Music Major, B.M.
If music is your passion, then consider earning a Bachelor of Music degree at MSU Denver.
Ours is a unique program that spans musical genres with a diverse curriculum and professors who are active performers ‒ some considered to among the most highly regarded regionally and nationally. We are the only university to offer a concentration in Jazz and American Improvised Music Performance. Plus we train you to be entrepreneurial so that you are prepared to make the most your education and future.
With more than 20 performing groups, from jazz combos and Women’s Choir to Symphony Orchestra and the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, you’ll find an amazing array of opportunities to practice your craft. (Read about Los Correcaminos, MSU Denver’s Mariachi Ensemble, here.)
MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Music degree will prepare you for a career as performer, composer or private studio teacher or to pursue graduate studies.
The Department of Music also offers:
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
- Learn from our internationally recognized faculty of performers and scholars with real-world professional experience and dedication to your success.
- Receive private studio instruction, available in both classical and jazz traditions, for voice, piano, guitar, woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.
- Work and perform at the King Center performing arts complex, one of the most dynamic and revered performance facilities in the nation.
- Intern with organizations like the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which serve as steppingstones to employment and professional careers.
- Gain diverse performing experience by joining one of 23 ensembles, including orchestras, bands, choirs, jazz bands and combos, African drumming and Balinese gamelan, as well as a wide variety of chamber ensembles.
- Save by attending one of the most affordable programs in the state at a university that’s listed by Forbes as one of the best for return on investment.
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
If you plan to pursue a career performing, you can expect to a median hourly wage of $25.14, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook. As a Bachelor of Music graduate you will also have other music-related career opportunities, including
- Audio-visual librarian
- Entertainment manager
- Museum curator: music
- Broadcast technician
- Arts administrator
- Church musician
- Sound equipment technician
The BLS 2016 Occupational Handbook cites the following examples of median annual salaries:
- Music director: $50,110
- Broadcast and sound engineering technicians: $42,550
- Museum music curator: $47,230
- Lyricist: $61,240
Hear from our students:
“The music program at MSU Denver gave me an in-depth education in areas like music theory and musicology, which helped prepare me for graduate school and for a career as a music teacher. As a student, I gained great performing experience by playing with MSU Denver’s wind ensemble, the symphony orchestra and the jazz combos.”
Samuel Young (MSU Denver '09) is a drummer and percussionist and is pursuing his Ph.D. in composition at the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.
Director and Associate Professor of Choirs MB Krueger is a mezzo soprano who has sung professionally with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Santa Fe Opera, Ars Nova Singers and Diverse Passions Early Music Ensemble. She is active as a clinician for middle school, high school and college choral festivals and has presented voice workshops for amateur singers in theatre and church programs. Currently, she is a member of St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Jazz Studies Co-director and Assistant Professor Don Byron is a clarinetist, saxophonist and composer. He has won the Guggenheim, Doris Duke Performing Artist, United States Artist, Sundance (film composition) and Rome Prize fellowships and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. His most recent recording is Infinite Winds (Sunnyside), featuring his concerto for clarinet and wind ensemble commissioned by MIT.
Professor Alex Komodore, director of guitar studies, was a musical prodigy who performed in New York's Town Hall at the age of 11. Winning the 1985 MTNA Collegiate Artists Competition, his subsequent appearances on NPR and PBS television broadcasts brought swift national acclaim. Now a much sought-after soloist, chamber musician and orchestra soloist, his performances and master classes have taken him across the United States, Canada, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and the Dominican Republic. He has 16 CDs; his most recent solo recording, “Remembering,” was released in 2015.
“Our teachers made you believe you could have a career. Being exposed to musicians who are working… that gives you a really realistic picture of what you could be doing. It’s inspiring to be around that.”
Melissa Wimbish, MSU Denver ’05, is an opera singer who has been praised by The New York Times for her “stylish singing.” She made her Kennedy Center recital debut in 2011 and her New York solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall in 2016. She is the winner of the 43rd Annual National Association of Teachers of Singing Artists Awards.
Alumni at Work
Graduates of MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Music degree program working in the music industry perform as artists across musical genres, manage recording studios, teach at the elementary through college level, serve as music and choir directors and operate their own private-instruction businesses.
Among the institutions that have accepted B.M. graduates for post-graduate study are Regis University, the University of Colorado Denver and UCLA.
In addition to intensive instruction in your chosen instrument or area of interest and participation in various performance ensembles, you will take a variety of courses to broaden your education such as:
Musics of America
Basic Music Technology
Music Theory Lab
Facilities and Resources
The King Center on the Auraria Campus is a modern performing arts complex that houses top-of-the-line educational facilities and performance venues including production studios, the 520-seat concert hall with a stage accommodating a 150-piece orchestra and the recital hall, a more intimate space with outstanding acoustics that will allow you to develop your technique.
You will also be studying on a campus within walking distance of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and many music venues.
MSU Denver is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.