College of Music

Music students play at Macky Christmas

Daniel P. Sher, dean
301 UCB    phone: 303-492-6352    fax: 303-492-5619  
college website:

THE COLLEGE OF MUSIC provides specialized training designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in music. The college offers three undergraduate degrees, two certificate programs, and four graduate degrees; numerous performance opportunities are also available. 

Established by the Regents of the University of Colorado in 1920, the College of Music is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.


The mission of the College of Music at CU-Boulder is to promote excellence in music through distinguished instruction in performance, composition, musicology, theory and teacher preparation, and to provide opportunities for performance, creative activities, research and scholarship, and teaching.

The college is dedicated to:

  • providing music majors the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding, and ability in the various aspects of music;
  • preparing students for careers as performers, composers, scholars, teachers, administrators, and other professionals in the field of music;
  • broadening and deepening the knowledge and understanding of music through research, teaching, creative activities, and publication; and
  • enriching the lives of students and faculty as well as the community, state, nation, and the world with a variety of performances and publications.

The College of Music is an academic community committed to maintaining a climate of mutual respect and collegiality showing appreciation for a diversity of musical cultures and individual backgrounds.

The widely varied functions of music in the world today present many challenging and interesting opportunities for teachers, performers, creative artists, technicians, and commercial personnel. While these different pursuits require specialized emphases, the faculty of the College of Music recognize the musical and educational experiences that are common to all. Therefore, each curriculum of the College of Music is designed to present music as an integrated whole. Solo performance and technique, ensemble performance, historical and theoretical studies, concert and recital opportunities, and elective courses both inside and outside the college are intended to give students a balanced approach to musical understanding and musicianship. 

The college maintains a ratio of approximately one faculty member for every 10 students. This enables students to benefit from dynamic, personal interaction with their professors. The college also offers students regular academic advising to ensure that they complete their degrees without unnecessary delay.

In addition to training in the various professions of music, the college provides general music studies and activities for the non-major; broad cultural programs (concerts, recitals, lectures) for the university and Boulder communities; favorable conditions for research in music; and service activities to the state and nation.

The degrees bachelor of arts in music, bachelor of music, and bachelor of music education are granted by the university, upon recommendation of the faculty of the College of Music, to those who have successfully completed prescribed requirements.

Students must complete graduation forms and schedule a final checkout appointment by December 15 for May/August graduation and by October 1 for December graduation.

Undergraduate Education in Music

The undergraduate degrees in music emphasize knowledge and awareness of:

  • solo performance and technique, including the various musical styles used in compositions for students’ musical instruments or voice; 
  • each composition performed, notation and editorial signs used in the compositions performed, and repertoire for the students’ performance medium;
  • ensemble performance, including familiarity with major composers in the student’s performance medium and the techniques necessary to blend a number of individual musicians into an ensemble;
  • concert and recital opportunities, including literature composed for different performance forces;
  • theoretical studies, including tonal harmony, counterpoint, voice-leading, and notation; formal principles and analytical techniques for tonal music; and instruments in score, including the concert pitch of transposing instruments and nomenclature used in scores; and
  • historical studies, including representative works in the canon of musical literature from chant to the present, the general outlines of the history of music from the Middle Ages to the present, music in the United States, and musical cultures other than those of Europe.

In addition, students completing any of the degrees in music are expected to acquire the ability to:

  • perform solo and ensemble repertoire demonstrating musical artistry, technical proficiency, and stylistic understanding;
  • demonstrate an understanding of theoretical studies, including sight-reading and ear training; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of historical studies including the analysis of stylistic periods and music of non-Western cultures.

Graduate Degree in Music

All graduate degrees in music are granted by the Graduate School of the University of Colorado upon the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Music and approval by the administrative officers of the Graduate School. The information supplied here is supplemental to and must be read in conjunction with the information contained in the Graduate School section. Other information regarding rules applying to graduate degree students in music may be found online at