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Jazz and Commercial Guitar Faculty

Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Department

The guitar faculty within the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Department are all versatile, working professional musicians dedicated to preparing the complete performer for today's musical marketplace.


mcgowan_156px.jpgSean McGowan is a fingerstyle jazz guitarist who combines many diverse musical influences with unconventional techniques to create a broad palette of textures within his compositions and arrangements for solo guitar. His first recording, "River Coffee" won the Best Independent Release of the Year Award (2002) from Acoustic Guitar magazine and music from the recording has been featured on BBC’s “Great Guitars” radio program, and has been published in Japan’s Acoustic Guitar magazine and Mel Bay’s Master Anthology of Fingerstyle Guitar, Vol. 3 (2005). His recordings Indigo (2008) and Sphere: the Music of Thelonious Monk (2011) offer compelling portraits of classic jazz standards performed on solo electric archtop guitar. Sphere was named one of Acoustic Guitar magazine’s “Essential Albums of 2011”, and he was recently featured on the cover of Fingerstyle 360 magazine (Summer 2012). As a soloist, he has performed at several festivals including the Novi Sad International Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in Napa Valley, Copper Mountain Guitar Town, the Newport Guitar Festival, and the Classic American Guitar Show in New York. He has also collaborated with several dance and improv companies, as well as with jazz and acoustic musicians throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

McGowan is an avid arts educator and currently serves as an assistant professor of music and the Guitar Program Director at the University of Colorado Denver. He earned a DMA in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and has conducted jazz guitar workshops at Berklee College, Bowdoin College, USC, University of Maine, University of Oregon, McNally Smith College, and for the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society and Cheyenne Guitar Society. He has also presented and performed at the Jazz Education Network conference in New Orleans, the International Symposium for the Performing Arts Medicine Association in Aspen, CO, and numerous College Music Society national and regional conferences. He is a strong advocate for injury prevention and health education for musicians, and his workshops incorporate a holistic approach to playing. He is also a contributing editor and educational advisor for Acoustic Guitar magazine. His latest book/DVD instructional project is Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials (String Letter/Hal Leonard), and will be available 2013.


Paul Musso is Assistant Professor and c​​​​coordinator​ of Guitar Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. He has been with CU Denver for eleven years teaching fretboard theory and commercial guitar styles, various ensembles and applied guitar studies. Musso is a freelance guitarist and has performed throughout the Colorado area in many diverse musical settings including The Colorado Symphony, The Boulder Festival Orchestra, The Aspen Music Festival and The Westcliff Jazz Festival.

Musso is the author of two Mel Bay books for jazz guitar - Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar/Teaching Your Guitar to Walk and Graded Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos. He has also contributed to the publication, Fingerstyle Guitar. He currently lives in Denver where he maintains a career playing guitar in straight-ahead jazz and solo guitar settings. His most recent publication is a contribution to Mel Bay's 2000 Jazz Guitar, where he shares the bill with greats like Johnny Smith, John Abercrombie, Buckey Pizzarelli, George Van Eps, Andy Summers and many others.

Musso teaches fingerboard melody/harmony, applied jazz guitar, theory and the styles ensemble.​


kopper_156px.jpgOriginally from the Chicago area, Bill Kopper​ has been a full time musician on the Front Range of Colorado for the past 20 years.  Known for his grasp on a diverse range of styles from Brazilian samba and choro to jazz, funk, blues and r&b, he is busy as a performer, studio musician, and teacher.  Recent recordings and live performances have included the Brazilian Samba group Ginga, trumpeter Brad Goode, jazz vocalist Rene Marie, Peruvian ceremonial songstress Cristina Mendoza Vidal (their collaborative work "La Aurora, Icaros from the Amazaon" is featured in the environmental documentary "A Fierce Green Fire" due out in the spring of 2013), among many others. 


DanSchwindt_156px.jpgDan Schwindt is a freelance guitarist based out of Denver, Colorado. He has been working as a professional performer and educator for the past twelve years primarily in Colorado’s Front Range. Working mainly as a sideperson, he has had the opportunity to play in a wide variety of ensembles and genres of music. When in Denver, Schwindt is a regular member of the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Vital Organ, The Motet, Supercollider, Rekha Ohal trio, and also leads his own jazz trio. Dan regularly works with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) as an orchestra-pit musician. 

As an adjunct music instructor at CU Denver, Schwindt teaches beginning sight reading and improvisation, commercial guitar styles, guitar ensemble and applied lessons. 


Lancaster_156px.jpgAn expert acoustic fingerstyle guitarist, Michael Lancaster has performed for audiences from the colleges of California to the pubs of Ireland. He currently performs at 275+ functions a year, including weddings, funerals, military functions, schools, retirement homes, golf tournaments, parties, corporate functions, promotions, conventions, bars, and more.

Lancaster has been the representative musician for John Dewar's Scotch Whiskey, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whiskey, Coors, Murphy's Stout, Newcastle Ale, as well as numerous single malt labels. 

He has also performed at many prestigious functions: the Columbine Memorial at the Colorado State Capitol, United States Marine Corps 230th Annual Ball, Sun Microsystems John Elway Golf Classic, Grand openings for James Avery Jewelers, JW Marriott and Bel Mar Center, graduations for the University of Colorado Law School, Denver University and Johnson and Wales University, numerous Colorado Rockies and Colorado Rapids games, BBC Radio, as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland coming to America celebration, a KBCO Studio C session, and Red Rocks.​


Drew Morell, Senior Instructor

Drew Morell has been a professional jazz musician and educator in the Denver area for the last 16 years. He was hired into the teaching staff of the Baldwin Piano Co. at age 18 where he began his career as an educator and eventually was made head of the department. After 8 years on staff, Morell opened his own music studio: Infinity Music.

Morell is a working pianist, bassist, and guitarist, and has performed with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Red Holloway, Javon Jackson, Mark Elff, L.A. vocalist Sherry Williams, Lew Tobaccin, Nelson Rangel, Jimmy Heath, Dakota Staton, and The Neophonic Jazz Orchestra. Drew currently enjoys working as the “house” bassist at the nationally renowned jazz club, El Chapultapec. He is a very active as a studio musician, recording on both bass and piano.

He directs the signature jazz combo and teaches applied jazz guitar.


garrison_156px.jpgOriginally from the Chicago area, bassist Greg Garrison now calls Denver home.  He has a strong interest in bluegrass and American folk as well as jazz and improvised instrumental music, and he has been able to work with a wide range of musicians from both worlds including Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell, Chris Thile, Punch Brothers, Leftover Salmon, Dave Douglas, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Ron Miles, Del McCoury, Art Lande, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton, and Vassar Clements.

Garrison maintains an active performing and recording schedule in addition to his teaching duties at CU Denver.  He holds a DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado, a MM in Double Bass Performance from the University of Northern Colorado, and a BM from the University of Illinois. 

To learn more about the opportunities awaiting you in the guitar program, please contact the College of Arts & Media.