Jazz StudiesJazz Studies
If you major in Jazz Studies, you’ll study in-depth the history and literature of the unique American art form that is jazz. You’ll learn about contemporary trends in jazz and the long, storied, legendary history of jazz and its influence on American culture. More importantly, you’ll learn how to really play jazz – in a professional kind of a way. You’ll become a master of improvisation and reading on sight, of arrangement and composition, and of jazz theory. You’ll get four years of music lessons from people who have dedicated their very lives to the study of jazz. Over the course of your Jazz Studies major, you’ll learn all about melodies and rhythms, harmony and scales, transcription of jazz chords, and arranging and improvisation.
Outside of class, you can participate in an incredible wealth of opportunities to perform in jazz combos, ensembles, and big bands. It is in these extracurricular programs where you’ll be able to hone and polish your own creative and professional style.
Get in your high school jazz band and become an expert on a particular instrument. If you want to major in Jazz Studies, your overriding goal needs to be developing the performance skills necessary for a successful audition (in person or via a recording) with your future college instructors. You’ll also need recommendations from instructors, so make nice with those people. Piano lessons are also a good thing, too, if you can get them, as is knowledge of basic music theory. In addition, you should complete a solid college preparatory curriculum. They aren’t going to let you into college based on your saxophone-playing skills alone.