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University of Colorado Denver: Music & Entertainment Industry Studies – Guitar Performance Program

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Currently celebrating its twentieth year, the College of Arts & Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver houses the MEIS department.

It’s a vibrant program that focuses on all facets of contemporary music performance and production in all genres, multi-media opportunities and inter-disciplinary trajectories. Students can elect one of four areas of emphasis, and choose an instrument of focus for applied lessons. There are currently over 500 students in the MEIS department – which is located in downtown Denver – and students are continually engaged in the diverse music and festival scene throughout the metro area and Colorado. 

Students can elect one of four areas of emphasis, and choose an instrument of focus for applied lessons. There are currently over 500 students in the MEIS department – which is located in downtown Denver – and students are continually engaged in the diverse music and festival scene throughout the metro area and Colorado. 

Mason Howell with the Guitar Program

Degrees

Bachelor of Science in Music with an Emphasis in Performance, Recording Arts, Music Business, or Singer/Songwriter

Educational Philosophy

Upon entering the program, students are immediately tasked with generating ideas for making a living as a working professional in the music industry. To that end, performance students garner experience by attending and participating in professional concerts, jam sessions, and ultimately gigs in one of the many venues in metro Denver. Student junior and senior recitals are held at clubs and performance spaces off-campus in the evening, and students are responsible for directing every aspect in a professional manner – from the actual performance preparation to marketing and venue organization.

Guitar Program 

Guitarists actively study jazz and improvisation in applied lessons with the intention of delving deeply into fretboard theory, harmonic analysis, and contemporary performance techniques. Guitar students can also take performance classes such as Acoustic Styles (contemporary fingerstyle & flatpicking) and Electric Styles Labs (funk, rock, country, studio/theater) and participate in a wide stylistic variety of performance ensembles. There is also a CU Denver signature Guitar Ensemble directed by Drew Morell. The guitar program at CU Denver is the largest and most comprehensive contemporary guitar program in the Rocky Mountain region, featuring six full time guitar instructors and forty guitar students on average.

Guest artists encompass a wide range of styles, and have included Peter Bernstein, John Scofield, Bobby Broom, Tuck Andress, Fareed Haque, Alex de Grassi, Laurence Juber, Andy McKee, Pierre Bensusan, Adam Levy, Paul Meyers, and Frank Potenza among others.

CU Denver Guitar Faculty:

Sean McGowan
Paul Musso
Bill Kopper
Dan Schwindt
Drew Morell
Michael Lancaster

Alumni

Guitar alumni are active performers, arrangers, recording engineers, teachers, and musical directors throughout Denver and other cities around the country. Several have found work as touring musicians and composers for various music/gaming libraries (including Warner Chappell). Guitar student Adam Gardino won the International Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in 2012, and many have earned acclaim in the pop/rock world featured in bands such as the Fray, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, 3Oh3!, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and others. 

More information about the program

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