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The College of the Desert Music Department offers a comprehensive music major program leading to an AA-T degree with guaranteed transfer to the California State University system. Areas of concentration are offered in both traditional and jazz studies. Students pursuing a degree in music study their instrument or voice one-on-one through applied study with an experience professional musician, take a four semester sequence of music theory/musicianship courses, and perform in a variety of ensembles. Ensembles offered at College of the Desert included Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Jazz Combos, Chamber Singers, and Jazz Singers. In addition to the AA-T, COD offers certificates in Commercial Music, Musical Theatre, and Music Technology.

Performance Opportunities

The Music Department at College of the Desert offers a wide variety of performance opportunities for music majors as well as non-majors and the community. Instrumentalists can participate in the Jazz Band, Jazz Combos, and Symphonic Band. Vocalist can join the Chamber Singers and Jazz Singers, and those interested in musical theatre can participate in the fall productions staged in the Pollock Theatre and the main stage production staged in the McCallum Theatre in the spring. For more information on each performance area, see the following pages:

COD Jazz Studies

The Jazz Studies program at College of the Desert offers the full range of experiences for the developing jazz musician. Students majoring in jazz studies participate in the Jazz Combos and Jazz Band, they study improvisation and other elements of jazz performance in their applied lessons, and they gain a comprehensive knowledge of jazz theory through the music theory curriculum. In addition, students attend concerts and clinics by professional jazz artists. Each semester, the ensembles present a major concert, perform at college functions and in the community, and complete a studio recording that leads to the production of a CD every other year. All ensembles are open to majors and non-majors through audition. For more information on the jazz studies program, contact Dr. Anthony Fesmire at

Symphonic Band

The Symphonic Band at College of the Desert rehearses and performs a wide range of literate for symphonic band and often augments their program with literature for chamber wind ensembles and percussion ensemble. The Symphonic Band is under the direction of Michael Fleischmann and rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:00.

COD Vocal Arts

College of the Desert offers two choral ensembles, Chamber Singers and Jazz Singers, along with applied music opportunities for music majors and voice classes in traditional and contemporary voice for non-majors and students pursuing certificates in Musical Theatre or Commercial Music. The choral ensembles are under the direction of Timothy Bruneau and Dr. Darlene Romano oversees the vocal major program and the musical theatre program.

Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre program​ at College of the Desert offers relevant interdisciplinary training to students of all experience levels and gives the serious student an opportunity to commit to an active and challenging program of class work and play production in a nurturing environment. Musical theatre actors must be able to effectively interpret scripts and songs while also being well versed in a variety of dance styles. Additionally, they must be able to present themselves professionally in auditions. This course of study allows students to explore skills required for success in the field, to understand professional ethics and to prepare themselves for the rigorous physical and emotional demands of a musical theatre career.

Public performance opportunities include:

  • Fall semester: Main stage musical at the McCallum Theatre (by audition)

  • Spring semester: Musical Theatre Workshop (open enrollment)