Perhaps those influential instructors are what molded Coleman into the musical instructor and academic leader he is today. After graduating from Parkview, Coleman attended the University of Missouri on a full scholarship and began studying instrumental performance. As a pianist and violinist, Coleman once developed tendinitis during his undergraduate career and was unable to play either instrument for six weeks. So, he took up vocal lessons to fill the time, and added vocals to his studies. Eventually, Coleman earned one bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in voice and violin performance and education from the MU School of Music.
The seasoned baritone, who has sung with more than 60 orchestras, trained also at the Juilliard School, the University of Michigan, the Aspen Music Festival and the Chautauqua Institute. He went on to share his expertise at a number of schools across the country as an instructor: Hickman High School in Columbia, The Barstow School in Kansas City, Stephens College, Columbia College (MO), MU, Bemidji State University, The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, The University of Memphis, The University of Michigan and, finally, Columbus State University.
Coleman has earned recognition across the country for his success as a performer and educator. In 2007 Coleman’s friends, family and former students established the Earl Coleman Music Scholarship in MU’s School of Music. In 2010, he was selected as one of four Master Teachers for the National Intern Program of the National Association of Teachers of Singing—a lifetime designation. Coleman’s former students have been nominated for the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards and performed in opera houses, musical theaters and symphonies across the country.
Coleman has recently retired and moved back to Columbia, which he says “feels like home.” He’s spending time with former students and awaiting their return to the stage.