The Music Department at St. Olaf College provides aspiring musicians with a variety of training and performing opportunities that prepare them for the challenges of this rich artistic pursuit. Private lessons, course work, and ensemble participation are designed to nurture the growth of young performers in an environment of artistry, creativity, cooperation, support and respect.
The organ department at St. Olaf College is one of the largest undergraduate organ departments in the country. The program has maintained a stable enrollment for more than a quarter-century. Each semester, approximately 25 St. Olaf students take private lessons from one of two professional organ faculty. Instruction in organ for music majors and non-music majors is offered in private weekly half-hour or one-hour lessons. Organ students have the opportunity to perform as soloists in solo recitals, group recitals and weekly studio classes.
St. Olaf also offers a variety of courses that prepare students for careers as practicing church musicians or in organ performance . In addition, the January Interim term and the programs of independent study and research, and collaborative undergraduate research provide opportunities to create projects that fulfill individual needs and interest. Music majors may elect an interim or semester abroad; offerings include programs in Milan, Vienna or Copenhagen specifically designed for music majors.
Skifter Hall, adjacent to Christiansen Hall, houses seven practice instruments (four mechanical, three electro-pneumatic by Dobson, Wilhelm, Holtkamp, and Schliker.) Each room has been acoustically engineered to provide a satisfying practice experience. In addition, Skifter Hall houses the Tormodsgaard-Bakken Recital Hall (commonly known as Studio A), a small hall designed especially for organ teaching, practice and recitals. Its mechanical action Dobson organ is three manuals and 42 ranks.
In the fall of 2006 a new Holtkamp organ was installed in Boe Memorial Chapel one of the final steps in a complete renovation of this significant space on the St. Olaf campus. The chapel serves as a laboratory for church music majors as well as a locus for organ study and performance.