Earn your BM in Strings

The string program at the University of Iowa carries on a long tradition of teaching excellence. Our faculty is committed to a strong educational ethic at all levels of teaching. Our string majors come from many walks of life, and whether they are performance majors, education or music therapy majors, we are committed to giving each student the best educational experience possible. Our alumni hold positions in major orchestras and chamber ensembles, and teach at universities, conservatories, and schools around the world.

Already applied and admitted to the university? Prepare to audition with the School of Music.

Program advantages

Students choose Iowa not only for the pedagogical and artistic strength of our faculty and the numerous performance opportunities on and around campus but for the excitement and vibrant community that comes with a Big Ten school.

The string program at the University of Iowa School of Music has several distinct advantages, including:

  • A curriculum centered on a close teacher/student relationship with weekly private instruction supported by weekly Studio Seminars.
  • Nationally accredited degree programs.
  • Undergraduate students may earn their Bachelor of Music in Performance and K-12 Music Teaching Certification or Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy, an approved program by the American Music Therapy Association.
  • A unique chamber music experience with the newly established University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program. Student ensembles have worked with such notable professional quartets as the JACK Quartet, the Linden Quartet, and the Cavani Quartet during their residencies at Iowa. These residencies provide unique interaction with the quartets and in outreach performance experiences.
  • Master classes and performances with renowned guest artists.
  • Numerous opportunities and venues for solo and chamber music performance.
  • A dynamic string faculty who regularly perform and teach around the United States and the world.
  • Opportunities for intensive study of orchestral repertoire and audition preparation.
  • Opportunities to study and perform on baroque instruments

Requirements and program planning

download course checklist

Course Offerings

  • Musicianship and Theory I (MUS:1201)*, 4 semester hours
  • Musicianship and Theory II (MUS:1202), 4 semester hours
  • Musicianship and Theory III (MUS:2203), 4 semester hours
  • Musicianship and Theory IV (MUS:2204), 4 semester hours
  • Group Instruction in Piano I (MUS:1211)**, 1 semester hour
  • Group Instruction in Piano II (MUS:1212)**, 1 semester hour
  • Recital Attendance (MUS:1210), 6 semester hours
  • History of Western Music I (MUS:2301), 3 semester hours
    • Note: Also meets General Education Requirement for Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts and Historical Perspectives.
  • History of Western Music II (MUS:2302), 3 semester hours
    • Note: Also meets General Education Requirement for Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts and Historical Perspectives.
  • Techniques of Conducting (MUS:3625), 2 semester hours

*Entering students who do not have Advanced Placement (AP) or transfer credit should enroll in MUS:1201:0002, and take Placement Exam A, administered online in the summer before the start of the fall semester, to determine readiness for the sequence. Learn more about this process.

**Students will take a piano placement exam and may place out of one or both Group Piano classes based on their proficiency.

Select one of the following:

  • Jazz Cultures America and Abroad (MUS:1009), 3 semester hours
    • Note: Also meets General Education Requirement for Diversity and Inclusion and Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.
  • World Music (MUS:1310), 3 semester hours
    • Note: Also meets General Education Requirement for Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.
  • Music of Latin America and Caribbean (MUS:2311), 3 semester hours
    • Note: Also meets General Education Requirement for Diversity and Inclusion and Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.
  • Advanced Jazz History (MUS:4350), 3 semester hours

  • Lower level applied lessons (MUS:202-), 8 semester hours*
  • Upper level applied lessons (MUS:302-), 8 semester hours
  • Major Ensemble (MUS:3180), 8 semester hours
  • Senior Recital (MUS:4900), 1 semester hour

*A maximum of 6 semesters (12 semester hours) in lower-level applied instruction is allowed.

Select 3 semester hours from these:

  • Form and Analysis (MUS:2206), 3 semester hours
  • Introduction to Jazz Improvisation (MUS:3001), 3 semester hours
  • Instrumentation (MUS:3220), 2 semester hours
  • Arranging for Band (MUS:3665), 2 to 3 semester hours
  • Intermediate Jazz Improvisation (MUS:3710), 2 semester hours
  • Jazz Theory (MUS:3750), 2 semester hours
  • Counterpoint Before 1600 (MUS:4200), 3 semester hours
  • Counterpoint After 1600 (MUS:4201), 3 semester hours
  • Keyboard Harmony (MUS:4210), 1 to 2 semester hours
  • Advanced Jazz Improvisation (MUS:4710), 2 semester hours
  • Transcription (MUS:4750), 2 semester hours

Choose 4 semester hours of any combination between the following:

  • Chamber Music Residency Program (MUS:3489)
  • String Chamber Music (MUS:3482)

Choose from any music (MUS) courses, except those closed to music majors.

Recommended for string majors:

  • Audition Repertoire (MUS:3140), 1 semester hour
    • This course can be repeated.
  • Wind Instrument Repair and Maintenance (MUS:3830), 1 semester hour

String majors pursuing teacher licensure may also select music education classes as music electives:

  • Instrumental Techniques (EDTL:3605), 6 semester hours
  • Instrumental Conducting (MUS:3536), 2 semester hours
  • Methods and Materials: Gen. Music (EDTL:3620), 3 semester hours
  • Instrumental Methods and Materials (EDTL:3650), 2 semester hours

Note: These are the current requirements for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Please consult the your advisor for the requirements you will be held to based on your entry year.
  • Communication and literacy
    • Rhetoric, 4 semester hours
    • Interpretation of Literature, 3 semester hours
    • World Language, 0 to 16 semester hours
  • Natural, qualitative, and social sciences
    • Natural Sciences, 7 semester hours
    • Quantitative or Formal Reasoning, 3 semester hours
    • Social Sciences, 3 semester hours
  • Culture, society, and the arts*
    • Diversity and Inclusion, 3 semester hours
    • Historical Perspectives, 3 semester hours
    • International and Global Issues, 3 semester hours
    • Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts, 3 semester hours
    • Values and Culture, 3 semester hours

*Music majors may use up to three music courses (MUS) toward completing the General Education Requirements.

String master classes

String students benefit from a variety of guest master classes and concerts from internationally-acclaimed artists. Continue reading to learn who the guest artists are.

String master classes artists

  • Frank Almond
  • Charles Castleman
  • Paul Kantor
  • Jeremy Kittel
  • Sally O'Reilly
  • David Perry
  • William Preucil
  • Stanley Ritchie
  • Sheryl Staples
  • Almita Vamos

  • Nancy Buck
  • Jeffrey Irvine
  • Pamela Ryan
  • Peter Slowick

  • Zuill Bailey
  • Colin Carr
  • Bonnie Hampton
  • Joel Krosnick
  • Mark Summer

  • Robert Black
  • Christopher Brown
  • Craig Butterfield
  • Diana Gannett
  • Edgar Meyer
  • David Murray
  • John Patitucci
  • Paul Sharpe
  • Anthony Stoops
  • Hans Sturm

  • American String Quartet
  • Arianna Quartet
  • Ariel Quartet
  • Brentano String Quartet
  • Kenji Bunch
  • Calder Quartet
  • Cavani String Quartet
  • Chiara String Quaret
  • Daedalus Quartet
  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Dalí Quartet
  • Fry Street Quartet
  • Jupiter Quartet
  • Kronos Quartet
  • JACK Quartet
  • Jasper String Quartet
  • Joel Krosnick
  • Jupiter String Quartet
  • Lark Quartet
  • Linden String Quartet
  • Anne-Marie McDermott
  • Miro Quartet
  • Pacifica Quartet
  • Navah Perlman
  • Caroline Shaw
  • David Schifrin
  • St. Lawrence String Quartet
  • Ying Quartet

Performance opportunities

  • UI Symphony Orchestra
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Opera orchestra
  • Chamber music and concerto competitions
  • Student recitals
  • Studio seminars
  • Master classes
  • Chamber music master classes and seminars
  • Numerous orchestras and performing opportunities outside the university

Create your academic path

You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.

View General Catalog

Current course list

The MyUI Schedule displays registered courses for a particular session and is available to enrolled students. The list view includes course instructors, time and location, and features to drop courses or change sections.

View Current Courses

Strings faculty

Portrait of Anthony Arnone

Anthony Arnone

Associate Professor
Portrait of Scott Conklin

Scott Conklin

Portrait of Erin Freund

Erin Freund

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Portrait of Elizabeth Oakes

Elizabeth Oakes

Director of University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program
Professor of Instruction
Portrait of Volkan Orhon

Volkan Orhon

Portrait of Christine Rutledge

Christine Rutledge

Portrait of Katie Wolfe

Katie Wolfe

Associate Professor
Strings Area Head

Practice and perform

Need to book a music room, request an accompanist, check out audition information, rent a locker, or use a recording studio? Visit the Music Callboard for all scheduling and policy information.