Performance Opportunities and Degree Programs

Whether you major in Music Performance, Music Education, Commercial Music, Music Business, Bachelor of Arts in Music, or something else entirely, your opportunities for performance are unlimited at Millikin! You willl play in the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra side-by-side with Millikin faculty and professionals from across central Illinois.

In addition, we feature:

  • A student string orchestra (String Arts Ensemble)
  • A student chamber orchestra (Sinfonietta)
  • Student chamber ensembles

There are frequent opportunities to play sessions in Millikin's state-of-the-art recording studio plus the chance to "earn as you learn" performing for weddings, receptions, banquets and other community and social events.

Numerous Musical Theater, Theater, and Opera productions offer opportunities to perform in pit orchestras and on stage. There are weekly Student Recitals and monthly String Area Recitals. The annual Concerto/Aria Competition selects winners who perform with the MDSO in concert. Every year the Hollis Prize Competition selects the outstanding classical performer in the School of Music. The winner receives a $2000 cash prize and additional performance opportunities.

The Amati String Scholarship

The Amati String scholarship, offered to School of Music students, covers up to full tuition for exceptionally talented string students. For more information on The Amati String Scholarship please click the button below or contact Kim Dial at

More Info

Why choose Millikin for your music degree?

  • Millikin is one of the largest undergraduate music schools in the country
  • We have a 96% placement rate for our graduates
  • Earn your degree in four years, not five like so many other programs
  • Commercial Music majors get "hands-on"experience in the Millitrax recording studio
  • Students get the opportunity to tailor their degree to their special interest: performance, songwriting, arranging, recording technology, or education
  • Traditional business courses, music-specific business courses, and internships prepare students for a career in the business side of the music industry

Our Dean’s Scholarship for Excellence in Music and Talent Awards provide scholarship aid to students of all majors who demonstrate the highest level of performance at their entrance audition. Please contact our Audition Coordinator, Kim Dial at to schedule an audition or a sample lesson.

Audition Requirements

For Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass:

  • Perform two contrasting solo pieces
  • An etude (For violin: Dont Op. 37, Mazas, Kreutzer, or similar; For cello: Dotzauer, Lee, Merk, Schroeder, Popper, Duport or similar)
  • Three-octave major and minor scales for Violin, Viola, and Cello; two-octave major scales for Bass
  • Sight-read selected musical examples

Georgia Hornbacker, violin, Sharon Chung, viola, Amy Catron, cello, and Manley Mallard, guitar



Aaron Jacobs

For the past twenty years, Dr. Aaron Jacobs has taught at universities, academies, music schools, and summer camps throughout Ohio, Maine, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In addition to his post at Millikin University, he mentors a full studio of 20+ violinists and violists, and a staff of 15+ graduate and post-doctoral instructors through the School of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he founded the Illinois String Academy as part of the School of Music’s public engagement offerings. At UIUC he is also Co-Director of The Paul Rolland String Pedagogy Workshop for professional musicians and teachers, and Director of "Young Strings on the Move!" – The Paul Rolland String Camp. At Millikin University in Decatur Illinois, Aaron is a faculty member in applied violin and string pedagogy for university music majors. Prior to that he served as Clinical Assistant Professor of Violin at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. In 2015 he created a violin program for Danville, IL school district 118, which offered violin instruction to nearly 200 first and second grade students at two elementary schools in Danville, IL. Aaron’s private students consistently win top honors and receive numerous performance awards each year, including solo concerto performances with orchestras as well as admission and scholarship offers to prestigious collegiate music institutions.

As a performer, Aaron is in high demand as a soloist and chamber and orchestra musician. He has performed as concertmaster or section leader for more than a dozen different orchestras throughout Illinois, and currently serves as Concertmaster for the Millikin-Decatur and Danville Symphony Orchestras. As an active chamber and solo recitalist, Aaron has performed throughout the United States and Europe. He has been the recipient of several honors and awards, and a prizewinner at international competitions. His education includes a BM degree in Music Education and Artist's Certificate in performance from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a MM degree in Violin Performance and String Pedagogy from Northwestern University, and a DMA degree in Violin Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Sharon Chung

Violist Sharon Chung enjoys an active life as a chamber and orchestral musician in Central Illinois. In addition to teaching at Millikin University she also teaches at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Sharon currently performs as principal viola with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and enjoys playing solo and chamber recitals with her husband, percussionist Jeremy Brunk. Sharon is also an active clinician, teaching at the Chicago Suzuki Institute, Illinois State University’s Viola Day, and at Millikin University’s All-State String Seminar. She has been co-principal viola of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and spent two summers with the National Repertory Orchestra, as principal violist and a featured soloist in Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote. As a chamber musician, she has performed in master classes for members of the Alban Berg, Cleveland, Tokyo, and Pacifica String Quartets.

Sharon graduated magna cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Music degree in performance. She also holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, where she studied with Roland Vamos. She is a registered Suzuki teacher and has completed numerous hours of training with notable Suzuki teachers Mark Bjork, Michele George, Alice Joy Lewis, and Pat D’Ercole.


Amy Catron

Amy Catron, an active performer and teacher, is a versatile cellist appearing as soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. She is principal cellist with Sinfonia da Camera, and Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana (BACH). Ms. Catron has played as principal cellist with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Illinois Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. She is the cellist with the Arcadia Chamber Players and the Kalnin-Catron duo. As past president of the Tuesday Morning Musical Club, Ms. Catron appears frequently as a chamber musician. Solo appearances have been with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (Florida), the Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, and the Illini Symphony at the University of Illinois.

In January 2012, she was featured soloist on the Brahms Double Concerto in Kankakee with the Olivet Nazarene Symphony Orchestra, and was soloist in April 2012 with the Decatur Youth Symphony, and in May 2013with the Sangamon Valley Community Orchestra in Tchaikowsky’s Rococo Variations. Ms. Catron has been on faculty and has performed at numerous summer festivals including the International Chamber Music Festival (Bulgaria), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Illinois Wesleyan Chamber Camp and Cello Camp, Bands of America Camp, and Illinois Summer Youth Music Programs. She was headmaster of the Advanced Cello Camp for ISYM. She also has held sabbatical replacement positions at both Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Prior to moving to Illinois, she held a position with the Naples (Florida) Philharmonic. She has performed with many other orchestras including the Florida Philharmonic, the Akron and Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestras, and the Richmond Symphony. She has been seen and heard in live concerts with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Harry Connick Jr., Patti Lupone, and others. Her reviews of new music publications frequently appear in the national American String Teachers Association Magazine. Ms. Catron received her B.M. from Eastman School and M.M. from University of Akron. She teaches applied cello, lower string instrument methods, and chamber music at Millikin University, in addition to maintaining an active private teaching studio in the Champaign-Urbana area.


Diana Rai

Adjunct Assistant Professor Diana Rai holds the Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She teaches double bass to students of all levels, and cello through the Preperatory Department. She is also active teaching string classes in the Decatur Public Schools. Professor Rai has performed in many regional orchestras and chamber groups. She has also performed in masterclasses throughout the USA, Canada, France, Scotland, Norway and Australia.