Courtney Crappell

Courtney Crappell

Contact Info
room 416, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center


Dean Courtney Crappell joined the UMKC Conservatory from the University of Houston, an urban-serving institution where he was director of the Moores School of Music and associate dean for operations of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. He received his DMA in piano performance with an emphasis in piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. As the Dean of the UMKC Conservatory, he is now leading efforts to generate new curricular opportunities and tap into the distinctive opportunities for arts education and research in the Kansas City area.

Dean Crappell draws upon significant administrative experiences from his time in Houston including fundraising, curricular design and oversight, support of faculty and staff, and community engagement. He helped lead fundraising initiatives for the Moores School that significantly grew the school’s endowment and developed new sources of revenue, raising more than $10 million during his administrative tenure of four years. In Kansas City, he has continued this track-record of success in scholarship fundraising, and in the 2023-24 academic year, he is planning to launch a capital campaign for the expansion and renovation of Conservatory facilities.

Dean Crappell has also been a leader in developing interdisciplinary work in the field of arts and health, which matches well with existing research and programming at the Conservatory. In consultation with colleagues in the UH Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine, he developed the proposal for the school’s new bachelor’s degree program in music therapy. He also secured funding for the program, which established a new $2.25M dollar endowed professorship in music therapy and $250K for the renovation and establishment of a music therapy research laboratory.

In spring 2022, Dean Crappell was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the project “Come Together Houston: A Community Arts and Health Partnership,” a performance series produced in collaboration with Houston Methodist Hospital to raise vaccine awareness. The performance series featured four Houston artists, including graffiti artist GONZO 247, Houston’s poet laureate Outspoken Bean, the Urban Souls Dance Group, and Houston’s Mariachi Pumas. Continuing this work focused on the arts and health in Kansas City, Dean Crappell is leading efforts to establish a new performing series in local hospital settings.

Active in service for arts organizations, both nationally and internationally, Dean Crappell is an elected member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Commission on Accreditation, and he serves as program assessor for the University College Sedaya International (UCSI) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He also serves in the College of Examiners (Piano) for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. Continuing a long history of service with the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), he currently serves as the South Central Division Director-Elect and is participating as member of the search committee for MTNA’s new CEO.

As a researcher and teacher in piano and piano pedagogy, Dean Crappell authored the book Teaching Piano Pedagogy: A Guidebook for Training Effective Teachers (Oxford, 2019), which has been described as “essential to the professional pedagogue's bookshelf.” In 2021, his interdisciplinary research team’s article, “The Effects of Group Keyboard Music Making on the Mood States of College Students,” appeared in the journal Psychology of Music. His articles and reviews have also appeared in the journals American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the MTNA e-Journal. As a regular columnist for the American Music Teacher journal during the last fifteen years (2009-2023), he authored 50 articles with topics focused on current trends in music education. He is currently preparing a book chapter titled, “Training the Teachers,” for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Piano Pedagogy with co-author Liz Haddon (Univ. of York, England).

When he is not working, Dean Crappell enjoys spending time with the source of his inspiration and motivation, his three children, Annabelle, Dexter, and William, and his wife, Conny. A lover of all food, he is also determined to one day bake the perfect pizza.