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College of Music
Assessment Activity through 1999

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 1997-98 and 1998-99
Assessment activities prior to 1997

Assessment activities in 1997-98 and 1998-99

The College of Music continues to strive for excellence in providing students with the best possible musical training. In the academic years 1997-98 and 1998-99, numerous events and personalities widened our offerings, including: the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Music, which helps our graduates to be more competitive in the music marketplace; the opening of a new $5.3 million rehearsal facility providing state-of-the-art acoustics for several instrumental ensembles; the hiring of outstanding new faculty and support staff, including a technology specialist who assists faculty in incorporating technological advances in the classroom; the establishment of a Wellness Program for music students coordinated with the Wardenburg Health Center and others; the acquisition of a Gamelan Orchestra from the island of Bali; outstanding guest artists who visited campus and worked with students, etc. Over 400 concerts and musical productions, most of them free, are presented at CU-Boulder each year by students, faculty, and guest artists. Highlights of fall, 1997 through spring, 1999, will be discussed in the categories listed below.


In the last 15 years, technological and societal forces have changed the way in which musicians work and the kinds of skills they need to be successful. With these needs in mind, the College of Music established the Entrepreneurship Center for Music in the fall of 1998. Directed by Catherine Fitterman, it is designed to assist students throughout their professional studies by providing internships, bringing guest lecturers from different fields within the music world to campus, and by collaborations with the CU-Boulder Colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Journalism. The Center has been awarded $525,000 over a five-year period from the Louis and Harold Price Foundation.


In March of 1999, the College hosted one of the year's most exciting events in contemporary music: a five-day Festival of Post-Soviet Culture. Many faculty and students participated in a series of concerts, master classes, and lectures featuring internationally recognized post-Soviet performers and composers including Giya Kancheli and Irina Schnittke. Students in the University Symphony Orchestra and chamber groups had the opportunity to interpret repertoire with direct input from the composer. The Festival also allowed the College to collaborate with the University's Center for Humanities and the Arts. A related symposium examined the societal context in which the featured music was created.

Another program, in 1998, also featured new music. Focusing on the work of renowned teacher Ross Lee Finney and his students, this festival, which was held March 7-17, offered a series of concerts, lectures, panels and master classes. Three Finney students have received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music: Leslie Bassett, George Crumb, and Roger Reynolds. All were on campus working with students individually and in public master classes. The event culminated in an orchestra concert presenting music by Crumb and the Colorado premiere of a work by CU faculty member Luis Jorge Gonzalez. Students appreciated the rare opportunity to work with such distinguished composers, who commented on the high level of the performances.

Many other guests on campus offered students world-class opportunities, including the following. Most events were free and open to the public, as well as to students.

  • String Quartet Symposium featuring the prestigious Takacs Quartet, which is in residence at CU-Boulder
  • A concert of a new arrangement of West Side Story by CU alum, Dave Grusin,(a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning composer, arranger, and producer)who spent a week on campus working with students and faculty in putting the concert together
  • "Billy Taylor Day" honoring the extraordinary jazz pianist whose trio played in Macky Auditorium and for the History of Jazz class (also eight high school and CU student combos participated in clinics, etc.)
  • Famed mezzo-soprano, Frederica von Stade and her accompanist, Martin Katz, presented master classes to enthusiastic audiences in Grusin Concert Hall
  • An international scholarly symposium entitled "Mahler's Legacy" brought 22 distinguished Mahler scholars from around the world for the most comprehensive event on Mahler to be held at an American university in many years
  • International Trombone Festival attracted some 500 trombonists for master classes and recitals by approximately 25 of the world's elite trombone players


  • Leslie Remmert and Quinn Patrick were Regional Finalists in the 1998 Metropolitan Opera Competition. Ms. Remmert also appeared in the Colorado Opera Troupe production of Madama Butterfly.
  • Jazz Studies and the Golden Buffalo Marching Band each released their first CD. Proceeds from the Marching Band recording will fund scholarships for seniors who have been in marching band for four years.
  • Five CU voice students were winners in the 1999 regional NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. Three other CU vocalists were semi-finalists. They competed against a field of 381 students from four states.
  • Jill Batcheller won the Colorado State MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) woodwind competition.
  • Petra Meyer-Frazier was appointed Interim Asst. Prof. of Music History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Mark Davenport was awarded CU's Graduate Teaching Excellence Award. He also received a major grant to conduct research in Oxford, England.
  • Mike Kornelsen won a Down Beat Magazine award for his work with the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Choir.
  • Andrew Custer will have his edition of a work by Amy Beach published by the prestigious publisher, A-R Editions.
  • Maxine Fawcett-Yeske in 1998 and John Gray in 1997 each received the Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities Award.
  • Pianist Angelina Gadeliya won the Sinfonia of Colorado's Young Soloist's Competition, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the orchestra in Boulder and Denver.
  • A CU saxophone quartet was invited to perform a new piece by doctoral student Joshua Pickenpaugh, at the World Saxophone Congress in Valencia, Spain.
  • The University Choir was selected to perform at the 1997 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in San Diego.

CU graduates also distinguished themselves professionally in many ways in 1997-99. Detailed information can be found in the newsletter, Music from Colorado. Many have commented glowingly on their years at CU:

Cynthia Lawrence, who received her BM and MM degrees from CU-Boulder, is a professional opera singer and frequent duet partner of Luciano Pavarotti. She states: "I consider myself incredibly lucky to have studied at CU. There I found a gifted faculty who were skilled in their fields and who provided a strong, diverse, and creative atmosphere where I could hone my performing skills. Wherever I am in the world, colleagues always ask me 'Where did you study?' and I proudly tell them 'The University of Colorado at Boulder.' "


Assessment activities prior to 1997

Entrance and exit exams: Students entering the college take tests in music history and music theory. These two subject areas represent a common set of courses required of all music majors whether they be Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, or Bachelor of Arts in Music degree students. When these students complete their music theory and music history sequences, they are given an exit exam to determine their growth in the two areas. The tests were devised by faculty committees. Scores from the entering and exiting exams for a random sample of each year's graduating seniors are reported and compared.

In 1989-90, results were reported separately for students who had auditioned for admission in four diffferent categories: wind/brass/percussion, string, voice, and keyboard. Students in the various specialties had different levels of pre-test performance and different amounts of gain. E.g., W/B/P and voice students entered the college with less knowledge of music history than the string and keyboard students had. One educational implication is that beginning music theory and history classes need to take notice of the students' performance field and include relevant exercises and assignments. Faculty were informed of this implication.

In subsequent years, results were reported for all specialties combined. The amount of gain in both areas increased sharply by 1991-92, possibly reflecting changes in lower-level courses based on the 1989-90 results. There were smaller increases or stable results in subsequent years.

  90-91 91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 96-97
Theory pre 22 28 31 31 37 20 21
post 34 52 59 61 62 44 39
gain 12 24 28 30 25 25 17
History pre 22 20 21 23 20 32 32
post 33 40 46 42 42 54 52
gain 11 20 25 19 22 22 20

In fall 1992, the three semester music theory and aural skills sequence of courses was replaced by a four semester sequence, to increase the understanding and retention of the subject. In addition, the sequence of required music history courses was altered in 1991-92 and the number of semesters of theory courses required was changed again in 1993-94.

Musical performance: is also evaluated regularly. Students' initial auditions and their final musical performances for their degrees are taped. Every other year, samples of these tapes are sent to outside experts for review. In 1990-91, audition and final performance tapes for 5 piano students and 8 clarinet students were evaluated by two nationally known teachers at major universities. The reviewers were James Bonn, School of Music, University of Southern California (piano), and Glenn Bowen, School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison (clarinet). Professor Bonn commented that "I am most impressed with the work that is going on at your school in the piano area. I expected the student progress to be excellent because of the fine reputation your piano faculty enjoys, but was still surprised by the depth of musicianship developed in a relative short period of their study." Of the clarinet students, Professor Bowen said "I am happy to congratulate the professors, teaching the instrumentalists that I heard, on having accomplished [their] missions. . . On second hearing, at the end of a school year with their University of Colorado professors, all showed a marked improvement."

Performance evaluation in 1992-93 focused on piano keyboard skill. Many students who enter our programs have had no previous piano experience if they are not piano majors. These students are required to pass between two and four semesters of piano taught in a class situation. The college believes this experience to be crucial to the students' musical development and has put a significant amount of resources into developing this aspect of the program. In 1992-93 a complete set of materials used in the class plus entrance and exit tapes for students in the course was sent to an outside evaluator, Dr. Patricia Montgomery, chair of the keyboard faculty at the University of Kentucky. After examining the keyboard musicianship course materials and listening to students' entrance and exit tapes, Professor Montgomery noted that "The class piano program is quite healthy...The students appear to have been well taught and to have made appropriate progress for two semesters' study."

Voice music majors' performace was evaluated in 1994-95. Tapes of their final recitals were Professor Warren Hoffner, a voice are a faculty member at the Arizona State University School of Music. Professor Hoffner commented "All of these students have had very good training in their undergraduate studies...All controlled their voices well...Good training was evident in their musical accuracy, and ensemble accuracy with their accompanists...your students compare very well to other seniors in colleges and universities in the United States."

Accreditation evaluation by professional organization: During the 1996-97 academic year, the college underwent reaccreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music. The undergraduate programs were cited in their final report in glowing terms. The Visitors' Evaluation of Students' Work section included the following statements: "The musical performances, the participation of undergraduate students in classes observed, and the student composition performed were all of excellent quality. Student morale appeared to be very high."

Further comments in the Performance section included: "The quality, amount, and diversity of performance are strengths of the College of Music, and the active program of student and faculty performance supports and enhances the undergraduate and graduate programs of the College... The NASM student recital showed a high level of solo and chamber music performance."

Finally, in the Recruitment, Admission, Retention, Advisement, and Recordkeeping section, the following statement was made. "The undergraduate advising program in the College of Music has been cited as a model for the entire campus. Indeed, the visitors learned that the unit had been designated by the University's Council on Academic Advising as the Outstanding Undergraduate Advising Program on the campus."

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Last revision 11/12/03

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