The Mission of VanderCook College of MusicThe 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.
This school offers programs in: