Music at NMU

training the music professional of tomorrow

Creating and participating in music are important keys to a rich and fruitful life, whatever your future holds.  Whether you're a music major or music lover, at Northern, every student can be immersed in performing, learning and listening.



News and Information

The Music Department is proud to designate Sara C. Parks as its Outstanding Graduating Senior for 2014. The faculty is looking forward to watching her successful teaching career. Read more about her accomplishment here.

sax quartet

Student Performance Competition Contestants

On Tuesday, March 18, nine NMU music majors participated in the department's Performance Scholarship Competition at Reynolds Recital Hall. The entire music faculty served as the judging panel for the competition, which awarded a prize of a $1000 scholarship. Read more here | Watch performances.

Scholarship Saxophone Quartet

Four NMU saxophone majors are tackling the challenges of chamber music performance with a wide range of repertoire for saxophone quartet. The group was formed to highlight student talent through on-campus performances as well as outreach to UP schools. Learn more about the members, view their performance schedule and repertoire, and view video clips at


Listening Walk Performed On Campus

The department welcomes Carrie Biolo as percussion instructor for the 2013-2014 school year as sabbatical replacement for Dr. James A. Strain. Ms. Biolo recently led two Music in Society classes on a Listening Walk based on the theories of composer Pauline Oliveros and acoustic soundscape artist R. Murray Schaefer. For more information,click here.

Dr. Elda Tate Retires


The music department announces the retirement of Dr. Elda Tate, professor of flute and music theory, after a distinguished NMU teaching career spanning an incredible 46 years. In addition to flute, theory, sight-singing, and other classes, Dr.Tate’s popular World Music class exposed students to her extensive scholarship in both Native American music and Japanese shakuhachi performance.  Her devotion to contemporary and avant-garde music influenced her flute students and faculty recitals throughout her career, and the OM Chamber Ensemble, an experimental music group she formed in 2012, will continue this legacy. As department head from 1981 to 1995, Dr. Tate provided strong leadership that continues to benefit the department today. “Dr Tate has been synonymous with NMU music for generations of students and faculty. It is hard to imagine the department without her,” said department head Robert Engelhart. “She has truly set the standard for musicianship, integrity, and commitment to excellence in teaching. The entire university community wishes her well in her retirement.”  Former students and colleagues wishing to commemorate Dr. Tate’s career are encouraged to send reminiscences to

2014-15 Scholarship Audition Dates
  • Saturday, November 15, 2014
  • Saturday, February 7, 2015
  • Saturday, February 21, 2015
  • Saturday, March 14, 2015

For more information click here

Community Calendars
saxophone The  NMU Music Department works closely with many arts and culture organizations in the thriving Upper Peninsula arts community. Check out some of the following: