Colorado Mesa University’s music department has been working on reshaping its program for the past two years.
According to the head of the music department, Dr. Calvin Hofer, music curriculums across the nation are stuck in the 19th century.
“It’s a conservatory approach to train musicians to play in an orchestra,” Hofer said. “Large orchestras across the nation are going under financially, so students need to start treating their career like an entrepreneurship.”
He said the solution to students making a living in this degree is to develop numerous streams of income and to learn all the aspects of music.
To combat this, the music department has added additional courses to the program sheet for this spring semester. One essential credit that all music performance and music business majors must take is the class entrepreneurship for creatives.
In addition, a jazz history and literature class are now offered, as well as an actual jazz studies minor.
Also, the music history and literature curriculum will be revamped to better fit CMU’s program. The department is currently examining the current technology training for music education majors as well.
The music department has even started a music business club called business careers in entertainment, which is open to all majors to discuss curriculum not covered in class. Both music and business majors are involved.
“We want to make our curriculum more efficient and current to provide students with the greatest amount of opportunities, so we can spend more time on what’s happening out there today and what music is being composed right now,” Hofer said.
Hofer wants students to succeed in a career in music, and he shows his students how to make living in the music industry.
“Students need to take their ensembles to many different venues and not wait for people to come to a concert hall to hear them,” Hofer said.
The department is beginning to take more performances out into the community. The department created Jazz Night at the Warehouse 2565 Restaurant in order to bring music to the Grand Junction community.
Also, the department has The Rowdy Brass Band, which performs at numerous athletic events to provide music for different CMU athletic teams. They have made appearances at swim meets, wrestling matches and will play at a lacrosse game for the first time later this spring.
The band has also performed at the Lion’s Club downtown. In the future, Hofer hopes to see the band play at the Mesa Theater to highlight the music department.
One of the students of the music department is sophomore Michael Eide. He is a music education major with a vocal emphasis as well as a trombone section leader in the Maverick Stampede marching band.
In addition to the marching band, he is also an opera singer. He will perform in the opera which is will start from March 30 to April 2.
“I have definitely majored since my freshman year,” Eide said. “I really think it’s the professors and how passionate and caring they are that has strongly impacted my career here at CMU.”
He said the choir will also perform in Carnegie Hall in New York City at the end of the summer. He plans to be a choral director after he graduates.
The music department offers four degrees, which includes three professional degrees that have recently transitioned to professional titles: bachelor of music and performance, bachelor of music education, bachelor of music with elective study of business and a bachelor of arts in music (one-third learning, one-third music and one-third of student’s choosing).
The music department is located in the Moss Performing Arts Center. There are currently around 110 majors.