In Memory of Michael J. Budds

editorial cartoon by John Darkow

by editorial cartoonist John Darkow for the Sunday, November 22, 2020 paper

Parisian Street Cafe

his self-titled Parisian Street Cafe (because MU is a non-smoking campus)

Green pen

"Green is my color.  Choose another."

Rock Recall
100 Years of Music-Making
Pics of alums - Symonne Sparks and Alicia Olatuja

Dr. Budds looking particularly happy with alums Symonne Sparks and Alicia Olatuja, February 2020 - Chancellor's Arts Showcase Concert (right before the world shut down)

Budds laughing

On November 19, 2020, the MU School of Music lost an icon.  Dr. Michael J. Budds began teaching at MU in 1982 and retired from full-time teaching in 2019.  He taught one class each semester last year after his retirement and was teaching a class for us this semester.  Over 10,000 students have been in his classes throughout these 37 years, most of whom were non-music majors in his Jazz, Pop, and Rock class which he taught every semester for 20 years.  He created a "brand" with that class and it is still taught every semester to roughly 240 students in the same place he taught it, Whitmore Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building.  He loved all his students, some a little more than others, and although he was often hard on them at the beginning, if you worked hard, you were always his "favorite" student.  There are so many stories of his green pen, dogs with names that included an X, questionable (if not completely inappropriate) quotes, his diet (diet coke, cigarettes, and Texas sheet cake), and of course, music of all kinds.  We offer this page as a monument and resource to those stories and memories.  Thank you to his many, many students and colleagues for contributing.

Information Lots of Folks Have Asked

  • There are no services planned at this time.  When it is safe to gather, we will plan a celebration of his life. No one will be surprised to know that he has left instructions.
  • Dr. Budds will be cremated with his ashes buried near his family in Illinois.
  • Max (his current dog) is being well taken care of by an alum at the moment.
  • Rusty Elder (BM 1997, MA 2008) will be teaching Music In the United States for us in the spring.
Articles About Him

Wikipedia Entry



Advanced Studies in American Music (Jan-March Spring 2020) from Mary Hales (MM 2020)

Beyond Campus in KC Lecture, Fall 2017 from Christina Casey Ray (BM 2014)
(SoM youtube page soon)
from Joseph Weidinger (BM 2012)
Lecture, Music in the United States, January 25, 2013 from Ben Colagiovanni (BM 2019)
(SoM youtube page soon)



Dr. Budds Playlist (American Music, JPR, Beethoven, Film Music)

from Ryan McFall (BSED 2016)
Stravinsky Class from Ben Worley (BA 2015, MM 2017)
Book List (as author, contributor, and/or editor)
Jazz in the sixties: The expansion of musical resources and techniques (1978)
Bleep! Censoring Rock and Rap Music (1999)
            MJB, contributor
Jazz and the Germans: Essays on the Influence of “Hot” American Idioms on 20th Century German Music (2002)
MJB, editor
Duke Ellington As Pianist: A Study of Styles (2013)
Matthew J. Cooper, author and MJB, editor
Bound Music, Unbound Women: The Search for an Identity in the Nineteenth Century (2015)
Petra Meyer-Frazier, author and MJB, editor

CMS Sourcebooks in American Music

The Dickinson Songs of Aaron Copland (2003)
Larry Starr and MJB
The Last Waltz of the Band (2005)
Neil Minturn and MJB
Original Hot Five Recordings of Louis Armstrong (2007)
Gene Henry Anderson and MJB
The Third Symphony of Charles Ives (2009)
Mark Zobel, author and MJB, editor
The Adagio of Samuel Barber (2013)
Wayne C. Wentzel, author and MJB, editor

Budds Center for American Music Studies


HIS QUOTES or "Budds-isms" extracted from hundreds of alumni comments (but only the PG ones!)

You cannot teach what you do not love and you cannot love what you do not know.

The history of music is the history of changing musical preferences.

Ella Fitzgerald isn’t on trial …. You are!

Music does not exist in a vacuum.

This song is about sex!

Music is a product of society, the revelation of the individual, and a unique form of expression.

Music does not exist to make you feel warm and fuzzy. It exists to edify the human soul.

If it is really important to you, you can find the money and time.

The 15th kiss is always better than the 1st.

You were always my favorite student.

Something about Virgil Thomson and a ham.

Go do great things.


As so many have said, there will never be another Dr. Budds.  Excelsior!