Be a Part of It! National Assoc. for Music Ed. Publishes Article by KDS Teacher, Stephen Holley
Be a Part of It! National Assoc. for Music Ed. Publishes Article by KDS Teacher, Stephen Holley

How can schools create music curricula that are interesting—and relevant—to 21st century students?

That's a challenge music teachers across the country and around the world grapple with each year.

Stephen Holley, Kent Denver's Producer of Commercial Music, addresses that issue and more in a thought-provoking article published this summer by the National Association for Music Education.

According to Holley, effective curricula must go beyond which instruments to teach and how many hours of practice to expect. The bigger question, Holley writes, is "how do we develop a cohesive, forward-thinking curriculum in an effort to instill not only musical abilities in, and an appreciation of, ALL genres, but also life skills that will support our students no matter their career path?"

Kent Denver program supports student-musicians in three key ways:

  • Empowering them to develop an appreciation of, and competency in, a variety of musical styles,
  • Offering multiple, once-in-a-lifetime experiences through travel and study with professional musicians, and,
  • Using music as a vehicle to develop life skills such as responsibility, leadership, confidence, attention to detail, teamwork, creativity, and professionalism.

Holley says he used his experiences as a professional musician to help shape Kent Denver's Commercial Music program.

The program is based "on what I wished I would have known as a young bass player when it comes to learning my instrument, getting a gig, keeping a gig, and furthering myself as an all-around musical entrepreneur," Holley writes.

In addition to being a GRAMMY-nominated music educator, Holley guided Kent Denver's Quincy Ave. Rhythm Band and Kent Denver's Commercial Music Program to multiple DownBeat magazine Student Music Awards. In addition, he led student-musicians on international trips to Cuba, Italy, Switzerland and national trips to Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, New York and more to immerse themselves in music culture and participate in a number of music concerts and clinics.

Learn more about Kent Denver's music program, Arts department and Admission deadlines for the 2018-19 school yea.

Meet our Communications Team

Lisa Mortell

Lisa Mortell
Titles: Assistant Director of Communications
Phone Numbers:
School: (303) 770-7660 x324
B.A., English

"I love telling Kent Denver's stories. The amazing work of my colleagues and the accomplishments of our students provide endless inspiration!"

Since joining Kent Denver in 1998, Ms. Mortell has worked in various roles in the school's communications and development offices. She currently focuses on parent communications, editing the Connection and Parent Community News online newsletters and supporting the website and other publications.

Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas
Class of 1976
Titles: Director of Communications
Phone Numbers:
School: (303) 770-7660 x295

B.A. - Mass Communications
B.A. - Political Science
M.A. - Public Communications 

"As a student, Kent Denver changed the trajectory of my life. Working here allows me to support the school as it offers that same transformative gift to others."

Ms. Thomas has an extensive background in higher education and corporate communications and marketing. Additionally, she formed, owned and operated a communications company for several years.

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