VanderCook College of Music


The Mission of VanderCook College of Music

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations through the preparation of teachers in instrumental, choral, and general music disciplines. Our broad-based curriculum is designed to prepare teachers with strong character, skill in the process of teaching, and respect for the essential role of music in our culture.


Hale A. VanderCook was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1864. He was
 performing in bands by the age of 14, and became conductor of the J.H. LaPearl Circus Band in 1891. He settled in Chicago and founded VanderCook Cornet School (later VanderCook College of Music) in 1909. The purpose of the school was to train musicians as performers, directors, and teachers.

VanderCook composed over 70 marches as well as numerous series for solo brass instruments. Among his most famous marches are American Stride, (performed for you today) Olevine, Pacific Fleet, Pageant of Columbia and S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. He published his Course in Band and Orchestra Directing in 1916. VanderCook studied cornet with Frank Holton and A.F. Weldon. He published Modern Method of Cornet Playing in 20 Lessons in 1922. He died in Allegan, Michigan in 1949.

“No man can be rightly taught unless he is aware of a real need in his life and in his work.”

Hubert Estel Nutt

Hubert Estel Nutt (1897-1981) was co-founder and past President of VanderCook College of Music. His role in training music teachers and developing the College's curriculum and purpose influenced several generations of music teachers throughout the country.

Nutt's Life and Background

Hubert Estel (“H.E.”) Nutt was born on December 22, 1897 in Harrison Township, Pulaski County, Indiana (50 miles southwest of South Bend). His father was a classroom teacher, administrator, and teacher trainer in the public schools, with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. H.E. attended Marion Normal College’s Academy where he favored science and history. He later attended Indiana State Teachers College in Terre Haute where his musicianship developed on the string bass, flute and piccolo. He then transferred to the University of Kansas, pursuing a degree in Biology, but continuing his music studies by directing the university band and orchestra. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1916 with a B.A. degree and began teaching in the public schools of Cincinnati, Iowa and College Springs, Iowa from 1916-18. He was Assistant Professor of Biology and College Band Director at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas from 1919-22.

During that same time period, he began working on a Ph.D. program in biology at the University of Chicago between 1920-1922. However, once he became acquainted with H.A. VanderCook and started cornet lessons in 1921, he was so impressed with VanderCook as a teacher that he ceased his studies at the University of Chicago. H.E. accepted a teaching position in the Chicago Public Schools (including Austin and Wells High Schools) in 1922 which he continued until 1953. Over the years his positions included directing the Elgin Municipal Band and the 122 Field Artillery Band. He was Assistant to Victor Grabel with the Western Electric Industrial Band, and Director of the boys' bands at the Hull House and Union League Boys' Clubs.

H.E. continued his close association with VanderCook and his Cornet School. Together the two men formalized the curriculum and established VanderCook School of Music which received state accreditation in 1928. H.E. was in the first graduating class, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1931. VanderCook School of Music became one of the first three institutions in the United States to award degrees in instrumental music education.

In 1947, H.E. co-founded the Midwest National Band and Orchestra Clinic, a place where band directors experimented with new music and techniques and could hear young bands perform.

H.E. became President of VanderCook College of Music in 1966. During this time he created over 100 unpublished worksheet-type presentations on topics such as conducting technique, classroom organization and discipline, vocal and string instruction, theory and arranging, and many other areas of music instruction that promoted and expanded the ideas of H.A. VanderCook. He retired as President of the College in 1974, but continued on as a faculty member and maintained a vigorous teaching schedule and Clinic-related work. He died in 1981 in Evanston Hospital.

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Master of Music Education

Campus Part time 1 - 7 years September 2017 USA Chicago

VanderCook offers the master of music education degree for candidates who are experienced and certified music teachers. The MMEd degree offers a practical curriculum, driven by the career goals of the candidates. [+]

Program Structure VanderCook offers the master of music education degree for candidates who are experienced and certified music teachers. The MMEd degree offers a practical curriculum, driven by the career goals of the candidates. The summers-only format is structured to serve the music teacher in the field. The convenient six-week sessions are scheduled to begin in mid-June and end in late July. Music educators are able to pursue an advanced degree or earn additional credit hours without taking a leave of absence from teaching. Degree and Declaration of Track Course requirements for the graduate degree tracks are outlined in the Master of Music Education Course of Study section. Sessions The master's degree is conferred on candidates completing 36 semester hours of credit. Normally, most or all work is completed over the course of several summers. Each summer graduate session consists of a maximum of six weeks of classes. Exit Requirements All candidates must complete a Master's Project, Lecture/Recital, or a Lecture/Demonstration to graduate. Candidates are assigned to an advisor by the master's project chairperson. Candidate works are published in the annual Master's Project Collection. All graduate candidates have the choice of completing a Professional Teaching Portfolio or taking the Written Comprehensive Examination. Degree Completion Candidates are expected to finish the program within seven years of initial registration. Graduate Credit A master's degree candidate must complete 36 credit hours (a credit hour equaling a minimum of 15 50-minute academic hours or Carnegie Units) with a minumum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and no more than 20% of all credits below a B level. Applied Studies For continued success in all levels of school music teaching, graduate candidates are encouraged to further develop their expertise as a musician and educator through private study of an instrument or voice. To this end, candidates may choose to study their major instrument or voice, but are encouraged to consider studying a secondary instrument. Candidates who plan to perform a graduate lecture recital for their master's project must study their major instrument or voice for two summers. Admissions Requirements Candidates enrolling in the bachelor's degree programs need both musical and academic competence to attain the degree. The strengths and background of each applicant are weighed on an individual basis in an effort to determine the candidate's potential for success. In general, however, preference is given to applicants who fulfill the following requirements: Graduate from an accredited secondary school or its equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Complete the following coursework at the secondary level: 3 years of English 2 years of mathematics 2 years of science 3 years of social science 2 years of electives in foreign language or art 3 years of electives in music, or evidence of successful participation in music ensembles and classes ACT/SAT (International applicants are exempt from the SAT/ACT requirement.) Complete the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) with writing and earn a combined score of 1030 (verbal plus math), or Complete the American College Test (ACT) with writing and earn a composite score of 22 with an English/Writing score of 16 or higher on ACT exams taken Sept 1, 2015 or later (or 19+ on ACT exams taken prior to Sept 1, 2015). International students (non-native English speakers) are exempt from the SAT/ACT requirement but must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Internet-based TOEFL test (IBT) measures the areas of reading, listening, writing and speaking. VanderCook requires a minimum score of 70 on the IBT. The EIKEN test can be considered in lieu of the TOEFL; VanderCook requires a minimum grade of 2A, but admission is contigent on an interview. (Note: All international applicants must submit proof of total financial support before an I-20 will be issued.) [-]


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