Cassandra McMahan graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) in 1973 with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, studying piano with Audun Ravnan.After graduation she began working at Faith Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, as choir director while doing graduate work at UNL. In 1989 she completed a certification program in music education from the university and began full-time work at Faith, where directed the church music program and taught music in the elementary school and preschool.
In 2002, she earned a Master of Science in family life ministry at Concordia University, Nebraska. She began teaching music education at Concordia in 2008, and in 2009 she completed her colloquy through Concordia and became a commissioned minister of religion. She retired from her position at Faith in 2014, but still performs as a collaborative pianist and plays for weddings and funerals.
In 1990, McMahan sang in the chorus for the Brahms Requiem under the direction of Robert Shaw at Carnegie Hall. She was an inaugural singer in the Lincoln Lutheran Choir under its founding director, Carlos Messerli. She later became the director of the choir for several years. Over the course of her career, she has presented a number of workshops for teachers and has created a webinar on the importance of learning music in the same way we learn language.
McMahan is a widow and has three adult children and six grandchildren. She loves to read, play bridge, hike and travel. Mostly she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. She teaches piano and ukulele to her oldest granddaughters. She also volunteers in the TeamMates school mentoring program. She considers it a blessing to teach the students at Concordia exciting and effective strategies for teaching music to others.