Colorado Music Strategy

Program Summary

The Colorado Music Strategy is a comprehensive strategy to support statewide music programs run by businesses, artists, and educators. The strategy’s goals include increasing:

  • revenue for Colorado-based musicians and music-related businesses
  • awareness of Colorado’s music scene nationally and internationally

Music plays an important role in Colorado’s economy. A July 2018 study of Colorado’s music scene (PDF) indicates that Colorado’s music industry has more than 16,000 jobs and just over $1.4 billion in revenue. Employment grew 24% from 2010 to 2016.

The Colorado Music Strategy is a public-private initiative of Colorado Creative Industries, Bohemian Foundation, The Music District, and Youth on Record. Bohemian Foundation provided $75,000 in matching funds for the first year of the strategy.

Stephen Brackett will serve as the Colorado Music Ambassador from 2020 to 2022. He was nominated by Governor Jared Polis in October 2020.


Type: Grant and award

For: Educators, musicians, organizations, and communities

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries


With the input of music industry experts, musicians and nonprofit music organizations, Colorado Creative Industries established the Colorado Music Ambassador designation in 2016 as part of the Colorado Music Strategy. The position recognizes and supports Colorado musicians whose public service improves Colorado economically, socially, and culturally. The music ambassador serves a two-year term and receives a $10,000 honorarium for community engagement work. Each music ambassador identifies a specific way they will to support the Colorado music community.

The Colorado Music Ambassador program is a partnership supported by Take Note Colorado, Bohemian Foundation, Youth on Record, and Colorado Creative Industries.


You need to be a musician who has:

  • made exceptional contributions to Colorado through creative practice, civic engagement, and music industry professionalism
  • a passion to advance the Colorado Music Strategy through community engagement and public discourse

Nomination process

Email a written nomination to Colorado Creative Industries to the program manager below. Include the full name of the person you are nominating and why you are nominating them.

Selection process

The Colorado Music Ambassador nominations are reviewed by a panel of musicians and music industry leaders. Recommendations are provided to the Governor who makes the official appointment.

Detour is a model of statewide music touring as a community-based, sustainable, and creatively rewarding practice.


  • increases touring opportunities for Colorado musicians
  • provides music opportunities for residents in parts of the state that are not traditional tour stops
  • gives musicians alternative and more sustainable home-state touring opportunities

Musicians spend extra time with communities to explore shared interests and challenges through performances, workshops, field recordings, creative education, and community celebrations.

The following artists have participated in Detour:

  • Flobots
  • Isaac Slade of the Fray
  • 2MX2
  • Chimney Choir
  • Rebekah Durham of the Ginny Mules
  • DJ Fullmetal

How to apply

The Music District in Fort Collins manages this program with funds from Bohemian Foundation. To learn more about how to apply, please contact The Music District / Detour Colorado.

Take Note Colorado provides access to musical instruments and instruction to every K-12 student in Colorado. Take Note Colorado recognizes that music is a vital part of a well-rounded and vibrant education, social development, creativity, joy, and well-being.

The program:

  • raises money
  • connects communities to music resources
  • increases student-centered and culturally-relevant music instruction

Take Note Colorado was launched in 2017 through the leadership of Isaac Slade of the Fray and then-Governor John Hickenlooper. Musicians, philanthropists, music industry leaders, government representatives, community and nonprofit leaders joined Hickenlooper and Slade to help. Now, thousands of Coloradans who believe in the power of music to change lives and drive positive social change are supporting Take Note Colorado.

How to apply

Contact Take Note Colorado if you are interested in learning more about the program.

These resources are for educators and students interested in contemporary music and the music industry.

Little Kids Rock and Modern Band Summit
Fort Collins

Little Kids Rock teaches kids to perform, improvise, and compose in the popular music genres they already know and love. Modern Band Summit is an annual conference for music teachers, arts administrators, and higher education leaders from across the country.

Youth on Record

Music courses taught by professional musicians in Denver Public Schools


Music education, mentorship, and empowerment

eTown Handmade Songs

Songwriting program for students

Department of Music Entertainment and Industry Studies at University of Colorado Denver

As one of the only music departments in the country with a contemporary focus, Music and Entertainment Industry Studies at the University of Colorado Denver provides the guidance, knowledge and expertise needed to turn your passion for music into a lifelong profession

Entrepreneurship Center for Music at University of Colorado Boulder

Our mission is simple: to equip today’s music students with the skills and tools they need to create sustainable careers in the arts. With the arts business undergoing enormous changes in how content is produced, distributed, and consumed, ECM programming goes beyond the traditional career skills taught at some music schools: at the ECM, students are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial skills to explore the vast opportunities inherent in a changing marketplace, and develop plans to implement career-enhancing ventures across the artistic spectrum.

Future Arts Foundation

Provides Colorado schools with instruments and hosts free youth arts workshops for the children of Colorado teachers, first responders, and military members

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Fort Collins

Play instruments and explore music physics, technology, and history in the Digital Dome Theater and Music and Sound Lab

Make Music

Software developer of Finale, Smart Music, Garritan, and Music XML

Swallow Hill Music

Music school, live concert venue, and community resource center

Community Partners

Program Manager

Connect Further

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