College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO Alumnus Named Teacher of the Year at Classen School of Advanced Studies

Nov. 5, 2010matt denman

University of Central Oklahoma School of Music alumnus Matt Denman has been named Teacher of the Year for the 2010-2011 school year at Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City.

Denman graduated with a Master of Music degree from Central in 2009 while simultaneously teaching classical guitar and music theory at Classen.

"UCO had the only music school that seemed interested in educating working music teachers. The schedule allowed me to finish my master's degree in one-and-a-half years. I credit UCO with providing the tools and inspiration to take my teaching to the next level," said Denman.  

At Classen, Denman teaches music theory and directs the classical guitar program, which has been awarded top honors at the highly-competitive University of Texas Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Competition and Festival for the past three years.

Denman was selected as Teacher of the Year at Classen through a process of nomination through his colleagues at the school.

"It is always nice to have the respect of your peers. Hopefully, this will also bring attention to guitar education in public schools."

Denman credits part of his success to his mentor, Dr. Ted Honea, head of graduate studies in Central's School of Music.  

"Dr. Honea was a wonderful, passionate and knowledgeable mentor. His door was always and continues to be open to me. He taught me how teaching music can be a vocation instead of just an occupation," said Denman.

Denman left an impact on Central as well.

"I consider Matt one of our great success stories, even before he received teacher of the year at Classen.  I was impressed with his intelligence, serious application and concerned dedication to teaching," said Honea.

"I particularly remember a practicum document of his, in which he reported on his efforts in teaching guitar class and having students compose their own works.  He provided a CD of students' compositions that blew me away. I think Matt will certainly prove to be a major influence in guitar instruction in Oklahoma and beyond, even way beyond."

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