Oklahoma Christian’s Department of Music sets tone for success
For the musically inclined, it’s a dream to combine a passion for music with a college education.
Oklahoma Christian University’s Department of Music is prepping students for careers in music and music education in an environment of knowledge and enthusiasm.
The thriving department keeps beat with the OC goal of combining excellence in higher education with faith, commitment, and hard work.
The department sets the tone, both figuratively and literally, for equipping students with the education they need to succeed in their post-collegiate lives.
A Musical Education
The College of Liberal Arts offers three degree plans from its Department of Music: a bachelor’s degree in music and two different bachelor’s degrees in music education.
“A big goal of ours is to make music part of a student’s life forever.” Dr. Kathy Thompson
Graduates from the department have used their B.A.s in Music to perform professionally, teach music privately, and even pursue careers in music therapy.
“It’s a very flexible degree, which we can tailor to the student’s career and interests,” said Dr. Kathy Thompson, music professor and chair of the Department of Music.
Those who graduate with a B.M.E degree often teach in schools as music teachers or band directors. Grads from the music education program are highly sought after to fill positions.
Many students feel the department does an excellent job of preparing them for careers in music and music education.
“Our music staff is very skilled and knowledgeable about what they teach. I feel like I’ll be confident when I walk into a music classroom and being teaching,” said Andrea Ochoa, a senior music education major from Houston, Texas.
Unlike many university’s music degree plans, students at OC dive right into major-specific courses. Classes include everything from Intro to Music Theory to Orchestration to Music Education Technology.
Ochoa said the life of a music education major keeps her busy. Her days are full of voice, piano, and even cello lessons. Education classes, rehearsals, and personal practices round out her academic week.
“It’s a challenging and full schedule, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it,” Ochoa said.
Alumni like Scott Filleman remember the faculty’s unwavering support. Drawn to OC for its strong faith-based community, Filleman balanced raising a young family with his wife while working full-time as a student.
“I went to church, school, and work – that’s all I did,” Filleman said.
Filleman said the Department of Music staff worked with him to make sure he did everything he needed to do to excel and graduate on time. He worked hard to make sure he was on top of his course work, but he said the interest his professors and the OC’s faculty took in him was a tremendous help.
“I wasn’t a business number at OC. I was a kid they cared about. They treated me like one of their own,” Filleman said.
Formerly the director of bands at Sante Fe South Charter Schools and now the fine arts director at Oklahoma Christian Academy, Filleman has taken notes from his time as a student at OC. Throughout his teaching career, he’s taken the same approach of understanding and interest with his own students.
“What that support taught me is that every kid has a story. If I didn’t have my experience at OC, I wouldn’t have known how to ask those questions about what’s going on with them in their own lives,” Filleman said.
Choirs, Chorales, and More
Even if you aren’t pursing a degree in music, you can participate through several of the department’s other offerings. The department offers a minor, along with several musical groups open to students from any major.
The University Chorale is open to both music and non-music majors. Tryouts are the first week of classes, and all students are invited to audition. Participation in the OC bands and orchestra is open to all qualified students with previous experience through auditions.
The Department of Music also proudly gives several musical productions and concerts throughout the year, providing perfect opportunities for those with an appreciation for the university’s music program. Past productions include a variety of titles, from “Little Women” to “Shrek the Musical.”
“Our mission is to allow students to continue what they enjoyed in high school throughout their lives,” Thompson said. “A big goal of ours is to make music part of a student’s life forever.”