Mike Titlebaum, saxophonist and director of jazz studies

Mike Titlebaum

Associate Professor, Music Performance
School: School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Office: James J Whalen Ctr for Music 2204, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Jazz ensemble, saxophone, improvisation, composition and arranging

Mike Titlebaum, Director of Jazz Studies

Greetings! I am on sabbatical for the 2024-25 school year. If you’d like to read about my various sabbatical projects, I plan to update a little page about how things are going:


For questions about jazz at IC, you can contact wonderful colleagues:

John White at jwhite@ithaca.edu is serving as acting director of jazz studies this year, so he can discuss curriculum. John also directs the Jazz Vocal Ensemble and is a great pianist.

Aaron Staebell at astaebell@ithaca.edu is a fantastic drummer and composer. He is directing the IC Jazz Ensemble and is teaching Jazz Theory and Aural Training, Survey of Jazz History, drum set and other jazz lessons.

Looking forward to sseeing you in 2025!



Saxophonist/composer/arranger Mike Titlebaum (he/him/his) is Associate Professor of Music Performance and Director of Jazz Studies at Ithaca College, where he directs the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble, coaches combos, teaches jazz saxophone and courses in jazz standards, arranging, repertoire and pedagogy. In 2010 he founded the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest, which was endowed in 2017 with a generous gift by David P. ('60) and Susan W. Wohlhueter. Titlebaum also teaches and coordinates the jazz area in the IC Summer Music Academy.

Titlebaum is the author of the book "Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment" which was published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis in May 2021. He is simultaneously releasing a series of free instructional videos to help introduce the techniques from the book. Titlebaum is also the co-editor of "Teaching School Jazz: Perspectives, Principles and Strategies" published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Titlebaum has performed and given workshops and lectures at numerous state and national conferences, including the Jazz Education Network, the International Society for Improvised Music, the New York State School Music Association, the New York State Band Directors Association and the Texas Music Educators Association.

He has played in many of New York's famous musical venues, including the Blue Note, Smalls, Augies, Fez Under Time Cafe and the legendary CBGB's as well as the pit orchestra of the Broadway musical "Cats" at the Winter Garden Theater. He has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, and with other internationally recognized artists and groups including John Hollenbeck, Gary Versace, Jason Robert Brown and dozens more. He performed the premiere of his recent saxophone concerto composition “Lifelong Adventure” with the Eastman Wind Orchestra in November 2021. Titlebaum has published compositions and arrangements through Lorenz/Heritage Jazz WorksAdvance Music/Schott, and GIA Publications. 

Titlebaum earned his BM in Saxophone Performance and the Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 1991. He received his MM in 1992 from Eastman in Jazz and Contemporary Media with an emphasis in Writing Skills.

Find Mike on the internet & social media at:

For up-to-date information on the jazz program at Ithaca, please like the Facebook page Ithaca College Jazz.