Published: Dec. 13, 2023 By

Ashley CivelliThe fields of music and education are closely intertwined for transfer student Ashley Civelli.

Like any other musician, Civelli finds a very personal kind of magic in performing. As a clarinet player, Civelli depends on the instrument for inspiration. But she doesn’t operate in a musical vacuum. 

Soon after Civelli began connecting with music and performance on a personal level, she knew she wanted to share the experience with others.

“I’ve known I wanted to teach music since I was in 7th or 8th grade,” recalls Civelli, who graduates from the CU Boulder College of Music this month with a bachelor’s in music education (instrumental band emphasis). “It’s always been something that’s been there.”

The dual drive to play and to teach is part of what brought Civelli from Connecticut, where she completed the first two years of her college career, to CU Boulder—a place she felt had more to offer in terms of her professional and personal ambitions. Transferring to the College of Music halfway through her undergraduate studies boiled down to a “gut feeling,” she recalls, a sense that Boulder was the right place to refine her skills.

Two years later, that intuitive leap to a new learning environment has proved invaluable. “I don’t think I really knew what was in store for me while I was transferring. I saw opportunities as they came up and I discovered more than I thought I would,” Civelli says, crediting her professors, TAs and fellow students with helping her find new dimensions to her playing and teaching. “I’m a far better clarinet player than I ever thought I could have been, and a far better teacher as well.”

True to the college’s mission to develop multiskilled, multifaceted universal musicians, Civelli found opportunities in both realms. Between playing high-profile performances with concert ensembles and coaching high school marching band students, Civelli’s time in Colorado has deepened her firsthand experience as both a musician and an educator, roles that are equally important as she looks beyond graduation.

“One of my strong beliefs in music education is that I am developing lifelong lovers of music,” Civelli says. “Whether they end up becoming professional musicians or not, at the end of the day they will be consuming music for the rest of their lives. Having the ability to explain why they like or do not like a song they hear, or why a guitar riff is really neat, is important.”

Congratulations to Ashley and all our winter grads!