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Trumpet studio 2


Welcome to the trumpet studio at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music! 

The CU Boulder trumpet studio is a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to achieving the highest standards of musical performance and pedagogy through the development of extraordinary technique and musicality. Under the direction of Professor of Trumpet Ryan Gardner, the CU Boulder trumpet studio believes dedicating themselves to these concepts will prepare trumpeters to be successful in entering any career in the musical world. Highlights of Gardner’s teaching include students winning the National Trumpet Competition 12 times over the last nine years, winning every classical division in the International Trumpet Guild Competitions, winning both brass divisions in the Music Teachers National Association solo competitions, achieving success in the Fischoff Chamber competition, and earning performing jobs in military bands and symphony orchestras, collegiate teaching positions, Fulbrights and secondary high school positions.

The trumpet studio provides a supportive yet challenging environment designed to help students maximize their potential. Reaching the highest level of musicianship is achieved through mutual effort of the teacher and student, which is why the studio remains active and vigilant to ensure success. Weekly studio activities include warm-up classes, studio class, chamber ensemble coachings, trumpet orchestral excerpts class and individual lessons.

The studio is also fortunate to have direct access to Justin Bartels, principal trumpet of the Colorado Symphony and instructor of trumpet at the University of Colorado Boulder.

There are three Graduate Teaching Assistantships designated for the trumpet studio. Two perform in the award-winning Graduate Brass Quintet and the other serves as a studio assistant. Teaching assistants will help teach non-major trumpet students, hold office hours, provide sectionals and give extra help with lesson materials, which allows them the opportunity to grow as pedagogues. All TAs play in major ensembles without exception.

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Academic programs

There are three music major degree programs available to undergraduate trumpet students at the University of Colorado Boulder, designed to accommodate the needs of all types of potential music majors:

  • Bachelor of Music in performance (BM) is a highly intensive approach to performance with the goal of attaining an advanced degree or to be gainfully employed as a performer and/or teacher at the college level.
  • Bachelor of Music Education (BME) is a program with a strong emphasis on performance, as proficiency on your instrument is a key element for teaching others how to perform. This program also explores music education and pedagogy in great depth with the goal to be gainfully employed as a secondary educator.
  • Bachelor of Arts in music (BA) is a program with less intense musical rigor than the BM degree, but can be tailored to a students individual needs and interest. This program is well-suited to students also interested in other academic or musical pursuits. Please note that there may be a strong emphasis on lessons, performance and ensemble participation if desired. 

There are also four degrees offered at the graduate level at the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • Master of Music in trumpet performance (MM) is a highly intensive approach to performance with the goal of attaining an advanced degree or to be gainfully employed as a performer and/or teacher at the college level.
  • Master of Music in trumpet performance and pedagogy (MM) is almost identical to the MM in performance with the exception of different course requirements. This degree is for those interested in an intense approach to performance as well as a pedagogical background to offer a broader range of career options.
  • The CU Boulder College of Music also offers Artist Diploma programs in orchestral performance, chamber music and solo instrumental performance for exceptionally gifted pre-professionals.
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in trumpet performance and pedagogy (DMA) is the highest degree offered at the CU Boulder College of Music. DMA students develop highly individualized curricula in the pursuit of their personal career goals.


All students participate in ensembles, which include the CU Symphony Orchestra, CU Philharmonia Orchestra, CU Boulder Chamber Orchestra, CU Boulder Wind Symphony, CU Boulder Symphonic Band, CU Boulder Opera Orchestra, CU Boulder SoundWorks (a new music series), CU Boulder Early Music Ensemble and chamber music.

During their time at CU Boulder, graduate and exceptional undergraduate students are encouraged to work in the many professional ensembles available in our region. Trumpet students perform regularly as full-time or extra members with ensembles including the Boulder Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, Cheyenne Symphony and the Fort Collins Symphony.

The trumpet studio greatly benefits from our collaborative piano program. Under the direction of Margaret McDonald and Alexandra Nguyen, trumpet majors have the opportunity to develop collaborative skills by performing solo repertoire with collaborative piano majors. These partnerships are coached by both faculty members and are provided with performance opportunities. 

Additional enrichment comes from frequent guest recitals and master classes by some of the world’s leading trumpeters: Marie Speziale, Tom Hooten, Karin Bliznik, Tom Cupples and Michael Sachs, to name just a few. Students are also encouraged to explore the many resources at our College of Music including the Entrepreneurship Center for Music, the Musicians’ Wellness Program and our Music Technology Program.  

We offer a fully comprehensive music program within a world-class academic institution. Students are inspired by the sheer beauty of Boulder and—with its proximity to Denver’s flourishing arts scene—it’s an ideal place to study.

ryan gardnerRyan Gardner

Associate Professor of Trumpet Ryan Gardner is originally from Santa Monica, California. He earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music with highest distinction, a Master of Music from Rice UniversityShepherd School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music. While in New York, he worked with former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Mark Gould, and the former second trumpet player of the New York Philharmonic, Vincent Penzarella. Gardner’s thesis is based on Penzarella’s pedagogical techniques and philosophies, which include innovative ideas on breathing, air usage and brass playing, as well as performance psychology. MORE

justin bartelsJustin Bartels

Lecturer of Trumpet Justin Bartels has been on faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder since 2012 and is Principal Trumpet with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2008. Over the past several years, his students have gone on to high-level graduate programs at several schools, including Indiana University, Temple University, the University of North Texas and Arizona State University. Student accomplishments include military bands appointments with the United States Marine Band, United States Navy and Air Force Academy. Students hold positions with professional symphony orchestras and numerous positions in higher education. MORE