Middle School Outreach Ensembles (MSOE)

Each week, the University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University is filled with local middle school students and music instructors eager to be part of something special: a community of learners who develop their expressive language through music in order to understand themselves in an ever-changing world.

The Middle School Outreach Ensembles (MSOE) program is an internationally recognized, community-based music outreach program sponsored by CSU that provides music instruction to local middle school students. More than 60 music educators, including advanced high school students, college music majors, collegiate faculty, practicing teachers, and retired sages provide instruction to more than 200 young musicians. All local middle school band and orchestra students are invited to participate and develop musical artistry over a period of 14 weeks through small and large group work. The program embodies CSU’s land-grant mission, providing equal opportunity and equal access to its music programming through loaned instruments and expert music lessons at an extremely low cost.

The program’s approach to “mutual community” helps to inspire middle school students to love music, expose talented and bright high school students to consider serving the future

through a career in music education, and to cultivate teaching excellence in our college students who have chosen to serve their community by becoming a K-12 teacher.

“MSOE is about several things: social justice, teacher training, access, musicianship, community, and inspired instruction. However, the most important aspect of MSOE is that we all strive to forge lasting connections with young people to better their lives through music,” shares Erik Johnson, assistant professor of music education and instrumental music education at CSU.

As the program continues to grow, private support is vital to ensure participation costs remain low, allowing students to easily access these services long into the future. The MSOE program was recently featured in a video at CSU’s 1870 Dinner, a gathering of the University’s greatest supporters, which explored how MSOE is forging new paths for music students and instructors in the Fort Collins community.

Gifts to the MSOE program will help keep this meaningful community resource active and will provide opportunities to grow and expand. To support MSOE, click here.


Erik Johnson

  • Associate Professor of Music


Middle School Outreach Ensembles

MSOE: An Inspiring Music Learning Experience for Developing Middle School Musicians

Try on Teaching with MSOE

Cultivating and Developing the Next Generation of Excellent Secondary Music Teachers


  • Foster excellence in music education.
  • Identify and recruit outstanding high school students interested in music education.
  • Provide CSU preservice music education students an authentic teacher preparation context.
  • Provide a low-cost musical experience for local middle school band students.
  • Provide a safe and supported space where individuals with varying levels of music teaching experience can practice and hone the art of authentic instrumental music teaching.
  • Foster mentoring relationships between undergraduate students, graduate students, and secondary public school music teachers to strengthen teacher identity, commitment to teaching, and teaching effectiveness.
  • Provide a vehicle for organizing community outreach to local public school music students and teachers.


  • 260 local middle school band and orchestra students
  • 25 high school students (novice teachers)
  • Graduate music education majors (developing teachers)
  • 55 undergraduate music education majors (apprentice teachers)
  • Practicing public school teachers (master teachers)
  • Retired teachers and local middle school teachers
  • CSU Music Education and Composition faculty