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Music Major, B.A.

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Bachelor of Arts in Music

MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Arts degrees with concentrations in music and music theory offer vigorous study of music alongside a strong liberal arts education, equipping students with versatile skills that are highly valued in the broad spectrum of music-related careers.

Music at MSU Denver offers extensive performance opportunities with over 20 ensembles, private instrument instruction, and access to over 200 concerts and events per year including masterclasses with visiting artists, competitions, and music festivals.

Music concentration options for the Bachelor of Arts degree are:


Concentration in Music

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Music requires a minor in a secondary area of interest, so you can customize your degree to suit your personal talents or interests. Past B.A. Music students have minored in business, marketing, graphic design, or journalism to hone their skills for desired careers in the music industry and arts administration.

All music majors must pass an audition on their primary instrument for entry into MUS 1710 Private Instruction I.

Concentration in Music Theory (Extended B.A.)

If music theory is your passion, the Bachelor of Arts extended degree in Music Theory (which does not require a minor) allows you to dive deep into classical and jazz theory, composition, arranging, and orchestration.

All music majors must pass an audition on their primary instrument for entry into MUS 1710 Private Instruction I.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

Choir concert at MSU Denver

With state-of-the-art performance venues and internationally recognized professors, the Department of Music at MSU Denver serves as a leader in the education of performers, teachers, and music industry professionals. Our program flows through classical, jazz, commercial, and global music to prepare you for the broad range of opportunities that exist for today’s musicians.

MSU Denver’s music faculty are among the finest performers and educators in the nation, committed to building a familial atmosphere for students and bringing a passion for music education that will ignite your creativity and inspire you to think about music in innovative ways.

Our location in vibrant Downtown Denver places you in the heart of the city’s rich and diverse cultural district. We provide ample performing opportunities both on and off campus with concerts at Dazzle, the Mercury Café, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to perform in fully-staged operas, musicals, and festivals hosted annually on campus like the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival and the Jazz Celebration. We partner with organizations such as the Colorado Wind Ensemble and the Playground Ensemble to give you experience working with professional musicians.

The Music Department at MSU Denver is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.


Facilities and Resources

As a music major, you’ll study and perform in the King Center on the Auraria Campus, and the Kalamath building in the Santa Fe Arts District, which include:

  • Concert Hall (King Center)
  • Recital Hall (King Center)
  • Performance Venue (Kalamath)
  • Music Technology Computer Labs (Plaza and Kalamath)
  • Theatre (King Center)
  • Music & Dance Studio (King Center)
  • Practice Rooms
  • Private Instruction Studios
  • Smart Classrooms and Rehearsal Spaces

You will also be studying on a campus within walking distance of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and many music venues.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

As a B.A. Music graduate, you’ll have myriad opportunities for music-related jobs, which can be further expanded by your minor field of study. Here are examples of median annual salaries for music-related positions according to

  • Arranger $54,400
  • Concert Promoter $78,553
  • Entertainment Attorney $117,567
  • Music Critic $52,608
  • Music Librarian $55,169
  • Piano Tuner $39,548
  • Publicist $47,139
  • Record Producer $68,168
  • Recording Engineer $41,129
  • Sound Technician $41,129
  • Tour Manager $54,317
  • Music Therapist $50,934
  • Orchestrator $62,377

Featured Faculty

Cherise LeiterCherise Leiter

Director of Composition & Music Theory

Born in Florida, Cherise Leiter received a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Florida where she studied with Dr. Budd Udell. An active composer whose output includes works for choir, piano, voice, carillon, orchestra and assorted chamber ensembles, her compositions have been performed throughout the United States, France, Scotland, and Japan. She was a finalist in the 1997 Young American Choral Composers Competition sponsored by G. Schirmer, in the Ithaca College 25th annual Choral Composition Competition, and in the ‘Outside the Bach’s’ Choral Composition Competition.

Ron MilesRon Miles


Ron Miles has established himself as one of today’s most prominent jazz musicians. He has released numerous records as a leader on the Capri, Gramavision, and Prolific labels, and is a longtime collaborator with jazz luminaries Bill Frisell and Brian Blade. His release, I Am a Man, featuring Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan, and Brian Blade, was named one of the Best Albums of 2017 by the New York Times and NPR. He was elected into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2018, Miles shared a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Still Dreaming with saxophonist Joshua Redman, drummer Brian Blade and bassist Scott Colley.

Elizabeth MacyElizabeth Macy

Assistant Professor of Musicology

Elizabeth Macy coordinates the various world music ensembles at MSU Denver, including the gamelan orchestra Manik Kusuma, the African Drum & Dance Ensemble, and holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, an MA in Ethnomusicology from UC Riverside, and a BA in Music from Colorado College. Her dissertation research addressed the function of music tourism in post-disaster economies; in particular, it focused on the function of music tourism in the recovery and rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans and in Bali, Indonesia after the 2002 and 2005 terrorist bombings. Dr. Macy’s current and ongoing research focuses on Balinese master musician I Made Lasmawan and his wife Ni Ketut Marni and the music and dance traditions of the village of Bangah di Baturiti in Bali. Currently a performing member of Denver’s Gamelan Tunas Mekar, she began studying the music of Indonesia with Lasmawan in 1996. She is a founding member of Sanggar Manik Galih, a transnational music and dance studio based in Bali and Colorado, and teaches study abroad courses in Bali on Balinese music, arts, and culture.

Mark HarrisMark Harris

Associate Professor of Saxophone

Mark Harris is a dedicated and exploratory educator and performer.  He has played in bands backing artists Billy Eckstein, Joe Williams, Cab Calloway, Bob Hope, Natalie Cole, the Temptations and has performed with Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd), and Fred Frith. He performs original music with Hamster Theatre, Thinking Plague, Random Axe, and performs in classical chamber ensembles Metro Wind Consort and the Lamont Sax Quartet.  Mark is certified in Soundpainting, an improvisational language for musicians of all styles and skill levels.  As a teacher, Mark emphasizes strong technical skills, aesthetic exploration, and student-directed learning concepts that nourish creativity and set students up for success in any musical arena. His most prominent former student is the widely-acclaimed alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa.

Alumni at Work

Graduates of MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Arts in Music program have launched careers as choir and church music directors, private-instruction business owners, recording studio managers, and educators in schools and universities. B.A. Music alumni have been accepted for postgraduate study at the University of Colorado Denver, Regis University, and other institutions.


"NASM: National Association of Schools of Music"

MSU Denver is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Department of Music

Office Location: AR 287
Phone: 303-615-1010
Email: [email protected]

Department of Music Website

Mailing Address:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Music
Campus Box 58
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362