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Dr. Brady Knapp emphasizes comprehensive musicianship

Dr. Brady Knapp emphasizes comprehensive musicianshipAs music majors at the University of St. Thomas, students receive personal instruction from professors like Dr. Brady Knapp, assistant professor of music and head of choral and vocal studies. In addition to teaching private lessons, he also leads the Opera Workshop, University Singers and Pop Singers.

Listen in on a private lesson with Dr. Brady Knapp and view student performances in Cullen Hall.

 “What I value about UST is its concentration on the liberal arts, small class-size and the professor-to-student ratio,” Knapp said. “Compared to my teaching experience in two large state schools, at UST, professors and students are allowed more face-to-face time.”

To complement the classroom experience, Knapp started the Opera Workshop five years ago. Through an evening performance of scenes from musical theater, opera and operetta, students are given more stage time as performers.

“Adding the opera workshop was a boost to our overall music curriculum and has allowed for us to recruit and grow significantly,” he said. “The level of talent in this University is astounding, even though we are a small school. It is imperative that our students continue to have serious performance opportunities.”

Knapp said practicum stage performance makes a UST music degree more valuable. “It gives our students a better grounding when they go out into the world of professional music,” he said. “A degree in music must be centered on making music, as well as thinking about music.”

Knapp’s former students are in graduate schools, opera apprenticeships and summer programs, singing professionally, and/or leading church music programs all over the country. Some larger schools are training only performers, but Knapp said at UST, the professors have honest conversations about what it takes to be a professional musician, performer or music educator, and they encourage an interdisciplinary study of music.

“I want students to have the quality performance experience, as one may find in a larger music conservatory, but within the rich and diverse backdrop of a liberal arts curriculum,” he said.
Along with his full-time duties at UST, Knapp has served as co-director of music at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston since 1998.
“Through my professional endeavors, I hope I am able to model comprehensive musicianship,” he said. “I think it’s our obligation to train students for the world of professional music, both sacred and secular.”

With recent additions to the music curriculum, including courses on diction for singers, vocal pedagogy and art song literature, the University now offers a Master in Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in music, in addition to the undergraduate program.

“The recent additions to our vocal curriculum have helped us recruit and grow tremendously,” Knapp said. “I hope our future includes a broader national and international reputation.”
To learn more about a degree in music at UST, email Dr. Knapp at or call 713-525-3560.