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The Department of Music at MSU Denver offers 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.

As a music minor, you’ll enjoy extensive performance opportunities with over 20 different ensembles ranging from choir and orchestra to big band and mariachi. You’ll receive one-on-one private instrument instruction from our celebrated faculty who tailor their instruction to your individual needs. Our 200+ concerts per year - including masterclasses with visiting artists, music festivals, and faculty recitals - will expand your musical perspective.

By combining a minor in music with a major in such fields as business, marketing, graphic design, or journalism, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize your skills for a wide variety of careers in the music industry and arts administration.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree 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 and offers the best higher education value in Colorado. Our diverse curriculum flows through classical, jazz, commercial, and world music to help you navigate the broad range of opportunities that exist for the 21st-century musician.

MSU Denver’s music faculty are among the finest performers, scholars, and educators in the nation. Each brings a commitment to and passion for music education that creates a rich, familial atmosphere to foster student success and achievement.

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 campus in the beautiful King Center Concert and Recital Halls, 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 Mile High Jazz Festival. 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.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

Image of flute player, sheet music, mixing board, and cello player

A music minor combined with your major field of study will expand your opportunities for music-related jobs. Here are examples of median annual salaries for music-related positions according to

  • Concert Promoter $78,553
  • Entertainment Attorney $117,567
  • Music Critic $52,608
  • Music Librarian $55,169
  • Publicist $47,139
  • Record Producer $68,168
  • Sound Technician $41,129
  • Tour Manager $54,317


Image of Dave DevineDave Devine, Director of Jazz Rhythm Section Studies, Jazz Guitar

Hailed by Westword as Denver’s guitar guru, Dave Devine is known for his virtuosity as a performer, and his keen ability to connect with and inspire his students. Devine has recorded

and/or performed with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band (Body and Shadow, Blue Note), John Grant and the Czars (Sorry I Made You Cry, Bella Union), Art Lande, The Barr Brothers, Don Byron, Marc Broussard, Janet Feder, Ron Miles, Neil Halstead, and Sun Kil Moon among others. His own projects include complex-pop group Relay, and modern jazz trio Invisible Bird with Shane Endsley and Scott Amendola. Many of Denver’s most popular bands contain former students of his, including Paperbird, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and the Flobots.


Image of Gene RobertsGene Roberts, Director of Opera Theatre

Gene Roberts is the Director of Opera Theatre at MSU Denver. He holds a BM in Vocal Performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, where he also studied stage direction, and an MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston. Roberts was in the original Swiss cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in Basel, Switzerland, and played the Beast in the German premiere cast of Beauty and the Beast in Stuttgart, Germany. Roberts has sung over 30 musical theatre and 20 opera roles throughout the US and Europe. He is a regular guest of universities throughout the US, including Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where he serves every summer on the faculty of the Naked Voice Institute.


Image of Patricia SurmanPatricia Surman, Director of Woodwind Studies

Yamaha Performing Artist Dr. Patricia Surman is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral flutist. Patricia has recently performed as a soloist and given masterclasses in Taiwan, Korea, Canada, and across Europe and the United States. In 2014, Patricia served on faculty at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece and researched contemporary Greek flute repertoire. Her article on Ida Gotkovsky is featured on Oxford Music Online. She was recently featured in the International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, interviewed in The Flute View, and has published articles in the Journal of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors and Flute Talk Magazine. Patricia can be heard in recordings on the GIA and Mark Custom labels and as a soloist on the GIA Choralworks CD series.


Image of Michael Hengst

Michael Hengst, Director of Brass & Percussion Studies

Michael T. Hengst teaches trumpet, serves as brass area director, and directs the Roadrunner Pride Pep Band at MSU Denver. Prior to his appointment, he served on the faculties at the University of Texas at Austin and Southwestern University. Dr. Hengst holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a finalist at the National Trumpet Competition, the Crawford Trumpet Competition, and the Brass Quintet Competition of the Americas. He is an active soloist and clinician throughout the country and also teaches at the InterHarmony International Music Festival each summer in Italy. He is a Bach trumpet performing artist.

Sample Classes

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Students seeking a music minor at MSU Denver complete 24 semester hours of music courses. This includes music theory classes, labs, ensemble participation, and private studio instruction on your primary instrument.

As a minor in music, you’ll take courses such as:

  • Private Instruction
  • Ensemble
  • Class Piano
  • Musics of the World
  • Music Theory

See the full course sequence:

Minor in Music (PDF) 


Facilities and Resources

Music minors study and perform in the King Center on the Auraria Campus. This modern performing arts complex houses top-of-the-line educational facilities and performance venues including the 520-seat concert hall with a stage accommodating a 150-piece orchestra, the more intimate recital hall, a theatre, a recording studio, a music and dance studio, and numerous production studios.

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

Program Accreditation

image of NASM logo

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

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