MSU Denver at DIME Individual Classes for Credit

Students unable to commit to full or part-time study with us are encouraged to audition and apply to take part in a number of individual classes designed to improve performance, songwriting, and entrepreneurial skills in music. These classes are available in Fall or Spring semesters, and some may be available in the summer.

Commercial Music Performance (Guitar, Bass, Drums, or Vocals)

Techniques and Improvisation I
MUS 1910 – This course provides students the opportunity to build a solid foundation of facility on their chosen instrument through a logical progression of exercises and application. Students are challenged to experiment with basic techniques to begin to develop a creative approach to improvisation. Students situate technical vocabulary and improvisational skills within a variety of musical contexts across numerous genres. Students develop a comprehensive method for practicing productively, keeping track of their own progress as they critically reflect on it. Group lectures are enhanced with masterclasses and opportunities for one-on-one tutorial sessions.
Techniques and Improvisation II
MUS 1920 – This course builds directly on the previous semester’s iteration of this course, providing students an opportunity to further develop a solid foundation of facility on their chosen instrument through a logical progression of exercises and application. Students continue to experiment with basic techniques to further develop a creative approach to improvisation. The class situates technical vocabulary and improvisational skills within a variety of musical contexts across numerous genres. Along the way, students continue to develop a comprehensive method for practicing productively, keeping track of their own progress as they critically reflect on it. Group lectures will be enhanced with masterclasses and opportunities for one-on-one tutorial sessions.
Pre-Production
MUS 1858 (must be taken concurrently with MUS 3840) -This course is a forum to work in instrumental specialist groups (i.e. guitar, bass, drums, vocals) to dissect, analyze, and learn the particular technical aspects of the Live Performance Workshop song for any given week. Students may be asked to create charts for songs, learn passages by ear, and demonstrate a rage of techniques and skills to perform a particular song with musical authenticity and accuracy.
Live Performance Workshop
MUS 3840 (must be taken concurrently with MUS 1858) – This class is all about preparing to play live on stage with pro gear to the highest professional standards. Students will first do pre-production on their individual instrument in which a song’s technique, tone, feel, and arrangement will be broken down and analyzed in detail. After some individual practicing, students will perform in various live group sessions in which musical communication, performance ability, and stage presence will be molded by instructors who will provide feedback.

Commercial Songwriting

Lyric Writing
MUS 1866 – This course introduces students to a range of basic lyric writing techniques, methodologies, and practices. Students learn to take inspiration from a range of stimuli and structure songs in coherent and productive ways. While focusing on developing student’s unique voice, students analyze successful lyricists of the past to draw out their styles, conventions, and methods. Along the way, students build a workbook of original lyrics, starting with raw material and ending with several finished songs. Throughout the course, students critically reflect on their lyric writing, creating self-awareness of their own style and voice.
Foundations of Songwriting I
MUS 1862 – This course introduces students to fundamental methods, techniques, and practices of the songwriting craft. While a large portion of the course focuses on analyzing the elements (form, subject, harmony, melody, etc.) of classic and contemporary songs and songwriters, the primary goal of the course is to encourage students to develop their own original material, both lyrics and music. Students write material in a range of different styles to the specifications of numerous prompts.
Foundations of Songwriting II
MUS 1864  Building on the previous semester of this course sequence (MUS 1862), this course further explores the basic methods, techniques, and practices of the songwriting craft. Students continue to explore the composition of melody, harmony, and form, while refining their abilities to construct meaningful and relevant lyrical content with object writing and storytelling. Students analyze and critique pre-existing music, examining the elements that make a song memorable and engaging to better their own original writing.
Live Songwriting Workshop
MUS 1860 – This class is all about developing and performing original songs to a professional standard. Each week, a selection of students will present their material to the class; students will then work together to experiment with and polish the musical concepts presented by their classmates. After some individual refining, students will perform, or have others play, their tunes. At each session, instructors will act as music industry producers, providing feedback on the song’s lyrical content, musical style, and overall impact.

Music Industry Studies

Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis
MUS 1880 – This course serves as a basic introduction to A&R (artist and repertoire) practice, focusing on the question: what makes a song a hit? In exploring this question, students learn to identify musical attributes of hit songs from popular 20th century music; students gain a basic understanding of the music business infrastructure that contributed to the success of various songs and artists. The course examines a number of record labels, including, most notably, their A&R departments, to investigate how these labels chose, produced, and marketed their catalogs of hit songs. Students also analyze numerous classic and contemporary hit songs in relation to their basic sonic qualities, promotional campaigns and label support, as well as their social and historical contexts.
Domestic Music Market
MUS 1890 – This course provides students with an introductory overview of the American music industry. Students demonstrate how the multiple components of, and stakeholders in, the music business all work together to create income streams for artists and industry professionals. Students study the business strategies of classic and contemporary artists to reveal how these musicians have navigated an increasingly complex and dynamic industry.
Artist Discovery and Development
MUS 1892 – Building on the pre-requisite class Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis, this course provides a further exploration of artist and repertoire practice as students learn to find new acts, assess their commercial potential, and develop their talents into viable business plans. While surveying the history and development of artist and repertoire, students learn how to approach unsigned acts and identify workable marketing angles for them; the course will also cover how to develop artists, build their fan base, and present them to a label for acquisition. Students develop skills in targeted research, quality control, leadership, presentation/communication, and management.

General Music Classes

Essential Music Theory Skills
MUS 1010 – This course covers the techniques of music reading, analysis, and hearing skills by teaching the fundamental principles of meter, rhythm, pitch scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, seventh chords and the keyboard. The application of traditional sight-reading and ear-training are emphasized. This course is designed to prepare music majors, musical theatre majors, and music minors for MUS 1110.
Music Theory I
MUS 1110 – This course is the study of the melodic, harmonic, rhythm, textural, and formal elements of music through analysis and composition and the development of reading and hearing skills as they relate to these elements. It covers diatonic music based on the triad including tonic and dominant harmony, phrase structure and grouping, and melodic figuration and dissonance. Aural recognition of materials is emphasized.

Students who wish to take one or more individual classes must still complete an audition and follow the steps listed on our How To Apply page.

For more information, please call us at (303) 623-1600, or fill out the form on the Apply/Contact page or email us directly at [email protected]