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BM Music Education - Guitar Emphasis

There is a long history of guitar education at Utah State University. Founder of the guitar program, Mike Christiansen, realized the need for guitar programs in secondary education and worked to create a degree that prepares college students for growing opportunities in guitar education. USU has 100% job placement for graduates of Guitar Education who seek jobs in secondary education. Students are required, and given the opportunity, to take classes in guitar pedagogy, instrumental methods, educational practices, guitar performance, and to participate in university ensembles. Ensembles include, but are not limited to, acousitc and electric guitar ensembles, jazz combo, jazz big band, and choirs. The strength of the Guitar Education degree at USU is unrivaled in the U.S.. With a strong faculty that is rooted in education, publication and performance, this is truly a uniquely strong program and degree offered at USU.



Professor Corey Christiansen

Assistant Professor

Guitar Program Coordinator

Professor Mike Christiansen

Professor Emeritus

Program Founder

Nate Ostermiller

Faculty Associate

Austin Weyand

Faculty Associate

Dr. Thomas Rohrer


Director of Music Education 

Are you a dedicated guitar player with skills, who has a passion for teaching? If so, then USU is the place for you. The Guitar Education degree at USU gives students exactly what they need to be prepared for a life in music education. From creating your own private studio and managing your business affairs, to working within the framework of the public school system (and everything in between), the USU guitar faculty works to prepare you to be a GREAT, IRREPLACEABLE teacher.

Our guitar pedagogy class is truly unique. This class prepares future teachers by introducing them to important guitar literature and method books for studio and classroom teaching. It also give future teachers ideas about sequencing classes and material, teaching in private lesson or group settings, and how to navigate the day-to-day aspects of being a guitar teacher. This class and many others including the Guitar Styles classes, Guitar History, and ensembles have been thoughtfully designed to make you a great teacher. If teaching is your passion, USU is the place for you.

View the degree map online in the University Catalog

Man playing electric guitar

In addition to applying for admission to the University, all applicants interested in pursuing a music degree must perform an audition on their major instrument to gain admission into the Department of Music. See specific audition information.

Acoustic Ensembles

The acoustic ensembles at USU play a wide variety of acoustic guitar music. From classical to traditional folk music, these ensembles give students the background they need to be good players and good teachers. Students play important works and arrangements by many of the best composers, arrangers and guitarists in the world. 

Electric Ensembles

From jazz to straight up rock n' roll, the USU electric guitar ensembles cover it all. Players in the electric ensembles come from a wide background and are able to display their skills playing not only great arrangements and compositions from top musicians, but also are given a chance to present and play their own arrangements for electric guitars, bass and drums.

 For additional information on ensemble opportunities at USU, see our Ensembles page.

USU Guitar Program Director, Corey Christiansen, is a celebrated guitarist. With several critically acclaimed albums under his own name as well as being a sought-after sideman, he brings a real-world perspective to USU. Many of this students have gone on to be in-demand performers, teachers and recording artists.

USU was recently named one of the top 25 programs in the U.S. for jazz guitar studies by Jazz Guitar Online

Many of our graduates go on to successful graduate studies, including the graduate program in Guitar Performance at USU, find employment within public school systems, run successful private studios, are recording artists, and find careers within the music industry.

USU guitar students and ensembles have received high praise from top artists around the country and have toured internationally. We strive to give our students the best education and best opportunities available within a collegiate structure.

Successful alums of the program include:

Pat Boyack - Celebrated blues guitarist, recording artist, resides in Dallas, TX.

Dylan Schorer - Fingerstyle guitar wizard, recording artist, studio musician and renowned author.

Sean Haley - Guitarist and studio engineer in Los Angeles.  Sound designer for Line-6.

Brent Wheeler - Head of Guitar Studies at South Plains College in Levelland, TX.

Quint Olsen - Head of the CRAM Guitar Program in Las Vegas, NV.

And many, many others who have had successful careers contributing to music performance and music education.