Jazz Studies

The jazz studies area is committed to the highest level of performance, mentoring, education, and community outreach. This unique curriculum features nationally and internationally renowned faculty members drawn from the highest ranks of the jazz community. All faculty members have experience performing with top recording and performing artists in the jazz music industry.

Meet Our Jazz Studies Faculty

About the Jazz Studies Area

The jazz studies area offers a unique learning environment designed to support the development of the next generation of jazz musicians—one that fosters artistic expression, innovation, and the exploration of blues-based improvisation, bebop, swing, blues, and soul music. Courses are taught through master classes, private studies, and studio classes.

Each student takes private lessons with an applied studies professor. These sessions are intended to introduce creative ideas for improvisational proficiency, aid the translation of theoretical principles to performance ideas, and increase general understanding of the jazz era and jazz tradition in relation to the student’s particular instrument.

Students also have the unique opportunity to work, perform, network with and be mentored by jazz artists of the highest caliber who come to campus for four one-week residencies funded by an endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union. Learn more about the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artists in Residence or visit our news section to browse articles about this jazz residnecy program and other visiting artists to the College of Music.

Attracted by the excellence of our program, some of the world's leading jazz musicians make regular visits to the College of Music to give master classes and performances. Noteable guest artists have included Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff Hamilton, Jimmy Heath, Ingrid Jensen, Frank Morgan, Eric Reed, Cyrus Chestnut, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Cobb, Carl Allen, Vanessa Ruben, Jeremy Pelt, Antonio Hart, Walter Blanding, Andrew Speight, Andre Hayward, the Tia Fuller Quartet, and other jazz greats.

Students and faculty frequently participate in community residencies throughout Michigan and conduct workshops, concerts, and master classes with children in various public schools in Lansing and Detroit through the College of Music’s outreach and engagement program.