UCD music debuts new Singer/Songwriter program
Degreee Prepares Performers for Industry
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 18:08
Doug Krause, a professor at CU Denver’s Music and Entertainment Industry Studies department who’s taught songwriting for over a decade, said, “Most songwriters will say it’s not something they consciously did, it’s something that found them. The desire to create came out of them.”
Krause is behind a brand new emphasis for students seeking their bachelors of science in music: Singer/Songwriter, a program to help students be prepared when they strike out on their own in a volatile music industry.
“We’re looking to help try to nurture those songwriters so that they can sing and perform their own songs…and be ready to enter into the commercial market when they get out of here,” said Krause.
The Singer/Songwriter program is just one of the new features in what may prove to be the most exciting offering the UCD music program has provided in nearly 30 years of operation. New ensemble styles like bluegrass, renovated studio spaces, and intriguing new performances of electronic and a cappella music are some of the changes happening under MEIS’ new chair, Sam McGuire.
But the new Singer/Songwriter track should prove to be a revelation in the way the music program nurtures young performers.
The MEIS department has always been focused on preparing students in all the aspects of musicianship; from songwriting, to recording, to performing, to the business itself and the ins and outs of the music industry. But what sets the Singer/Songwriter program apart, says Krause, is its holistic approach to shaping young performers.
“The primary focus is the repertoire being their own music. Instead of having a set repertoire that we impart to them, they’re going to have to generate that. As teachers and mentors, we try to react to that and help them grow,” Krause notes.
On a regular performance track, a student would take their individual classes but not have much one-on-one tutoring to connect them.
“Students might have a vocal lesson or a class in songwriting, but they wouldn’t have anybody to sit down with once a week to say, ‘You know, this song could be stronger this way, you could try this with your voice,’” says Krause. “[Before,] there was never a formal way for them to put those things together.”
Krause has been a songwriter himself since the 1970s, where he himself experienced the various ups and downs of the industry. The handlebar-mustachioed professor even hones his performing chops in Colorado’s premier Eagles cover band, The Long Run.
Krause is eager to make a difference in the lives of students looking for their one big break. “The greatest dream any of us can have is to get to do what we love doing for a living,” he says. “So when you love to write songs, and that’s a highly competitive thing, the more skills you have, the more understanding of the process…the better your chances of being successful.”