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Jazz Studies B.Mus.

Department of Music

student playing the guitar


This program integrates mainstream jazz students into the existing curriculum in music with an additional focus of jazz related courses taught by outstanding jazz faculty.

The uniquely American energy and artistry of Jazz is an integral part of UMD’s Department of Music where the Bachelor of Music (Bachelor of Music) degree in Jazz Studies builds on the core curriculum of music theory, history, literature, and applied study, but also allows students to participate in performance ensembles and additional coursework that focus on composing, arranging, analyzing, and teaching of jazz music. Mentored by faculty who are active artists, this program of study prepares students for the every-changing vocational possibilities for the contemporary musician, including but not limited to graduate-level professional training or professional engagements.

Educational Preparation

For many years, the music department has supported an interest in jazz as part of a diverse musical education. The Jazz Studies degree program mainstreams jazz students into the existing program, building upon a core curriculum in music which includes theory, history, literature, and applied study. The students majoring in Jazz Studies will specialize in jazz-related topics to prepare them for graduate-level professional training or entry-level professional engagements. Course offerings include: jazz arranging and composition, improvisation 1-6, sound reinforcement, jazz theory, MIDI applications and electronic music, music industry and the analysis of jazz, commercial and theatre music. Opportunities for Performance Instrumental: UMD's bands include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Concert Band, and the Bulldog Pep Bands. There is a full symphony orchestra as well as a chamber orchestra.

The jazz bands include Jazz Ensemble I, which has won Midwest competitions, several other jazz ensembles, a guitar ensemble, and a number of jazz combos. Jazz ensemble 1 has a strong history of performance excellence, including several award winning efforts. The annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival provides the opportunity for students to perform and work with internationally renowned jazz artists. Past clinicians have included Toshiko Akiyoshi, Frank Foster, Rufus Reid, Bobby Shew, Jim McNeely, Freddie Hubbard, Steve Turre, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, and Claudio Roditi.


UMD vocal ensembles include the University Singers, which tours internationally, Chamber Singers, Concert Chorale, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Opera Workshop, which presents a full opera production in the spring with orchestra. Other Performance Opportunities: Auditions are open for both vocal and instrumental performers in UMD Theatre's musical productions. Selected UMD music majors also perform in the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus, the Twin Ports Wind Ensemble or the Big Time Jazz Orchestra. Vocal students often participate in the church choirs of the community.

The Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies is a degree program designed to specifically prepare students for a career as a performer, arranger, and composer in jazz and contemporary music or for future studies at the graduate level.

Official Degree Requirements | University Catalog | Jazz Studies B.Mus.

More about this major | Academic Programs | Jazz Studies B.Mus.

Follow the guide for your declared catalog year

2018–2019 suggested four year sequence of courses | Jazz Studies B.Mus.