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 MFA, DMA degrees: Helen Perry (
Advisor for BA, BM degrees: Wayne Nagy (
Advisor for BFA, BME, Master’s degrees, Performer’s and Artist’s Certificates: Spencer Orr (
Manager of Admissions: Julie Koch (

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 (, 816-235-2945)
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies: Aidan Soder (, 816-235-2945)
Associate Dean of Operations: Jim Snell (, 816-235-2913)

Dance: Paula Weber (, 816-235-2516)

Music Performance: Jim Snell (, 816-235-2913)

Music Studies: David Thurmaier (, 816-235-2898)

Theatre: Kenneth Martin (, 816-235-2900)

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's Community Music and Dance Academy has the mission of bridging the national reputation and excellence of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance 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. The instructors in the Community Music and Dance Academy are professional educators, therapists, musicians and dancers. Many have advanced degrees or are current graduate students or professors at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. 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.

Scholarships are available to Conservatory students and are awarded on the basis of ability (demonstrated at the audition) and academic standing. Scholarships are awarded for one year but can be renewed annually, provided students maintain the appropriate grade level, continue satisfactory performance in the major performance area, and participate in major ensembles as prescribed. Applicants for Conservatory scholarships must complete all regular admissions procedures in order to be considered for scholarship support.

Students who receive Conservatory scholarship support of any kind are required to maintain enrollment of at least 15 credit hours per semester, maintain a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in music or dance classes, a 2.5 overall GPA and participate in ensembles and “Company” (dancers). It is the student’s responsibility to understand the terms of the scholarship contract. Please contact Julie Koch with questions or concerns.

In accordance with the code of ethics of the National Association of Schools of Dance, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the acceptance of financial aid by a candidate is considered a declaration of intent to attend the institution, and each candidate will be so informed. The code further declares that such a student may not consider any other offer from an institutional member of the NASD/NASM/NAST except with the written consent of the music executive of the first institution. Similarly, a transfer applicant cannot be considered for financial aid without the written recommendation of the head of the music department from which the transfer is being made.

The Conservatory offers students the opportunity to participate in a variety of ensembles that perform throughout the year. More than 20 ensembles are open by audition to all University students who can qualify. The ensembles include:

• Conservatory Orchestra
• Chamber Orchestra
• Percussion Ensemble
• Jazz Orchestra
• Jazz Ensemble
• Wind Symphony
• Wind Ensemble
• Bella Voce
• Conservatory Concert Choir
• Conservatory Singers
• Canticum Novum
• Musica Nova
• Conservatory Opera

Major ensemble audition materials and information can be found here:
Chamber Music Auditions are usually held the weekend before classes start in August/January. Students interested in participating in a chamber group should contact their applied instructor for more information.

Musicianship Sequence Placement

All incoming music students must take the online musicianship placement exams. All students will be re-tested in August before classes start. Students who score low on the first exam will have the opportunity to review over the summer and/or take a theory fundamentals course. Students who score low on the re-test in August will be required to take the Conservatory Fundamentals of Music Theory course (CONSVTY 103) in the spring semester. Students who score high on the re-test and have previous music theory experience have the option to take the advanced placement written theory exam and ear training exam.

Keyboard Skills Placement and Progression

Students must initiate placement into the appropriate keyboard skills class immediately upon beginning their studies in the Conservatory. Placement into the keyboard skills sequence can be accomplished either through initial enrollment in CONS 110 or through a placement exam with the Keyboard Skills Coordinator.

Placement exams are only given during new student orientation and at the beginning of each long semester.

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 CONS 110, he/she must remain in the sequence until the keyboard skills requirements are met.

Once a student is placed in or begins the sequence, he/she must take all subsequent coursesskipping levels or “testing out” of various courses is not permitted. Applied lessons are NOT permitted to serve as a substitute for ANY keyboard skills course.

Practice Rooms

Practice rooms for music students are located on the second floor of the PAC and kept unlocked. Percussion rooms and grand piano rooms are designated for percussion and piano majors and are kept locked—these students should see their appropriate division chair to be issued a key to these rooms. Practice rooms are also available in the Residence Halls for residents only.


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 roles 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:


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.

Grade Appeals—Conservatory Procedures

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:

  1. Be admitted to the University and the Conservatory.
  2. Present complete official transcripts.
  3. Audition for applied placement.
  4. Take a musicianship examination for validation of musicianship level (Music majors only) 
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:

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.

Counseling Center

The mission of the UMKC Counseling Center is to foster the psychological well-being, personal development, and educational potential of our diverse campus community. In addition to individual counseling, the Center also provides outreach, group therapy, crisis intervention, and learning assessments.

Disability Services

UMKC is committed to being a disability-aware campus in which faculty, staff and students understand the unique challenges, myths and stereotypes faced by people with disabilities; recognize the unique contributions that people with disabilities make to society; and accept and engage people with disabilities in the daily flow of life. Most importantly, Services for Students with Disabilities assists students in achieving their academic goals at UMKC.

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.