Summits of The College Music Society (CMS) provide opportunity to (1) focus intently on a topic of present or emerging importance to the music field and (2) develop action plans for addressing this concern. The CMS Committee on Strategic Partnerships and Alliances welcomes proposals for Summits, the topics of which will contribute significantly to the expanded perspectives of individuals and the profession as a whole.

Purpose and Goals

CMS is an agent of change for music and higher education, and CMS Summits serve as an important envisioning means in support of this purpose. CMS Summits bring together expertise to broaden awareness of issues of our day and develop common goals to improve specific conditions. CMS Summits provide the opportunity to gather and consider existing resources on the Summit’s topic, often through bibliography, white papers, curricular models, and action plans. CMS Summits address how music units, faculty, and students can better prepare for a richer musical life and career, and can have a positive impact in their communities.

Summit Programs

CMS Summit programs include (1) consideration of the philosophy informing the Summit’s topic and the topic’s place in music in higher education and American cultural life; (2) examination and development of models of excellence for work with the topic; (3) exploration of tools for implementation of the topic; and (4) development of action plans to be used in local institutions and in national forums. The finest expertise available informs all aspects of the program with the goal of wide understanding of cultural and economic impacts.


CMS Summits are usually held for two days, often over Martin Luther King weekend in January or Presidents Weekend in February. Summits may, however, be held at any time during the year.

Summit Organization

Each Summit is organized and managed by an event director. CMS conference staff members play a supporting role and will assist with publicity, registration, and other details.


Summits are often hosted by college or university campus with appropriate conference hotel space nearby.

Previous CMS Summits

CMS has held the following Summits:

  • January 2010, Nashville, Tennessee: Music Entrepreneurship Education
  • January 2011, Atlanta, Georgia: Community Engagement
  • January 2012, Anaheim, California: Music Business-Industry and Higher Education
  • January 2013, Dallas, Texas: Developing the Artist Citizen
  • May 2014, Seattle, Washington: Music Science and Society

Guidelines for Submitting Proposals

Proposals for Summits are welcome at any time. The Committee on Strategic Partnerships and Alliances will review proposals and a response to the proposal will be sent as soon as possible. The Committee wishes to make the proposal process as painless as possible, but needs a concise presentation of the concept and operation of the proposed event. Accordingly, a proposal includes the following:

Summit Overview – A brief overview should indicate the intent of the Summit, the nature of the event, and the idea behind it. This overview should be adaptable for use with advertising for the Summit.

Professional Impact Statement – Include a brief description of how the Summit will benefit the field of music and/or participants professionally.

Full Summit Description – The Summit Overview should be expanded and detail provided. The description should include a history of the topic, a statement of need and relationship to previous CMS or higher education initiatives (if any), an indication of the constituency, and a general statement of limits or breadth of topic scope.

Steering Committee – If a Steering Committee will be used to develop the Summit, please list the names and affiliations of the Chair(s) and members. Steering Committee members should include those with expertise in the proposed topic.

Faculty Listing – If a faculty is appropriate to the Summit, the proposal should contain names and a brief (250 words or less) biography of each presenter. Faculty proposed should be of the highest quality possible for the proposed topic.

Schedule and Venue – A proposed daily schedule of events should be included. This should include (1) time slots for sessions, breaks, and meals, and (2) individual session titles with brief explanatory notes. The proposed venue should be described in detail.

Budget – Income from registration and other revenue sources must cover expenses. Should there be a grant or sponsor funding, identification will be helpful to the Committee when it is considering the proposal. Proposers are asked to use the budget guidelines below.

Supporting Materials – Additional materials (e.g., articles, letters, brochures, video clips, audio recordings, biographies, reviews) are welcome if they will strengthen the proposal. Electronic files are preferred for any supporting materials.


If you have questions while developing your proposal, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Robby D. Gunstream, Executive Director of The College Music Society, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Proposal Submission

Proposals should be sent in MS Word, PDF, and MS Excel files via electronic mail to Robby D. Gunstream, Executive Director of The College Music Society, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Budget Development

Please provide the following information on an Excel spreadsheet and submit it with your Summit proposal.


Registration Fees – Registration fees must fully finance the Summit unless outside funding has been secured. Although not mandatory, CMS Summits often include separate registration rates for faculty, students, and retirees, if appropriate. An average registration rate may be determined by dividing the total operating expense of the Summit by the number of planned participants; the average may then be adjusted for separate registration categories. If complimentary registration will be offered to guest speakers, this should be identified in the budget.

Other Revenue – List any anticipated revenue for optional excursions, receptions, meals, and off-site opportunities not included in the basic registration fee, as well as revenue from sponsorships or in-kind donations.


Personnel – Please itemize expenses for the project Director (if applicable), invited presenters and/or performers, and support personnel including (1) honoraria, (2) travel, (3) housing, (4) meals, and (5) miscellaneous expense. A sliding scale for faculty honoraria, based on the final registration count, may be developed; this arrangement greatly increases the likelihood that a Summit can be held with minimal enrollment. Graduate assistants may be budgeted for help with managing equipment, the registration desk, computer hardware and software, audio-visual equipment, and running errands. CMS Executive Office staff may not be able to provide on-site support during the Summit.

Program Support – Please include expenses for operations, facilities, and equipment that will not be provided by a host institution.

Program Printing – Summits may need to print program books, schedules, lists of registrants and faculty, handouts, and other materials. Some prepare notebooks for participants.

Meals and Catering – All costs for coffee breaks and meals should be included. Please remember to include any tax and service charges, as well as all persons receiving complimentary consideration.

Special Events – Costs related to special excursions to museums, concerts, and other venues of interest, as well as venue rental and transportation, should be included here.