UM-Flint Music Alumna Takes Center Stage

UM-Flint Music Alumna Takes Center Stage

With a successful band playing throughout Michigan, Jenn McMillan said she credits UM-Flint for helping her reach her success as a performer/musician.

Read about Jenn's story:



Welcome To Music At UM-Flint!

Within a modern, regional campus, The Department of Music at the University of Michigan Flint offers students a smaller, personalized University of Michigan experience as they work toward earning their degree.   For nearly 40 years, the experienced faculty have created an environment that fosters the very best of student talent and creativity.  Students who graduate from the Music Program at UM-Flint go on to outstanding careers and experiences as performers, teachers, and artistic visionaries.  At UM-Flint, you will make music as you begin to make a foundation for your future.  Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music ... MORE


Photo of UM-Flint Student Teachers Alesha Akins and Zachary Smith at the NAfME Collegiate Reception

UM Flint NAfME Collegiate Attends Michigan Music Conference

After much hard work in planning and fund raising, 16 students from the University of Michigan Flint Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education attended the Michigan Music Conference (MMC). The MMC is a 3-day professional development event for music educators and includes concerts, conducting clinics, workshops, all-state ensembles, and more. In addition, over 1,800 professional music educators attend the event, making it a valuable networking opportunity. UM Flint NAfME students report learning a ton and feeling inspired as they continue their education. Plans are already underway to begin fundraising for next year's event. (Pictured: Current UM Flint Student Teachers Alesha Akins and Zachary Smith at the NAfME Collegiate Reception).

Photo of UM-Flint Music students with Lecturer Frank Pitts at concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Lecturer Frank Pitts concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

UM-Flint Music Department Lecturer Frank Pitts delighted audiences at St. Pauls Episcopal Church January 29 with a solo concert. 
Photo includes Music students who attended the event. From left, Benjamin Cunningham, Hannah Wikaryasz, Frank Pitts, Jhane Perdue, Jordan Pavlica, and Heather Smith.  

UM-Flint Music Education Course Emphasizes Hands-on Teaching and Learning Methods


Pre-schoolers from the Early Childhood Development Center and UM-Flint Music Students together in a circle for thier last Music in Early Childhood Practicum class. The students sang songs together with the children, alternating dynamics from soft to loud, wiggling and marching to the rhythms, and smiling as they each took turns leaning into the microphone to lead the next verse with their own interesting choice of words and sounds.

The course is MUS 185/ECE 120, an early childhood practicum and general education class where students from multiple disciplines gain first-hand experience with music-making and teaching methods during the first part of the semester and then spend five weeks applying their knowledge by working directly with the children in a dynamic group setting.

Photo of Kisma Jordan

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan Sang With The Flint Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert!

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" with the Flint Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops Concert at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint  Dec. 17 and 18.  

Photo of the UM-Flint Wind Symphony

UM-Flint Symphony Performed Concert in Mayville

The University of Michigan - Flint Wind Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Heidenreich, performed at Mayville Community Schools HS Auditorium, on Thursday, November 3, to a near full-house. The concert was so well received that Dr. Heidenreich said he would look forward to future engagements in mid-Michigan. 

Photo of First Michigan Community College Honor Choir

Dr. Hristova Leads First State Community College Honor Choir

UM-Flint Department of Music choral faculty, Assoc. Proffesor Dr. Gabriela Hristova, led the first Michigan Community College Honor Choir in rehearsals and performance October 29, 2016.  The 230-voice choir was featured at the Michigan State Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Kalamazoo, MI.   Singers came from across the state and included,  Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb, Mott, Muskegon, Northwestern Michigan, and Southwestern Michigan  Community Colleges. 

Invitational Choral Concert with 150 senior high school students from lower Michigan

"I Sing Because I Am Happy" - 40th Chamber Choir Invitational

162 high school students from mid-Michigan area gathered on the UM-Flint campus for the annual Chamber Choir Invitational. The event, hosted by the University of Michigan-Flint Chamber Singers, gave the young singers an opportunity to join voices together and experience the power of singing, music making, and performing in a large choral setting. The day culminated in an evening performance at the Court Street United Methodist Church. The choirs (Flushing, Carman-Ainsworth, Powers Catholic, Grand Blanc, Clarenceville, Mt. Morris, and Durand High School) worked under the direction of guest clinician Dr. Erin Colwitz, Director of Choral Activities at Northern Michigan University. 

UM-Flint Vocal Faculty Kisma Jordan photo

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan To Perform in Grand Rapids

UM-Flint Vocal Faculty Kisma Jordan will perform Oct. 28-30, 2016 as a guest vocalist at the United Conference for Women held at the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.   Her voice has been described by the New York Times as a "shimmering soprano voice" and the Baltimore Sun said "...there's a good chance we all could be hearing more from this singer in time."  

Photo of the UM-Flint Opera Workshop Members

UM-Flint Receives Grants To Perform Two American Operas

UM-Flint Opera Workshop has been awarded several grants to support the upcoming season of opera outreach. Dr. Joshua May, director of the program, secured funding through the James A. Welch Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and University Outreach. These funds continue the Outreach program of music performance and education opportunities to the community, while students participate in service learning with the opera outreach season. The opera season will include two American operas, Seymour Barab's Little Red Riding Hood & John Duke's Captain Lovelock. The MainStage full production performances will be in February on campus, which will include music education experiences for elementary students in our M-Theater! We will be working with a variety of venues and local elementary schools to bring our opera outreach project across our region throughout the fall and winter semesters. 

UM-Flint Music Education Graduate Keith Corbett with school children

Dr. Karen Salvador Article in Music Educator's Journal

This month's Music Educator's Journal features an article by Dr. Karen Salvador and UM-Flint alumnus Keith Corbett. Their article, "But I Never Thought I'd Teach the Little Kids" presents strategies and mindsets that evolved through coursework, coteaching episodes, and interviews while Keith developed from a "quintessential band guy," who only wanted to teach high school band, into an effective music teacher for young children--and someone who enjoys working with “the little kids.”  The complete article can be found to download in PDF form at:


UM-Flint Student Volunteers at Haiti Music School

For two years, UM-transfer student David McEachern has traveled to Haiti as a volunteer teaching euphonium at the Ecole de Musique Trinité in Grand-Goâve hosted by Haiti Arise. David directed small group sectionals and taught lessons to students ranging from 8-to-18–years-old.  While in Haiti he performed with L’orchestra Philharmonique Sainte-Trinité, directed by Steven Huang, Associate Professor of Music at Ohio University and Janet Anthony of Lawrence University. Of his experiences David said, “It was inspiring to work alongside professional musicians from all over the world, performing music from many different cultures and musical styles.” 

David McEachern poses with Haiti musicians

UM-Flint Student Performs at Emory University

Summer was not lost on UM-Flint's student musician David McEachern who in June played at the International Euphonium Tuba Festival held at Emory University in an ensemble directed by James Gourlay of the River City Brass.  He attended recitals and master classes by world class performers such as Brian Bowman, Adam Frey, and Glenn Van Looy.  David said, “One of the highlights of the festival was a private lesson with Earle Louder, one of the greatest virtuosi of all time on euphonium.” 

Photo of UM-Flint student Christine Bowen in sound studio

MUS145 Turns Student Written Songs Into Professional Recordings

Winter semester's MUS145 class students were given the opportunity to turn their self-written contemporary songs into professional recordings in a sound studio.  Two students, Christine Bowen and Derrick Mesecar jumped at the chance. Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Pat Prouty brought musicians to the studio to provide the music tracks, including strings.  The final results of their work can be found here.  MUS145 still has class vacancies for Fall 16, but you must register quickly.  If you've ever thought about writing songs, this may be your opportunity. 

Student Michael Abbasspour accompanying vocal concert selection

Student Michael Abbasspour, Sound Track Composer for Model Railroaders Convention Promotion

Michael Abbasspour, a junior at UM-Flint from Otisville, is the composer, arranger and the talent behind the music sound track for the promotional video for the S-Gauge Model Railroaders Convention in Novi, Michigan August 10 - 14, 2016. Abbasspour, who is majoring in classical guitar, said his composition for the model railroaders began with a "western-folkish style."  "I continued in that direction," said Abbasspour, "using the violin to bring out the western feel. I tried to create elements of wide landscapes of fields, hills and wild horses while riding on an old locomotive."  Abbasspour played several percussion instruments, classic guitar, and mandolin on numerous mixed tracks.  He called on friend, Peter Kent, to play the violin part.  UM-Flint Theatre student Matthew Coggins narrates. You can hear the final composition by selecting here, or watch the complete video for the S-Gauge Model Railroaders at


2016 Jr. Academy Singers

Summer Vocal Music Academy Finishes Four Weeks of Intense Training

For 30 years the UM-Flint Department of Music has hosted youth with exceptional vocal talent in a Summer Vocal Academy taught by university faculty, alumni and guest artists.  This years Summer Academy offerered instruction in music and fine arts to middle and high school students.  Emphasis was placed on vocal music, for students who were interested in developing their singing skills and musical potential.  Academy students experienced a curriculum of classes designed to nurture their abilities, while expanding and deepening their understanding of music as an art. This years academy has concluded their instruction and performances. For more information about the Summer Vocal Academy of Music select here.  For information about all of the University of Michigan-Flint's summer programs for students select here.   To see The Flint Journal's M-Live article about this years middle school participants select here.

Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Patrick Prouty with Tumbao Bravo

UM Faculty Performed in East Lansing Jazz Festival

Music Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Patrick Prouty performed with Tumbao Bravo, Cuban-jazz combo, June 17, as a featured act in the 2016 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing, MI. Last year, DiBlassio's ensemble, Groupo Aye, was also a Main Stage featured performance. Two days later, on June 19,  Tumbao Bravo was the headline act at the Rackham Stage as part of Ann Arbor's Summer Festival.  Tumbao Bravo is in high demand at jazz festivals and all musical artists in the combo are celebrated recording artists.  If you are listening to a jazz radio station, you will eventually hear their music. 

Photo of Dr. Karen Salvador

Dr. Karen Salvador Research Article in Arts Education Policy Review

Dr. Karen Salvador's article, "Intersections between music education and music therapy: Education reform, arts education, exceptionality, and policy at the local level" has just been published online in advance of upcoming print publication in Arts Education Policy Review. This article details current practices in music education, special music education, and music therapy with the intent of offering frameworks to advocate for improvements in practices. It was co-written with her friend and colleague the music therapy clinician, researcher, and educator Varvara Pasiali.   The article can be accessed here:  Salvador, K., & Pasiali, V. (2016). Intersections between music education and music therapy: Education reform, arts education, exceptionality, and policy at the local level. Arts Education Policy Review. DOI: 10.1080/10632913.2015.1060553


Photos of the annual Faculty vs Students kickball game

2nd Annual Kickball Game - Students vs. Faculty

Students were victorious, 6-3, in the Second Annual Department of Music Faculty vs. Students Kickball Game held on the lawn of the White Building May 5.  The warm-up game pitted the Orchestra against the Wind Symphony and vocal students. Orchestra won 7-6. Both faculty and students are already looking forward to next years match with faculty vowing to research ball kicking techniques before the Winter arrives. Students were heard teasing the faculty with the words, "Practice, practice, practice!"  

Photo of the Opera Outreach cast of Jack & the Beanstalk

Opera Outreach Presenting "Jack and the Beanstalk"

The opera outreach production of Jack & the Beanstalk begins a spring tour this month with performances at the Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center! Dr. Joshua May directs the project of student performers and teaching artists that will enrich our community with music education and performances for elementary school students throughout Genesee County. For more information about our upcoming performances, please visit our opera outreach page and read the CAS blog about the project

Photo of Drs. Joshua May & Jessica Cech in concert

Music Faculty Selected Soloists in Gross Pointe Concerts

Faculty members Dr. Joshua May, tenor and Dr. Jessica Cech, flute performed together as part of the Gross Pointe Chamber Music Series. They performed selections of 20th century French mélodie and American art songs. As part of the series, they will be performing diverse chamber repertoire as select soloists at the Gross Pointe War Memorial on May 22 & June 5, 2016

Photo of Dr. Karen Salvador teaching early childhood music At the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center

Dr. Karen Salvador Presents National Teachers Conference in Georgia

Dr. Karen Salvador (pictured teaching early childhood music at the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center) recently returned from presenting and leading a work group meeting at the National Association for Music Education's biannual Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Salvador co-presented a session entitled "Approaches to Teaching about Diversity and Social Justice in Music Teacher Education" and also co-facilitated the work of the Society for Music Teacher Education's Area for Strategic Planning and Action on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice. This was Dr. Salvador's last meeting in that role, as she is stepping down as facilitator in preparation for assuming her duties as President of the Michigan Music Education Association.

Dr. Karen Salvador with State Legislator Sen Marty Knollenberg

Faculty Dr. Karen Salvador at State Capitol Leading Delegation to Mandate Elementary Music in Schools

On March 9, Dr. Karen Salvador (second from left, with MI Senator Marty Knollenberg, center) led a delegation of music teachers from across the state as they met with state legislators to discuss mandating elementary music in Michigan schools and closing the "all-subjects" loophole by requiring music specialist JX/JQ certification for music teachers. These meetings were part of the third annual Michigan Music Education Advocacy Day, which brought together leadership from the Michigan School Vocal Music Association, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, and Michigan Music Education Association, in which Dr. Salvador serves as president-elect. Additional events included a noon concert in the capitol rotunda and a leadership meeting among the organizations.

Photo of faculty Frank Pitts as Dr. Bartollo in the Barber of Seville

Music Faculty Frank Pitts in Ann Arbor Opera "The Barber of Seville"

Frank Pitts, UM-Flint faculty, is currently performing with Ann Arbor's Comic Opera Guild in their production of The Barber of Seville.  He plays the role of Dr. Bartolo, a pompous, old, curmudgeon, who is marrying for money.  This famous Rossini opera has many familiar arias including the Figaro aria Largo al Factorum.  The opera is performed with new English translations and is presented at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre in Ann Arbor.

Photo of Gingerbread children after being freed from witch from Hansel and Gretel Children's Opera

Children's Opera Hansel and Gretel Huge Success!

Hansel & Gretel thrilled students and audiences at UM-Flint!  Dr. Joshua May, UM-Flint Music faculty person, led a unique education and performance event that brought together UM-Flint Opera Workshop students, faculty, Flint School for the Performing Arts students & faculty, and collaborative artists from across the state of Michigan to bring this opera to life! The weekend performances reached large audiences from across our community.  As part of our Opera Outreach mission, 350 elementary school students from across Flint and Genesee County experienced their first live opera on our campus.  Teachers, families, and artistic community members have been sharing the student reactions to the opera with the Music Department. Children have been reported singing opera in their school lunch rooms and hallways and sharing the joy of singing with their families about everyday life!  The Department of Music now looks ahead to preparations for next year's production that will continue to provide educational programming to inspire students to make music in our community. Check out the coverage by the Flint Journal of our Invitational Opera Performance:

Latin Jazz Ensemble Los Gatos with UM-Flint Faculty Brian DiBlassio

Faculty Brian DiBlassio Performs Concert at Rackham Auditorium

Brian DiBlassio, UM-Flint faculty and Chair of the Department of Music, performed at Rackham Auditorium as part of the Diversity Celebration on the Ann Arbor University of Michgan Campus for Martin Luther King's "Day On" holiday.  DiBlassio's Latin-Jazz Quintet, Los Gatos headlined the event with Teja Arboleda, Clark University professor and TEDx speaker.  Los Gatos is known for their high-energy Afro-Cuban rhythms.

The 2016 Midwest Intercollegiate Band photo

3 UM-Flint Music Students Selected to Play in Intercollegiate Band

Three UM-Flint students traveled to Ames, Iowa in February to be part of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA)  North Central Division Intercollegiate Band. 

Alesha Akins, flute;  Zach Smith, french horn; and Jacob Yencer, trumpet performed under the direction of Eugene Corporon, Director of Wind Studies at North Texas College. Corporon is regarded as one of the finest wind conductors in the country. 

Join us in congratulating the musical accomplishments of our own UM-Flint music students!

Dr. Karen Salvador Presenting Workshop at Michigan Music Conference January 2016

Dr. Karen Salvador Presents Workshop at Michigan Music Conference

Dr. Karen Salvador (center) presented a workshop with Debra Navin (right), at the Michigan Music Conference in January. Their session, entitled "But I can't do THAT with MY kids," was designed to help music teachers understand ways to build skills for more complex activities in elementary general music. Dr. Salvador was on the planning committee for the event and also presented a session on music education policy and advocacy.

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan photo

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan Places First in the Best Artist at the National Opera Association Competition!

Accolades for Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan are in order for her First Place Award in the Artist Division of the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition at the National Opera Association Convention in early January.  The 2016 convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana.