Denise Apodaca

Contact Information


Office: UCA 322A

Role: Faculty

Position: Senior Instructor; Music Appreciation; Class Piano


Denise Apodaca received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a minor in Spanish. She later received her Master of Music in Piano Performance and a second Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Northwestern University. She graduated with honors from both universities.

She has been on the teaching faculties of The Chicago Academy for the Arts where she was director of Instrumental Studies, Sherwood Conservatory of Music, De Paul University, Pasadena City College, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and Front Range Community College. She served as a Board member for Beet Street in Fort Collins, Colorado. She founded and directed the Chicago Young Instrumentalist Program, served on the Leadership Council, was director of Early Childhood Programs, director of Class Piano, chair of Group Instruction and chair of the Piano Dept. at Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. She served as district coordinator for the California Association for Professional Music Teachers. Denise has performed through-out the United States as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Demonstrating her expertise of Latin American music, she has given several concerts in Mexico. She has been an adjudicator for several area music teachers associations and has given several workshops on piano technology, piano pedagogy, piano performance, and early childhood music. She serves on the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County and was the Spanish community health educator at Poudre Valley Hospital for Bright Beginnings, Colorado in Larimer County for over five years.

Denise is currently Piano Proficiency coordinator and Women's Studies affiliate faculty at Colorado State University where she also serves on several committees and has received the following awards.

Honors Faculty - University Honors Program
Faculty who Teach Honors Seminars. The key to an outstanding education and a superb program is to maximize the professional interactions among faculty and students.

Recent Activity:

College of Liberal Arts 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award
CSU 2016 Best Teacher Award
Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through Music Teachers National Association (NCTM)
Distinguished Honorary Member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS)
Colorado College Music Society Rocky Mountain Chapter Student Award Committee
Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award nominee 2015-2016
American Musicological Society Rocky Mountain Committee
Professor of the month through National Residence Hall Honorary
CSU 2015 Best Teacher Nominee
Serves on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty
College of Liberal Arts Adjunct Committee
Music Recruitment and Retention Committee
School of Music, Theatre and Dance Undergraduate Music Curriculum Committee
Master Teacher of the Year Nominee for Front Range Community College
Grammy's Music Educator Award Nominee
President Elect Fort Collins Music Teachers Association
M.F.A. Graduate Dissertation Committees
March to Education Honorary Presenter
Advisor to CSU Generation Outreach Organization
CSU TILT Credit Recovery Course Redesign Committee
Faculty Mentor for Graduate Center for Diversity and Access (GCDA)


National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
College Music Society
Music Teachers National Association
Fort Collins Music Teachers Association
Colorado Music Teachers Association


Piano Skills for Music Therapists and Music Educators

Music Appreciation

Exploring World Music

Theory Fundamentals