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Program in Jazz Studies


Anthony D. J. Branker

Executive Committee

V. Kofi Agawu, Music 

Anthony D. J. Branker, Music

Scott G. Burnham, Music 

Alexandra T. Vazquez, English, African American Studies 

The Program in Jazz Studies is dedicated to providing an educational forum for the study of the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. As constructed, it provides the student performers and composers (and others interested in the tradition) with the opportunity to study jazz by way of a wide range of course offerings. Students in the program will participate in a number of academic courses from the music department curriculum, as well as other approved interdisciplinary offerings, that encourage the study of the historical, cultural, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom. They will also have the opportunity to be involved in a number of jazz outreach activities that are designed to enrich elementary, middle school, and high school students throughout the state, as well as the community at large.

While the Program in Jazz Studies is not designed to produce professional jazz performers, it will provide a foundation upon which a student may build in order to go on to further training while receiving a superior liberal arts education.      

Admission to the Program

The Program in Jazz Studies is open to juniors and seniors who have the appropriate background and are committed to studying the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. Admission to the program will be by application and audition. The number of students in the program will be limited by available resources. Although enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors, students may begin taking courses that count toward certificate requirements in their freshman year. 

Program of Study

To qualify for a program certificate, students are required to complete six related courses and participate as a performer in one of the music department's jazz performance groups. In addition, they must also be involved in educational outreach through the program's Jazz-in-the-Schools initiative.

Program Requirements

Students are required to take six courses from the following four categories (note:  an asterisk indicates a one-time-only course or topic):

Jazz history (1 course) from:

MUS 262 Evolution of Jazz Styles (also AAS 262); or
*MUS 320 Jazz Performance Practice in Historical and Cultural Context 

Jazz theory (2 courses) from:

MUS 311 Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition I;
MUS 312 Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition II; or
MUS 319 Seminar in Jazz Composition

Jazz performance (1 course):

MUS 215 Projects in Jazz Performance

Historical/cultural context electives (2 courses) to be chosen from the following list. Other courses may be substituted with the prior approval of the program director. New courses will be added to this area as they are developed; please check the music department's website for an up-to-date list of electives. (Note:  if a jazz certificate student is also a music concentrator, the elective courses in historical/cultural context must be taken from outside of the music department offerings.) 

African American Studies (AAS)

201 Introduction to African American Cultural Practices
*305 The History of Black Gospel Music (also REL 391)
*310 Music from the Hispanophone Caribbean (also ENG 324/MUS 256)
*342 Rhythm Nation (also ENG 397/MUS 364)
*348 Black Popular Music Culture (also ENG 348)
*372 Postblack-Contemporary African American Art (also ART 374/AMS 372)

American Studies (AMS)

*301 Listening In: Sound, Music, Noise, and Technology in American History

English (ENG)

*212 Black Bohemia: Racial Authenticity in Post-Civil Rights Music and Literature (also AAS 212)

History (HIS)

*399: In the Groove: Technology and Music in America, From Edison to the iPod

Music (MUS)

258 Music of Africa (also AFS 258)
260 Music in the United States

Sociology (SOC)

*214 Creativity, Innovation, and Society

In addition, students are required to participate in a University jazz ensemble during each semester of enrollment in the jazz studies program (junior and senior years). 

Independent Work

Students will develop an educational lecture/demonstration to be presented by a student-led jazz small group at an assembly program for an area elementary school or middle school. This will take place as part of the certificate program's Jazz-in-the-Schools outreach initiative.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in jazz studies upon graduation.