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PBA Home > Institutional Research & Analysis > Outcomes Assessment > Unit Summaries > College of Music > Activities in 00-01 and 01-02

College of Music

Knowledge and skill goals for this undergraduate degree program are recorded in the description of the specific department in the most recent CU-Boulder catalog.

In some summaries of assessment activity, goals are referred to by number (e.g., K-2 is knowledge goal 2).

Assessment activities in 2000-01 and 2001-02

Each student accepted into the College of Music must pass an audition before a faculty committee. The school year 2001-02 perhaps holds the record for the largest number of auditions. (About 60% of applicants were accepted.) Students applying to music education must also pass an entrance interview, and composers must submit scores for review. Numerous checkpoints evaluating performance skill occur along the way to graduation including jury and proficiency exams, recital previews, required performances, etc., all of which are evaluated by faculty committees.

Since music is a performing art, the public has open access to the results of our instruction. Evaluation occurs in many venues by the public, the music faculty, and other distinguished artists and scholars on and off-campus, as listed below.

  • About 350 mostly free concerts on campus each year are attended by over 74,000 people.
  • Marching Band and Pep Band performances are annually viewed by over 400,000 people.
  • Students perform as soloists, chamber musicians, and as members of CU ensembles in programs for schools, conferences, festivals, etc., on and off-campus.
  • Internationally recognized authorities (visiting composers, performers, scholars) frequently interact with students on campus.
  • Students participate in local, national, and international competitions and master classes.
  • Students perform on CDs and on the internet.
  • Student performers and composers are critiqued by faculty and peers in weekly performance classes.
  • Student scholars present their work in public forums including a regular symposium on campus and at local and national conferences.

All music students take academic courses in music. We have extensive entrance (diagnostic) exams for incoming graduate students and placement exams in music theory for undergraduate students. There are no longer undergraduate exit exams because the final exams and other required work in the courses are more rigorous than the "outcomes" or exit tests administered to undergrads in past years. Graduate students must pass comprehensive exams appropriate to their area of specialization.

Other assessment methods include a questionnaire administered during the Dean's convocation series for new undergraduates and placement tracking of undergraduate music education students and graduate students. Plans are in place to collect more data on graduating seniors. The Entrepreneurship Center for Music launched the "Alumni Talk Back" campaign in spring, 2002, in order to learn how our former students are using their degrees; what their career paths have been; and what their advice would be for current students. The College of Music has also been evaluated on a national basis: the Master's program tied for 20th position among degree granting institutions in the United States, as reported in the August, 2000, U.S. News and World Report.


Critical questions include: How does the College of Music prepare its students to succeed in a world that is rapidly changing and extremely competitive for professional musicians? How do we create educational programs in response to changing music technologies? How do we respond to the shortage of K-12 teachers? How will we deal with funding cuts to the arts? How do we promote the cause of music for the benefit of the larger community?

A major step in our effort to make students more versatile and resourceful occurred with the opening of the College of Music Entrepreneurship Center in 1998-99. Its success has been due to the dynamic leadership of Catherine Fitterman, who was recently recruited by another university.

Two new Entrepreneurship courses were added to the course schedule in 2002: "Your Music Career," MUSC 4918, explores the many possible paths to a career in music. Topics include self-promotion, recording and production, the business aspects of being a performing musician, etc. As courses that teach "outreach skills" become increasingly common in music schools, "Performances in the Community," MUSC 4958, was created to assist students in developing and presenting educational programs for listeners in various settings. One of the first presentations to grow out of this class was a piano recital with commentary at the Boulder County Jail. "Topics in Entrepreneurship" was also recently added with these initial subjects: How to be a Working Musician and Prepared for the Soundcheck, which helps students to understand the recording process and also to produce their own CD.

Another significant new program was launched in 2001: the "Pendulum" concert series supports the creation and performance of new music, which has long been a goal of the College of Music. With the generous support of a private donor, these concerts present student, faculty, and guest composers and performers. Some have taken place in the CU Art Gallery as a collaborative effort with Fine Arts. An important advantage is that students are able to work with living composers, both peers and professionals.

With the addition of new faculty in recent years, the College now offers an array of world music ensembles including: Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, Latin American Ensemble, Mariachi Ensemble, Japanese Ensemble, and African Ensemble, which has been especially active in outreach activities since its inception in 2000-01. Its director, Prof. Kwasi Ampene, also created and conducted a summer program in Ghana in 2002 for both music majors and non-music majors.

The University goal to improve the writing skill of undergraduates has been taken very seriously. We recently added an advanced English writing course with a music focus offered in our building and taught by a College of Music alum, Prof. Linda Jenks-Colby.

In response to concerns that baccalaureate degree plans should be close to 120 credits, the BA degree in music was reduced from 126 to 120 credit hours after extensive discussion, comparison with other degree plans on campus, and investigation into the requirements of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

New degree plans have also recently been created including:

  • BA degree with an emphasis in Musicology
  • BM in Jazz piano
  • MM in Baroque Keyboard

In addition, the College has built upon its collaborations with various arts entities in our geographical region in recent years increasing opportunities for our students:

  • A private foundation provides funds for scholarships for CU music majors accepted at the Aspen Festival and School.
  • The Chautauqua Society of Boulder hosts the Takacs String Quartet Symposium public master classes.
  • The Colorado Music Festival hosts all Ekstrand Competition Finalists in a solo "twilight" concert, for which they are remunerated.
  • Throughout this year, the College is providing outreach activities to the Vail Valley, in cooperation with the Vilar Center.


Many distinguished visitors enriched our students' education offering different perspectives and professional contacts for the future. Selected highlights of student accomplishments and special events in 2000-2002 include the following.

Kara Guggenmoss, (MM Voice 2000) was the national winner of the 2002 NATS competition (National Association of Teachers of Singing), entitling her to present a New York recital in Weill Recital Hall with a recent CU graduate as accompanist.

Opera Colorado's Young Artist Program featured an entire cast of current and former CU students in their production of Hansel & Gretel. Prior to the performance, CU Master's student Jennifer DeDominici was awarded "Most Promising Young Opera Singer" by the Galen and Ada Belle Spencer Foundation. She was also an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera this past summer.

The 25th annual Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards gave national recognition to the following CU students in Jazz Studies:

  • Peter Sommer: Outstanding Performance - Jazz Instrumental Soloist
  • Andy Nevala: Outstanding Performance - Original Song
  • "Chip's Buffaloes:" Outstanding Performance - Jazz Instrumental Group

Jazz Ensemble I recorded a CD featuring the music of Glenn Miller. The group also performed for the University of Kansas Jazz Festival and was featured at the Colorado Music Educators Convention, performing at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs with distinguished jazz educator Jamey Aebersold. Guest artists/clinicians working with students on campus in 2001-2002 included trumpeter Bobby Shew, the USAF Falconaires Big Band, and pianist/composer Jim McNeeley. McNeely conducted and performed his own compositions with CU students in Grusin Hall. The live recording will be released as part of a CD featuring Jazz Ensemble I. Jazz Combos also performed in live broadcasts on Denver's KUVO- FM.

Heath Walton, BM saxophone (junior), placed third in the North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Competition at the University of North Texas.

Many students participated in the combined meetings of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Musicological Society, and the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, held on campus in 2002.

Some recent accomplishments of students from the flute studio of Prof. Alexa Still include: Terri Austin, BM flute (sophomore), placed second and received a cash prize in the Upper Mid-West Young Artist Competition in the Twin cities. The competition is open to flutists under the age of 30. Seniors Sasha Garver and Lindsay Gearhart were accepted in prestigious graduate programs: Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Michigan, respectively.

The cello studio, under the direction of Prof. Judith Glyde, has been working on a project using technology to demonstrate the technical and physical aspects of playing the cello. With the help of Technology Coordinator Judi Dressler and others, Prof. Glyde and graduate students Summer Boggess and Heather Greening are using digital cameras, virtual reality software and video editing software to capture cellists on a platform. The resultant presentation will consist of slides containing 360-degree virtual reality views of a still image as well as videos showing cello technique from various angles and distances. The project's goal is to address repetitive motion injuries that often plague string players.

Legendary cellist Bernard Greenhouse (a student of Pablo Casals and a member of the Beaux Arts Trio for 35 years) worked with the entire cello class for two days on campus.

Guitarist Christopher Parkening gave a master class in conjunction with his Artist Series performance at CU. Very generous with his time, Mr. Parkening stayed well beyond the end of the class giving individual attention to the student performers and answering questions from auditors.

Various distinguished flutists worked with CU students on campus including virtuoso James Galway; Jeanne Baxtresser, known for her principal flute playing in the New York Philharmonic; and the renowned English flutist, William Bennett.

The Entrepreneurship Center sponsored several workshops with well- known guest clinicians in the past few years, including Marilyn Horne, whose question/answer session with students was entitled "Singing for a Living;" Jeffrey Siegel who worked with students in programming and in speaking to an audience (what to say and how to say it); and Mary Lou Falcone, one of the most respected classical music publicists in the industry, whose three-day seminar addressed many aspects of building a performing career.

CU alum, Dave Grusin, returned to campus in 2001, to conduct the world premiere of his orchestral piece, Chorale for Open Space. The work was commissioned by the President's Office to commemorate the University's 125th anniversary. Mr. Grusin has received numerous prizes, including ten Grammy Awards and an Oscar for the best film score in 1988. In addition to his jazz, film music, technology, and environmental activities, he serves on the College of Music Advisory Board.

In May, 2001, the University Singers under the direction of Prof. Joan Conlon traveled to China for concerts in Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai. In spring, 2000, the University Choir under the director of Prof. Lawrence Kaptein performed for the Colorado State Senate. Several senators expressed their desire to have them appear at the Capitol on an annual basis.

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Last revision 11/12/03

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