friday, April 12 Student Recital II Heydel 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 13 Wary Ann Waters/Mae Jenkins Recital Heydel 2:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 13 Takiah Ledo Senior Rectal Heydel 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, April 16 Concert Band/Jazz Band Heydel, 7:00 PM
  • Friday, April 26 University Singers/Cumberland Chorale Baird, 7:00 PM


Contact us. We’re here to help.

If you have any questions about our music programs or need any help through your next steps, please don’t hesitate to reach out to John Ray at or Band Director, Wayne Ray at We’re here to help guide you through this process and discuss your future at Cumberland University.

The Admissions Office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm CST. Please contact the Admissions Office at 615-547-1246 locally or 800-467-0562 to speak with our Enrollment Specialist or email

What is new at CU

Read More
Read More