ARC Music Department

The Department of Music at American River College

Our department provide students with a foundation in music theory, history, performance, and production; a core curriculum that is essential to the professional life of the musician. Students may select between two degree tracks: A.A. in Music or A.A. in Jazz Studies and each having an emphasis of either - Instrumental or Vocal.

Enjoy a YouTube playlist with highlights from some of our concerts.

The Commercial Music Program is designed to prepare those who are seeking an exciting and rewarding career in the music industry. Students have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals, while earning A.A.Degrees and Certificates in either Recording or Music Business.

Hailed as one of the finest music departments in the greater Sacramento area. We have state-of-the-art facilities, world renowned faculty, top-notch students, and dedicated staff. Our music majors supplement their studies with courses from the many other excellent programs on campus and subsequently students from other departments enrich our ensembles and classrooms while broadening their own intellectual and artistic development. We successfully integrate academic studies with performance opportunities. We are small enough to foster a sense of community, yet big enough to offer a broad variety of courses and performing ensembles.

montage of different musical subjects


Chamber Singers & Concert Choir

Through its concerts both on and off campus, the Choral program offers the vocal performer the opportunity to sing in an ensemble of dedicated and committed musicians. Music from the Renaissance to the 21st Century provides a repertoire of exciting literature for the serious and amateur vocalist.

Jazz Bands

The Studio Jazz Ensemble brings together skilled musicians who are interested in the “Big Band” idiom, while the Latin Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Combos round out the instrumental jazz program by providing the opportunity for students to experience other jazz genres. 

Concert & Symphonic Bands

The Concert & Symphonic Band is for those who have previous experience playing a brass, percussion, or woodwind instrument. All styles of music are performed including classics, pops, and marches. Emphasis is on learning instrumental techniques and enjoying music making.


The seventy-piece Orchestra performs literature from all musical eras. They often team up with some of Sacramento’s finest instrumental soloists to perform works ranging from symphonies and concertos to film scores and jazz standards.

Vocal Jazz Ensembles

These ensembles have developed an outstanding reputation for their superb vocal jazz stylings. They perform jazz vocal arrangements of jazz standards mostly in the Swing, Hard Bop, and Contemporary styles. Singing in 5-part harmony, the ensemble blends this arranged writing with improvisation and solo work.

The ARC Commercial Music Program 

Can serve as a springboard to a rewarding career in audio recording or the music business by giving students the core skills needed to enter the entertainment industry. We'll help you explore your options, and put you on the path to success in the challenging and competitive commercial music industry. 

Commercial Music at American River College Video

ARC Commercial Music Program

Audio Recording

Learn how to operate mixing consoles, signal processors, digital audio workstations, explore microphone techniques, do remote recordings, and facilitate complete recording sessions in our two state-of-the-art recording studios. 

Pro Tools

AVID Pro Tools is perhaps the best sounding, most widely-used audio production software in the industry. You can take classes and even earn AVID Pro Tools Certification since American River College has been named as an official AVID Learning Partner.

Music Business

Explore the dynamics of the music industry through classes that address current practices and issues in publishing, entertainment, distribution, marketing, and promotions. 


Learn how to use music software such as Reason, Ableton Live, Finale, and more as tools to compose, sequence, and notate your own music.

Concert Sound

Hands-on classes teach sound system component operation, including microphones, mixers, effects, power amplifiers, and speaker systems. Learn troubleshooting, sound checking, and mixing sound for live performance and touring.


Learn the process of crafting a song including instrumental and vocal arrangements in jazz, pop, and rock musical styles. Practice the art of creating lyrics, formation of melodies and harmonies, popular music forms, and musical notation. 

TEACHING SPACES - 8 teaching spaces fully equipped with 5.1 surround sound, projection and tunable acoustics.

PIANO LECTURE HALL - 30 station YAMAHA CP300 piano lab, with a Steinway B 7’ grand, 5.1 Surround Sound.

THEORY & TECHNOLOGY LAB - 23 stations with AVID Pro Tools, YAMAHA CP300 keyboards, and iMac computers at each station.

RECORDING STUDIOS - 3 recording studios with state-of-the-art digital and analog equipment.

PRACTICE ROOMS - 12 sound-proof practice rooms, 28 acoustic & digital pianos, and a dedicated room for percussionists.

MUSIC RECITAL HALL - 125 seat, Kawai EX(B) 9’ grand, tunable acoustics, production lighting, and assisted listening.

THEATER MAIN STAGE - 365 seats, tunable acoustics & production lighting, assisted listening.

Start Your Journey Now

2019 Summer Jazz Workshop June 15, 2019