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Jazz Studies


Masterís Degree Program

The Jazz Studies program at the University of North Texas provides students with an intense musical experience. Itís large enough to constitute its own scene while enabling you to receive individual attention from faculty members.

You can pursue a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies in one of three tracks: performance, composition and pedagogy. We also offer course work leading to a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies.

In lessons, small and large ensembles, classes, concerts, recitals and countless independent projects, our students develop as performers, composers and teachers. They have earned a wide range of recognitions over the years, including 16 DownBeat Student Music Awards in 2013.

Students participate in the regionís musical life while at UNT and later join a large community of successful jazz alumni.

Setting the standard

The Division of Jazz Studies enjoys a long tradition of excellence, establishing the nationís first undergraduate Jazz Studies program in 1946. We always seek new musical directions to remain connected to todayís jazz music scene and other music professions that our graduates enter.

Interest in our program is strong. We currently have 60 to 70 masterís students and graduate approximately 17 graduate students each year. Our primary focuses are to:

  • Prepare you for a successful career as a jazz performer, composer, arranger or educator
  • Cultivate your knowledge of and appreciation for the jazz tradition and the broader musical traditions from which it has grown
  • Encourage your creative efforts and share your results on university, local, regional, national and international levels in performances and recordings
  • Help you enter the profession through interactions with guest artists and learning about music industry entrepreneurship

Performance, research and other learning opportunities

Youíll have many performance opportunities to choose from, including:

  • Nine jazz lab bands, among them the six-time Grammy nominated One OíClock Lab Band directed by Steve Wiest
  • Three Jazz Singers groups guided by Jennifer Barnes
  • L-5 and Super 400 Electric Guitar Ensembles directed by Fred Hamilton and graduate teaching fellows he mentors
  • Latin Jazz Lab directed by Josť Aponte
  • Jazz Chamber Music (approximately 25 small groups) mentored by Stefan Karlsson
  • Jazz Repertory Ensemble directed by Rodney Booth
  • Zebras, a contemporary music ensemble, directed by a graduate teaching assistant and mentored by Stefan Karlsson
  • U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble directed by a graduate teaching assistant and mentored by Steve Wiest

The UNT Music Library is one of the nationís best music libraries for jazz research. It features an extensive collection of books, periodicals, scores and special collections, and a recorded sound collection of more than 1 million items.

Each semester, we welcome guest artists for master classes, concerts and multi-day residencies. Our Jazz Lecture Series and Gomez Artist Residency have featured Ravi Coltrane, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Darcy James Argue, Nasheet Waits, Greg Osby, Peter Erskine, Christian McBride and Peter Eldridge. All guest artists are listed at the Glenn E. Gomez International Artists Endowment for Jazz Studies website and the Jazz Lecture Series site.

About the College of Music

The College of Music is one of the nationís most comprehensive music schools and is recognized internationally for its artistic and academic excellence. The college is a vital component of the regionís arts community, presenting more than 1,000 concerts annually. Its facilities include 300 practice rooms, seven performance venues (including Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center and Voertman Hall), numerous classrooms and rehearsal rooms, computer labs and an intermedia theater.

The College of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21; Reston, Va. 20190-5248; telephone 703- 437-0700). This accreditation means the college meets or exceeds strict academic standards for excellence in education.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Youíll need to meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® , the college and the division. Graduate school requirements are outlined at the Graduate School website. More information about the college and division requirements is at the College of Music website and the Division of Jazz Studies site.

To satisfy the GRE requirement, you may complete the GREís Analytical Writing section or the Jazz Studies in-house writing exam. The in-house writing exam is given during new graduate student orientation.

An undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies or another music field is not required. All applicants must participate in an in-person audition or submit a video recording. Applicants to the composition track are also expected to submit a portfolio of compositions and arrangements.

If youíre enrolling in the masterís program, you may have to take some undergraduate course work to prepare for the masterís program. The course work is determined after your transcript is evaluated and proficiency exams completed. You can also demonstrate your competence by audition or exam.

Degree requirements

Master of Music degree

  • 11 credit hours of required Jazz Studies courses
  • 6 credit hours of electives in music outside the Jazz Studies field
  • 15 credit hours in the performance, composition or pedagogy track

All students must pass a comprehensive exam covering all graduate course work in Jazz Studies.

Doctor of Musical Arts degree

  • 12 credit hours of applied instruction in performance courses
  • 3 credit hours of a jazz history and analysis course
  • 3 credit hours of a jazz pedagogy course
  • 2 credit hours of jazz ensemble
  • 2 credit hours of jazz chamber
  • 12 credit hours of dissertation (Available options are outlined in the catalog.)
  • 9 credit hours of musicology/music theory courses
  • 12 credit hours in a related field

Financial assistance

Applicants are eligible for competitive scholarships, including some full tuition and fees scholarships, and about 18 teaching assistantships and fellowships. Nonresident students who receive a competitive UNT scholarship of $1,000 or more are eligible to pay in-state rates.

Teaching assistants work with professors in classes on jazz records, improvisation and aural skills. Teaching fellows — with responsibility for grading — direct large ensembles and teach lessons. For some assignments, more than one student is appointed. Some students combine two roles in their position. Assignments are available in:

  • Four through Nine OíClock Lab Bands
  • Jazz Singers
  • U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble
  • Electric Guitar Ensemble
  • Zebras (contemporary music ensemble)
  • Jazz Chamber Music
  • Improvisation
  • Applied Jazz Saxophone
  • Applied Electric Guitar
  • Jazz Piano Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Jazz Recordings
  • Jazz Aural Fundamentals
  • Jazz Keyboard Fundamentals
  • Arranging