Music Minor

At Parkside, students enjoy the full academic and musical challenge of a larger institution while retaining the advantage of close student-faculty relationships. 

The Music Department is staffed by a faculty of highly qualified teaching performers who have concert experience and are active in teaching, service, research, and performance.

The objective of the music minor is to provide students from any area of study with the opportunity to be introduced to the field of music through theoretical, historical and performance experiences.

An audition is required for acceptance in the minor.

Learn more about the Music Department at Parkside. 

Auditions are required for entry into the Music major and minor. Auditions are held on scheduled dates throughout the academic year. Your audition day is more than an occasion to demonstrate your musical talent; you'll also tour our incredible performance facilities, meet with department faculty, and discover more about the program from current students. 

Read more about auditions on the Music Department page.

Parkside has many great academic and talent scholarships 500 Internal Server Error

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Even more scholarships are available to music majors, minors, and ensemble members. Music Department scholarships are competitive and valuable. In fact, the value of these scholarships may be awarded up to the full cost of tuition for exceptional student musicians. 

Read more about scholarships on the Music Department page.

You'll gain valuable experience as a music major by playing alongside your peers with expert guidance by acclaimed faculty. 


As a music major at Parkside, you'll benefit from:


  • Personal and individual attention by a faculty of dedicated, first-class musicians and educators
  • Career oriented curriculum
  • Unique Music Education Program (all courses in music)
  • Performance opportunities with over 60 concerts per academic year
  • Professional experience by guest artists and master classes
  • State of the art facilities
  • Large ensembles open to all campus students

Career opportunities for teaching music include instruction at the elementary, secondary, and university levels and independently with the opportunity to establish privately owned music studios. Many musicians who perform professionally can do so on a part-time basis opening up fields beyond teaching and performing. 

Opportunities exist in many related areas such as music publishing, radio and television, arts management, recording engineering, and various other aspects of the music industry.


Laura Rexroth |

Faculty Highlights

  • Alvaro Garcia
    Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras
    Associate Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

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  • Russel Johnson
    Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Band

    Trumpeter Russ Johnson is a recent Midwest transplant after spending 23 years as an important member of New York City’s jazz community. He has 7 recordings as a leader or co-leader and performed on more than 75 recordings as a sideman. Russ has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, and Joe Lovano. In addition, he has recorded and/or performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians currently on the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby. Russ has performed in more than 40 countries across the globe. His groups have recently performed at the Chicago, Winter Jazz Fest (NYC) Hyde Park, (Chicago) and Bergamo, (Italy) jazz festivals. His most recent recordings, Meeting Point (Relay Recordings) and Still Out To Lunch! (Enja Records) received 4 1/2 & 4 stars respectively from Down Beat Magazine and appeared on many “Best Recordings of 2014/5” lists including Down Beat, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, NYC Jazz Record and Magnet magazine. Russ will be releasing a new recording by his “Headlands” Quartet in 2017. Russ is also active as an educator/clinician, having taught at colleges and universities across the U.S. and Europe. He currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at UW-Parkside where he won the university wide “Stella Gray” Teaching Excellence award in 2016.

  • James Kinchen
    Professor of Music and Director of Choral Arts

    James Benjamin Kinchen, Jr., is a Jacksonville native who has studied at Jacksonville University, Southern Illinois University, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Before coming to UW-Parkside, he has taught and conducted music in Florida, Illinois, Virginia, and North Carolina. Since 1989, Dr. Kinchen has served Parkside as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. He is driven by his passion for music and for people, and for bringing people together to experience excellence in the choral art. He has conducted on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center. His choral travels have taken him to Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Austria, Cuba, and India. He has served as President of Wisconsin Choral Directors Association and the North Central Division of American Choral Directors Association and is in frequently demand as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator. He is a frequent presenter at choral and music conferences and conventions, presenting on interpretation of the “spiritual” and other topics of interest to choral teachers and artists. He is also a member of Chorus America, the International Federation for Choral Music, the National Association for Music Education, Center for Black Music Research, and National Collegiate Choral Organization. He has won teaching excellence, faculty service, and diversity awards. He directs the three university choirs: University Chorale, Voices of Parkside, and Master Singers, as well as Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He also teaches courses in conducting, choral conducting, choral/vocal materials and methods, music appreciation, and African American music. 

  • Laura Rexroth
    Assistant Professor and Director of Bands

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