Department of Music, Theater and Dance
- Bachelor of Music Education from Lee University
- Bachelor of Science in Music Business from Lee University
- Master of Music in Jazz Studies (Piano Emphasis) from University of Tennessee Knoxville
- Doctor of Arts in Jazz Studies (Piano Emphasis, Classical Vocal Pedagogy Secondary), A.B.D.
Ashlee Varner is a pianist, vocalist, educator, arranger, and composer from Pennsylvania. A classically trained pianist, she currently performs and composes jazz, R&B, and gospel, and works steadily as a musician and educator. She has toured, directed, accompanied, and appeared throughout the United States, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and China with numerous gospel groups.
While studying at the University of Tennessee, she was mentored by renowned pianist Donald Brown and saxophonist and educator Jerry Coker, and appeared on occasion with Donald Brown's R&B band, After Dance. She holds an undergraduate degree from Lee University in Music Business and Music Education with an emphasis in classical piano and a Masters of Music degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with an emphasis in jazz piano studies. Currently, she is pursuing a doctoral degree in jazz piano studies with a secondary emphasis in vocal pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado.
During her time at UNCO, Varner directed vocal jazz ensembles, taught jazz class piano, as well as private jazz piano students. She performed with the Vanguard Combo, and Lab I, the premier jazz ensembles of the University. During her stint with Lab Band I, the ensemble won Downbeat magazine’s award for “Best Graduate College Large Ensemble.” In 2014, she won the Downbeat award for “Best Graduate College Jazz Vocal Soloist.” She has taught in both the jazz and classical field at Metropolitan State University, Colorado Christian University, Front Range Community College, and Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.
She currently serves as the Coordinator for the Jazz & Contemporary Voice Department at Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus and performs with her own groups. You can hear her latest recording work on Kenneth Brown’s album, 3Down.
- Downbeat Award: Best Graduate College Jazz Vocalist, 2014
- Downbeat Award: Best Graduate College Large Jazz Ensemble, Lab Band I, University of Northern Colorado, 2014
- Downbeat Award: Best Graduate College Large Jazz Ensemble, Lab Band I, University of Northern Colorado, 2013
- JEN (Jazz Education Network), 2011-2014
- Graduate Assistantship for Jazz Studies, University of Northern Colorado, 2011-2013
- Departmental Award for Instrumental Music, Lee University, 2007
- Outstanding Soloist/Performer, Louisville Jazz Festival, Louisville, KY, 2005, 2006
- Alpha Chi Honor Society, Lee University, 2006-2007
- Kappa Delta Pi-Education Honor Society, Lee University, 2006-2007
- Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, Lee University, 2005-2007
- Dean’s List, Lee University, 2002-2007
- Fundamentals Music Theory (MUT 1001)
- Fundamental of Music Theory Lab (MUT 1003)
- Music Theory 1 (MUT 1111)
- Sightsinging & Ear Training 1 (MUT 1241)
- Vocal Fusion Ensemble (MUT 2341)
- Women’s Ensemble (MUT 2341)
- Celebration Ensemble (MUT 2341)
- R&B Ensemble 1 (MUT 1720)
- R&B Ensemble 2 (MUT 1720)
- Pre-Applied Voice Lessons (MVJ 1011)
- 1st Year Applied Voice Lessons (MVJ 1311)
- 2nd Year Applied Voice Lessons (MVJ 2321)