Music Education


The music education program at Colorado State University is designed for prospective elementary and secondary school music teachers and is a gateway to employment and growth in musical excellence. Upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree, students become licensed to teach elementary, choral, band, and orchestra music to K-12 students.

With a focus on B.M. and M.M. programs, one of the many strengths of CSU’s music education area is the personal attention given to each student, paired with ongoing opportunities for all students to have early teaching experiences working directly with school-age students. Additionally, an emphasis on performance and outstanding musicianship is highlighted.

At the secondary level, students receive extensive training in how to design and implement programs centered around comprehensive musicianship and reflective practice, while at the elementary level, the training incorporates both Kodály and Dalcroze methodologies. The teacher licensure program is nationally accredited by NCATE and includes on-site work in schools and student teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Additionally, students work with youth on campus for arts-integrated experiences such as BRAINY (Bringing Arts Integration to Youth) and the Middle School Outreach Ensemble, featuring an innovative teacher training component.

Students are extremely active within the music education area and lead their own organization (Collegiate National Association for Music Educators), which focuses on professional development, social mentoring, and community outreach. The CNAfME chapter has received a Chapter of Excellence Award from the Collegiate National Association for Music Educators.

The music education faculty work closely with the Teacher Licensure Office in the School of Education to place students in quality music classrooms throughout their degree in practicum placements and during their student teaching placement. In addition, students receive preparation to teach Early Childhood through Senior High in all areas: elementary, choral, and instrumental. The program consistently sees over 95% job placement rate upon graduation.

The music education progam is comprehensively structured to allow for continued study at the master’s level, with enrollment tripling in the last three years. A program highlight includes side-by-side work with ensemble directors, allowing full-time master’s students to assist in teaching coursework and directing ensembles.

The music education faculty is comprised of nationally and internationally-recognized educators, researchers, clinicians, adjudicators, and award-winning performers with a vested interest in the educational process of our students. There is a concerted effort on the part of all faculty to know our students on a professional and personal level, guiding their growth throughout the program.

On-campus training takes place in the state-of-the art University Center for the Arts, an exquisite teaching, performance, and exhibition venue for music, theatre, dance, and art.

Study With

Bonnie Jacobi

Coordinator of Music Education
Associate Professor of Music Education
Director of Colorado Kodály Institute

(970) 491-3106

Erik Johnson

Associate Professor of Music Education (Instrumental)

(970) 491-4806

Along with the knowledge of teaching they bring to the table, music education faculty at CSU also have the personal experiences that bring different strategies and methods to life; offering a perspective at a practical level. ~ Aleaha Harkins, Class of 2013


As the undergraduate program facilitator for the Middle School Outreach Ensemble, I have had the opportunity to learn about the joys and challenges of teaching music within a supportive environment of peers and music education faculty. The program gave me the opportunity to refine my leadership skills and work with others toward a collective goal. I now feel confident in my ability to make a positive impact when I enter the field as a full-time educator. ~ Charlie Mathews (CSU Music Education alum)

Integrated Research

At Colorado State University, faculty research and professional activity is relevantly integrated throughout coursework in both the undergraduate and graduate degree sequences. Examples from music education faculty:

Bonnie Jacobi’s passion for on-location historical research includes a recent discovery of the first formal Dalcroze instruction that took place within an American music curriculum (1913, Bryn Mawr College), resulting in two published articles in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. Additionally, topics such as musical gesture, space, literacy, and socioemotional learning in music augment her research on the role of music in higher education for nineteenth-century females.

Erik Johnson is passionate about research directly impacting public school teachers and students, including investigating the effect of peer-teaching and collaborative learning on music achievement, engagement, motivation, and student self-concept. Results provide exciting implications for how to diversify traditional instruction in an effort to construct successful music-learning environments. At home with both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, he continues to investigate and share the exciting ways that peer-teaching can enhance student learning.


Music Education Events

Kodaly Certificate Program

July 14, 2018 - July 28, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Children's Singing Camp

July 23, 2018 - July 25, 2018 at 12:00 AM
A fun day-camp of singing games, choir, folk dancing, keyboard improvisation, and movement with sessions for K – 6th graders. Students attending the camp will be provided with quality instruction from graduate-level musicians and teachers specializing in Elementary Music Education.

KDIA Session 6

July 23, 2018 - July 28, 2018 at 12:00 AM

International Folk Dance Workshop for Teachers

July 23, 2018 at 10:30 AM
Hosted by the Colorado Kodály Institute at Colorado State University Sanna Longden is a well-known world dance educator who presents at Kodály, Orff, and other education conferences and chapters throughout North America and beyond. She has taught at universities, in-services, and folklore festivals, and serves as artist-in-residence in U.S. schools. Sanna’s series of instructional DVDs [...]

2018 Colorado Kodály Institute Choir Concert

July 27, 2018 at 5:00 PM
As the finale to the Colorado Kodály Institute Summer Seminar, enjoy a performance by the graduate students, followed by a brief certificate ceremony celebrating levels students who have satifactorily completed their work. Alumni of the institute will be invited onstage to sing the final song.

Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko, Pianist

July 31, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Capturing the attention of juries, audiences, and critics alike for “mesmerizing and exhilarating” performances that [bring] the crowd to their feet, cheering him like a rock star. Presented by the International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival.

Ju-eun Lee, Pianist

August 1, 2018 at 7:30 PM
After a brilliant performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto” with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, this rising young star from Korea returns to dazzle audiences once again with her elegant and passionate playing. Presented by the International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival.

Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Olga Kern, Pianist

August 2, 2018 at 7:30 PM
The international superstar from Russia is recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists. Kern’s jet-setter career has her performing in major concert halls around the world! Presented by the International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival.

Frederic Chiu, Pianist

August 3, 2018 at 7:30 PM
The cerebral American pianist / philosopher / artist / chef offers richly colored, fiery interpretations in his performances. “Chiu is a stunningly virtuosic pianist with a dynamic range that almost defies the capabilities of modern recording techniques...” ~ BBC Music Magazine. Presented by the International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival.

Kemal Gekic, Pianist

August 4, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Performing worldwide from a vast repertoire, the Croatian pianist presents fascinating, uncompromising and ever-changing interpretations, always generating frenzied audience enthusiasm. Presented by the International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival.

Kids Do It All: Summer Music-Theatre Camp

August 6, 2018 - August 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

CSU Marching Band: CSU vs. Hawaii

August 25, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Guest Artist: Michael Grill, Organ

September 4, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Michael Grill is director of music at the Erlöserkirche (Our Saviour’s Lutheran) in Munich, Germany. Frequently featured on German radio and television, the recitalist has played throughout Europe, Israel, South America, and the U.S. He founded the concert series "Neue Orgelmusik München,” dedicated to contemporary organ works, as well as "Fürstenrieder Bachtage,” a festival devoted [...]

Casavant Organ 50th Anniversary Concert: Joel Bacon

October 15, 2018 at 7:30 PM
On the final concert of the 50th Anniversary of the Casavant Organ, CSU’s Professor of Organ Joel Bacon performs selected pieces from the organ’s 1968 opening concert program. “CSU’s Casavant organ is a remarkable instrument – a great point of pride for the university and the community, and a joy for me personally to play [...]

Music Education News

brightly colored children's instruments

Impact of Music Therapy on Attention


Study Participants Needed: Impact of Music Therapy on Brain Responses in Children with Autism We are seeking children ages 6-12 for a study on the impact of a music therapy attention protocol on the brainwaves and behaviors of individuals on the autism spectrum. Purpose of this study: This is a research study to examine if […]

Abstract art painted by Tatawa (Wei Tan)

Connection through improvisation


Cover photo artwork, titled “Ball Game with Dog”, by abstract artist Tatawa (Wei Tan) // // Instagram: @_tatawa This story is being presented as part of PechaKucha Vol. 4 at The Music District, May, 2018. Pecha Kuca nights are an informal gathering of creatives and opportunity to share ideas. By Lara Mitofsky Neuss My name is Lara […]

Black and white music notes on a light background

April 2018 Faculty Notes


CSU’s Director of Strings Ron Francois and Silvana Santinelli won two Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising Silver Medals for Outstanding Achievementat the Global Music Awardsfor their CD, Mexico City Blues. The Duo Francois placed in both the DUO and the EMERGING ARTISTS categories. The CD, which was released on the Itinerant Classics label last fall, features […]