The UMKC Conservatory is internationally recognized as a center for artistic excellence, innovation and engagement with our communities.

In rehearsals, in class and on stage, our students interact with an exceptionally gifted faculty and with leading visiting artists in ways that are supportive, yet rigorous. Our faculty and students recognize that arts careers in the 21st century will blend new works with master pieces; unite performance, engagement and education; and above all will pulse with a sense of adventure and creativity.

A community of artists, educators and scholars, the Conservatory enrolls more than 600 students in a comprehensive array of liberal arts and professional degree programs in Composition; Dance; Instrumental Studies; Jazz Studies; Keyboard Studies; Music Education/Music Therapy; Music Theory and Musicology; Theatre; and Vocal Studies.

Student Handbook

Student Services Manager, Advisor for DMA and MME degrees: Helen Perry (
Advisor for BA Music, BM, BME, MA, MM, and Certificates: Nicholas Gillock (
Advisor for BFA and BA Theatre: TBD
Manager of Admissions: Jordan Davis (

To schedule an appointment with one of the staff above, please contact the front desk in Grant Hall – 816-235-2900

Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs: Andrew Granade (, 816-235-2937)
Associate Dean of Performance and Facilities Management: Jim Snell (, 816-235-2913)
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Chris Madden ( 816-235-2917)
Director of Graduate Studies: David Thurmaier ( 816-235-2898)

Dance: DeeAnna Hiett ( 816-235-5713)
Music: Christopher Hayes ( 816-235-2783)
Theatre: Brandon McWilliams ( 816-235-5222)

The Conservatory is an active participant in mid-America's most important cultural center, Kansas City. This geographical setting provides students with the opportunity to hear and work with the Conservatory's own talented artist-faculty and internationally known artists who perform in the area. The UMKC Conservatory traces its lineage to a merger of two early Kansas City conservatories, the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and the Horner Institute of Fine Arts. A second merger in 1959 joined the Conservatory with the University of Kansas City. In 1963, the private University of Kansas City became a part of the state university system as UMKC, with the Conservatory as a component college. In 2019, a final merger brought together the Conservatory of Music and Dance with the UMKC Department of Theatre to become the UMKC Conservatory.

The Conservatory's degree programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (1933), the National Association of Schools of Dance (2008), the National Association of Schools of Theatre (1970) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (1961).


The UMKC Conservatory's Barr Institute for American Composition Studies was formed through the generosity of Howard and Patricia Barr for the purpose of:

  1. Supporting the acquisition, care, preservation, use and promotion of existing materials related to the period of American composition between 1890 and thereafter, excluding the art of jazz and its derivatives.
  2. Promoting individual research initiatives related to the historical and theoretical underpinnings of post-1890 American Classical Music.
  3. Supporting new composition efforts including commissions, theses and dissertations by composition students.
  4. Supporting collaborative and interactive efforts to study new music.

The Conservatory Academy has the mission of bridging the national reputation and excellence of the UMKC Conservatory with the local musical needs of the Kansas City community. The Academy currently offers private and group instruction to 600 area musicians and dancers; coordinates camps and festivals for the Kansas City area and provides professional development through workshops and in-service to area educators and therapists. Academy instructors are professional educators, therapists, musicians, and dancers. Many have advanced degrees or are current graduate students or professors at the UMKC Conservatory. Academy faculty members have trained with professional musicians within and outside the Conservatory and regularly perform as soloists or with ensembles locally, nationally and internationally. Some have even published and recorded their work. Most are active members of professional music organizations at the local, state, and national levels.

The Conservatory sustains chapters of national professional and honor fraternities, including Sigma Alpha Iota and Mu Phi Epsilon, and the national honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda. The Conservatory maintains an affiliation with the National Federation of Music Clubs, Collegiate Music Educators National Conference, and student chapters of the American Choral Directors Association and the International Trumpet Guild.

Musicianship Sequence Placement

All incoming undergraduate music students must take the online fundamentals and/or transfer exam. Students who score low on the fundamentals exam in May will have the opportunity to review over the summer and retake the exam in August or take an approved theory fundamentals course. Students who score low on the fundamentals re-test in August will be required to take Fundamentals of Music Theory (CONSVTY 103) in the spring semester of their first year. Transfer students will be placed in the appropriate musicianship class based on their exam results.

Keyboard Skills Placement and Progression

Students who pass the online theory fundamentals exam AND indicate on that exam that they have at least two years of piano experience will be contacted by the keyboard skills coordinator in late Spring/early Summer.  Students will have the opportunity to test out of keyboard skills courses by completing the following process:

  1. Students will be enrolled in a Canvas site containing all necessary materials to be considered for testing out.
  2. By the deadline indicated on Canvas, students should submit a single, unedited video of themselves performing all required elements.
  3. Shortly after the deadline, students will be contacted with the results of their placement video.  Two outcomes are possible:
    1. Students will be advised to enroll in Keyboard Skills I (CONSVTY 110)
    2. Students will be asked to meet the keyboard skills coordinator in-person during the month of August to finalize the test-out process.

Placement exams are only given one time per student. Once a student is placed in a course by the keyboard skills coordinator or begins the keyboard skills sequence with CONSVTY 110, they must remain in the sequence until the keyboard skills requirements are met.

Graduate Matriculation Music Theory and Music History Exams

The matriculation exam applies to all students whose degree program requires a 5500-level music history and/or music theory class. The matriculation examination in aural skills, music theory, and music history must be completed by graduate students before enrolling for the term of admission. Students must pass the written theory exam with a 70% or higher and the aural skills exam with a 75% or higher or complete the appropriate section of the review course (CONSVTY 5421A) with a grade of B- or higher before enrolling in graduate-level theory courses.  Students must pass the music history exam or complete the review course (CONSVTY 5422C) before enrolling in history courses.


Practice Rooms

Practice rooms for music students are available during building hours on the second floor of the PAC. These are the primary facilities for practicing and do not require any prior sign up. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual rehearsals, ensemble rehearsals, or coachings in any other location require prior authorization with the Conservatory Scheduling Office.

Percussion rooms and grand piano rooms are designated for percussion and piano majors only. These rooms are kept locked—students should see their appropriate applied faculty member to be issued a key. Practice rooms are available in the Residence Halls for residents only.

Students found practicing without prior authorization in any space besides the designated practice rooms cited above will be in violation of the Conservatory Code of Student Conduct. All conduct issues will be processed by the UMKC Board of Student Conduct for disciplinary action.


Student lockers are located in both Grant Hall and the PAC. Students must provide their own lock for the Grant Hall lockers and the PAC cello lockers. All other PAC lockers have a tumbler lock provided. Each locker costs $10.00 per year to rent, and will be charged to your student account. Lockers are available starting mid-August. See the Grant Hall Receptionist at the front desk for lockers in Grant Hall and the Scheduling Office in Room 333 PAC for lockers located in the PAC.


This is the campus student online system. Students need to access Pathway to search and register for classes, make schedule changes, monitor account holds, check for financial status/make payments, address changes, and course grades.

Photo Identification Card

Every student must have a UMKC photo ID card, typically issued at the end of new-student orientation.

UMKC Email

UMKC email is the official method of communication with students at UMKC. Students are responsible for checking their UMKC email account regularly, even over the summer, to avoid missing important information about classes and advising. Students are held accountable for information distributed through email. Please contact the UMKC Information Service Call Center at 816-235-2000 with any issues or questions related to your UMKC email account.

Class Schedule Changes- Drops/Adds

Classes can be added and dropped on Pathway without financial penalty through the first week of classes. After the first week, an ADD/DROP form must be completed and signed by both the class instructor and a Conservatory advisor. The form is found here.

Students who are not on official class rosters are not enrolled. If a student is not enrolled, no grade will be entered. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure their class schedule is accurate. Please check the UMKC Academic Calendar for important registration deadlines.

Comprehensive Exams (Graduate Students Only)

Information about both Master’s and DMA Comprehensive Exams can be found in the catalog.


Canvas is a Learning Management Systems that provide course sites where instructors can place documents, videos, podcasts and many other types of files. More importantly, Canvas provides rich online-learning environments where instructors and students can interact with each other through discussion board forums, online classroom spaces, and other tools. Log in here to find your course’s Canvas site.

Final Transcript

New students must submit a final transcript with graduation date to the UMKC Admissions Office. This should be done as soon as possible, but no later than the week before classes start. Students who fail to submit a final transcript will be blocked from registering for classes during subsequent semesters.

Procedures for Grade Appeal

The grade appeal procedure is designed to ensure students and instructors an orderly process for appeal and review of alleged capricious assignment of grades. Capricious grading comprises any of the following:

  • the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than the performance in the course;
  • the assignment of a grade to a particular student according to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in the course;
  • the assignment of a grade is a substantial departure from the instructor's previously announced standards as stated in the course syllabus and any addenda.
The following procedure should be initiated only when the student believes the course grade was capriciously assigned, and after informal conversations with the instructor have not provided an agreed upon resolution. If the student chooses to pursue an official appeal, Conservatory students should use the Conservatory Grade Appeal Form to initiate the process. This appeal procedure must be initiated within six weeks after the start of the next regular semester term.
Transfer of Credit

The UMKC Conservatory follows UMKC’s published policies regarding transfer of credit from other institutions. Information can be found here. Additionally, all undergraduate transfer students must:

  • Be admitted to the University and the Conservatory.
  • Present complete official transcripts.
  • Audition for applied placement.
  • Take a musicianship examination for validation of musicianship level (Music majors only)
GPA Calculator

To calculate your GPA, please use UMKC’s official calculator, which can be found here.

Credit by Exam

The UMKC Conservatory follows UMKC’s published policies regarding “Credit by Departmental Examination.” Credit by exam may be earned is certain courses if a student has previous knowledge or proficiency in an area of study and arranges to take a departmentally administered examination. The department involved must be willing to offer a test that measures the same level of proficiency as is required to earn credit for enrollment in the course. Before taking a departmental examination, students must register in the UMKC Registration and Records office and obtain a Credit by Departmental Examination Form. The charge for attempting credit by departmental exam is equal to one credit hour.

Course Credit Calculation

The UMKC Conservatory follows UMKC’s published policies for calculating course credit hours. Information can be found here:

Academic Overload Policy

Freshmen who wish to enroll in more than 19 credits and sophomores-seniors who wish to take more than 21 credits must request an academic overload using this form.

UMKC Conservatory faculty and staff are committed to the health and safety of their students. Basic information about the maintenance of health and safety within the context of practice, performance, teaching and listening is disseminated in various ways and includes, but is not limited to, the maintenance of hearing, vocal and musculoskeletal health, and injury prevention in these three areas. The list below includes some examples of how the importance of health and safety is communicated to the Conservatory community.

• Music Majors taking applied lessons are required to participate in studio class for their area of specialization. Additional health and safety information and instruction related to hearing, musculoskeletal health, and vocal health is provided in these studio classes. Examples include ways to minimize exposure to excessive sound, Alexander Technique and other postural concepts that may prolong healthy careers and minimize repetitive use injuries, and vocal health and maintenance for those who sing and/or speak regularly as a function of their future careers.

• In ensemble settings, participants are provided acoustic shields, earplugs, and are positioned within the ensemble in ways that will maximize hearing, vocal, and musculoskeletal health.

• Colloquia on topics that may cross areas of concentration (vocal health is a matter of concern for all music educators, as an example) are held each semester. Faculty and guest lecturers present on matters of hearing health, musculoskeletal health, and vocal health.

Additionally, basic information regarding the maintenance of hearing, vocal, and musculoskeletal health is provided to non-majors through course syllabi and the Canvas sites associated with these non-major courses. Non-majors who participate in ensemble receive the same information provided to music majors listed above.

Campus Safety

The University of Missouri--Kansas City reports very low crime statistics, with most crimes reported being burglaries. UMKC has a professional police force that is fully accredited and provides campus security, crime prevention outreach information, personal escort services, and self-defense classes. UMKC complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, a federal law that requires colleges and universities to publish an annual report every year by October 1 that includes statistics from the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off-campus buildings owned or controlled by the university, and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters.

Roo Wellness

For information about counseling, health and wellness, and accessibility, please visit the Roo Wellness website.

Math and Science Tutoring

Math and Science Tutoring (MaST) is dedicated to providing individual attention to math and science students, and to increasing retention efforts. MaST is staffed by trained part-  time tutors who offer assistance to UMKC students at no additional cost. Help is offered   on a walk-in basis, by appointment, or online; students may work individually or in small groups with tutors. Textbooks and solution manuals are available. Math courses covered include Math 100, 110, 116, 120, 125, 130, 140, 206, 210, 220, and 235. Science courses covered include Biology 108 and 109, Chemistry 211 and 212, and Physics 240 and 250. MaST is a part of the Academic Support and Mentoring.


UMKC Alert! provides the campus community with timely notification of campus-wide emergencies or closures due to inclement weather. Students can sign up for UMKC Alert! via Pathway.

Social Media Guidelines

There are many potential benefits to social networking web sites; however, it is important to also recognize and consider the inherent risks that may come with their use. In an effort to inform and protect our students, we recommend that you consider the following:

▪ Always show respect. Don’t publish content containing slurs, personal insults or attacks, profanity or obscenity. Don’t engage in any conduct on a social media site that would be considered to be of a bullying nature.

▪ Understand that your online presence can negatively reflect upon your professional image. Weigh the risks and benefits of self-disclosure.

▪ Respect copyright laws, and reference or cite sources appropriately. Plagiarism applies online as well as in print.

▪ Remember that Conservatory logos and trademarks are the intellectual property of the University.

▪ Always respect the professional relationship between student and faculty member

▪ Ensure that information you post complies with existing University policies and Federal and State laws governing privacy and dissemination of data. Be aware of and follow FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protecting students’ personally identifiable information in educational records.

▪ Clearly state that the views expressed are your own and do not represent the views of others.

▪ Review the privacy policy of the sites you use and consider your personal and property safety when posting information online

▪ Remember that electronic sites are never completely secure, and that what is posted can be seen by many.