Delivery: A mix of daytime, evening, Saturday, and online courses.
Start: Fall or Spring Semester, Summer Session, Full- or Part-Time.

About the Program

This program is a focused, two-year study of music that includes music theory, ear training, sight singing, music history, the study of a specific instrument or voice, and ensemble participation. This degree is intended primarily for students who plan to transfer to another college to complete a baccalaureate degree in music. It can be considered as the first two years of a four-year degree program in music.

Century College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Mission Statement: To prepare, inspire and empower students to achieve excellence in the field of music through a comprehensive music curriculum. The program focuses on helping students achieve advanced musicianship via concentrated study of a primary instrument, ensemble and performance experience, a complete music theory, ear training and sight singing curriculum, a comprehensive music history curriculum, along with general education requirements.

Potential Transfer Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Music
  • Music Performance
  • Conducting
  • Music Business
  • Music Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music Technology
  • Music Therapy


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Cost & Financial Aid

As a two-year public community and technical college, Century College receives funding from the State of Minnesota, keeping tuition rates significantly lower than private colleges and universities. With affordable tuition rates and financial aid and scholarship opportunities, our students avoid student loan debt.

Financial Aid

Century College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and our programs qualify for financial aid including grants, loans, and college work-study. Eligibility for financial aid is determined annually based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Century College’s Federal School Code is 010546.

Scholarship Opportunities

Each year, the Century College Foundation awards more than $300,000 in scholarships to Century College students involved in several areas of study. Students are encouraged to create an account and apply for scholarships online.

Tuition Cost per Credit Comparison: Century College $206.41, University of MN - TC $555.13, Private Colleges & Universities $1,416.

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Band playing music with conductor leading
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    Program Faculty

  • Experience: Eric Graham is a bassist, keyboardist, and composer. He has performed in venues from California to New York and is currently an active player in the Twin Cities. He played on the album Beyond Blues which won Minnesota Monthly’s “Excellence in Music” award and was for a time a top-10 album on various national jazz charts. A classically-trained composer, he holds a Masters Degree in Music Composition from the Peabody Conservatory. His music has been featured at the Society of Composers National Convention and the Ernest Bloch Composers’ Symposium; recently the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra presented his piece c’TRANE b’TOK as part of their Chamber Music Series. For his creative endeavors, Graham has received two Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grants, the Minnesota State Arts Board “Arts Leader” Award, an LRAC/McKnight Foundation Career Development Grant, a Mid-America Arts Alliance Grant, the Virginia Carty deLillo Prize for Composition, a National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Scholarship, a Peabody Institute Merit Scholarship, the ASCAP Raymond Hubble Music Award, and a National Honor Society Scholarship. Additionally, he has received both an Award for Excellence and Presidential Innovation Grant from Century College. He was raised in Barrow, Alaska - an Eskimo village 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
    Teaching Approach: Teaching is an absolute blast! I’d do this job even if I didn’t get paid.
    Education: MM, Music Composition, Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University
    Hobbies: My hobby and my job are the same - I call it a ‘jobby.’
    Eric Graham
    Faculty/Program Director
  • Experience: Helgeson has toured North America and Europe with Sonny Knight and the Lakers, Friendly Fires (UK), and McNasty Brass Band. He has performed on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” with McNasty Brass Band. Performances have also been broadcast on MPR, The Current, and PBS. He has performed with O.A.R., PJ Morton, Marie Osmond, Kurt Elling, Stokely, Fred Wesley, and John “Jabo” Starks.
    Teaching Approach: “I believe it is important for students to find their own voice on their instrument. I offer students my knowledge of trumpet and music while encouraging them to continue exploring music they love. This allows me to open students’ eyes to how deep music can go without them losing sight of why they love it in the first place.”
    Education: Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    Notable: Other notable performances include the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Fitzgerald Theater, the Armory, First Avenue, the Fonda Theater (Los Angeles), The Fillmore (San Francisco), Monterey (CA), Rochester (NY), Saratoga Springs (NY), Twin Cities (MN), Winnipeg (MB), and Pori (Finland) Jazz Festivals.Riley has worked with jazz ensembles, combos, concert bands, and trumpet sections from beginner to college level. He serves on the jazz faculty of Shell Lake Arts Center, WI, and maintains a private trumpet studio in the Twin Cities.
    Riley Helgeson
  • Jocelyn Kalajian
  • Benjamin Kunkel
  • Experience: Dr. Mier is a composer, music director and music educator residing in Hudson, WI. She has taught music at Century since 2007 and has lived in the Twin Cities area for over 30 years. During that time, she has music-directed 100+ shows and composed numerous scores for theatre, concert band, and orchestra, including numerous commissions and publications. She earned her Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Minnesota in 2005 and her M.A. in Music with a minor in Theatre Arts in 2002.At Century, music-directing credits include RENT, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Spring Awakening, Hairspray, Hair, and The Rocky Horror Show. Composing credits include The Play That Goes Wrong, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms. Her country/bluegrass band the Hell-Burnin’ Sinners began as the stage band for The Grapes of Wrath at Century in 2019.
    Teaching Approach: “My approach as an educator is much the same as in my roles as a composer, music director or performer – goal-oriented, collaborative, pragmatic, and always striving for excellence. I take my work seriously while never losing sight of how wondrous and fun music-making is, and I encourage my students to do the same.”
    Education: PhD, Music Composition, University of Minnesota; MA, Music Composition, University of Minnesota
    Notable: Recipient of the Minnesota Regional Arts Board Award (as a composer member of The New Musical Theatre Exchange), for the original musical Cinderesther (libretto by Brian Vinero), 2020Winner of the 2004 H. Robert Reynolds Band Composition Competition, for Theme and Deviations for Band (performed at Carnegie Hall on May 30, 2004)
    Hobbies: Martial arts & Sailing
    Shirley Mier