The jazz studies curriculum is a rigorous one that includes course sequences in arranging, improvisation, jazz piano, and history, as well as traditional music theory, piano, and sight singing. You'll study your chosen instrument or voice in disciplined weekly lessons with both Ithaca jazz faculty and classical performance professors -- which is why all students auditioning for the program are required to take both a standard entrance audition with performance faculty in addition to a jazz audition with the jazz studies director.
There are a wide variety of ensembles in which you can hone your talents, including three big bands, a vocal jazz ensemble, and multiple small jazz combos. Simply put, there are an overwhelming number of possibilities for performances, recordings, and jam sessions both on campus and in the Ithaca community at large.
Learn from the Pros
Each year, the jazz ensembles perform with world-renowned jazz artists who also give master classes, clinics, and lectures on topics such as improvisation, jazz composition, and career opportunities. For example, when the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra visited campus, the entire ensemble delivered a stunning master class in which members of the College's jazz ensemble sat in with the group.
Other recent guest artists include legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis, Eastman School of Music professor Bill Dobbins, pianist Billy Taylor, bassist and educator Chuck Israels, and trombonist Jiggs Whigham.