New Primary Instrument Offered in MEIS
Check the Red Rocks schedule or listen to any film score and it’s plain to see that electronic and digital music are having a huge impact on commercial and popular music. Except the style of music production and creation has had little impact on music education. Not at University of Colorado Denver. Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) at CU Denver, long at the forefront of teaching commercial and contemporary music styles, has embraced this break from traditional music, and in Fall 2019 began offering students Electronic Digital Instrument as a primary instrument of study.
EDI embraces all types of music made on a laptop, touchscreen, phone, and electronic digital device. Paired with software, such as Ableton Live, a wide range of musical expression can be created by a skilled musician proficient in the technology.
MEIS, which emphasizes innovation and preparation for trending professions, has recognized the changing industry as an opportunity to offer students the skills they need– and are seeking– to build careers in the modern music industry. Students studying certain academic tracks within Music Business, Music Performance, and Recording Arts, can choose EDI as their primary instrument. Traditionally, primary instruments are more predictable choices—even guitar as an instrument choice sets CU Denver apart as a contemporary program.
“I found that this is what the music students were making in their spare time, but nothing was offered in the classroom that reflected this interest,” says Todd Reid, Jazz, percussion, and EDI musician, CU Denver faculty, and leader of the Mobile Device student ensemble group. “At the same time I started to notice Denver venues promoting this style, so we started to bring the technology into the classroom and campus studios.”
This music making approach is often found in hip-hop, electronic dance music (EDM) and pop. But mastery of the digital device in music is not limited to music performance. The music production software industry is rapidly growing and continuing to offer career opportunities to those who have knowledge of advanced music production technology.
"As a local electronic music producer, the EDI program has integrated my musical talent, interests, and academics." says Mason Nold, a double major Recording Arts and Music Business student studying EDI. "Before the existence of the program I had no way to apply the work I do outside of class into the classroom.
In the first semester offered, nine students have chosen EDI to be their primary instrument. Interest has grown so rapidly that EDI study is likely to double in the next year.
“This is a direction few schools are taking,” says MEIS Chair, Richard Strasser. “But as a department that is recognized as a trailblazer in the music and entertainment industry this is the progressive education that CU Denver embraces.”