The Jazz Studies program at UNC Charlotte offers a learning environment that is both engaging and inspiring. With a focus on instrumental mastery as well as artistic expression, the program is committed to the development of young artists.  In addition to being the home of the annual 49er Jazz Festival, our creative environment incorporates an extensive calendar of guest artists and clinicians including Marvin Stamm, Ed Thigpen, Dick Oatts, Brad Leali, Scott Wendholt, Rich Perry, Clay Jenkins, Mike Steinel, Jeff Coffin, Harold Danko, Terell Stafford, Jim Riggs, Cyrus Chestnut, David Berkman, and Paul McKee.

Ensembles and Courses

The Jazz Ensemble (MUPF 1111 and MUPF 1111L) provides students with a solid understanding of the lineage of big band literature from the swing era to contemporary styles.

The Jazz Combos (MUPF 1170) focus more on the element of improvisation in small ensemble settings.

Jazz Ensemble Techniques (MUSC 1222) introduces the teaching and administration of public school jazz ensembles including rehearsal techniques, and analyzing appropriate literature and teaching materials.

Jazz Improvisation I (MUSC 2235) is an introduction to jazz theory and its execution through instrumental improvisation, including a detailed study of harmony, chord/scale relationships, musical forms, and the integration of this knowledge into performance.

Jazz Improvisation II (MUSC 2236) is a continuation of Jazz Improvisation I, with greater emphasis on performance and integration of advanced harmonic/melodic devices and concepts, solo transcriptions, basic piano voicings, and composition memorization.

Jazz Pedagogy and Materials (MUSC 4128) The teaching and conducting of public school instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles, including rehearsal techniques, concert presentation, the history and theory of jazz, sources for appropriate teaching materials and improvisation techniques. Field work required.

Jazz Arranging and Composition (MUSC 4124) The study of arranging and orchestration techniques in the jazz style. Detailed analysis of historically important music scores for jazz combo and jazz ensemble. Instrument ranges, scoring techniques, and advanced harmonic substitutions are addressed. Combo and large ensemble writing projects are assigned.

Jazz History (MUSC 4298) The study of significant musicians and literature in the history of jazz. Detailed analyses of influential scores and recordings will constitute a significant part of the course. Written projects such as research and listening reaction papers will be assigned.
Jazz Piano Techniques (MUSC 3252) Develops jazz piano playing skills with blues and standard jazz harmonic progressions.  Content includes the development of common harmonic techniques in jazz compositions, and the interpretation and performance of them in standard jazz literature on the piano.

Audition Information

Students wishing to audition for acceptance to the Jazz Studies degree track should prepare the following items:

  • Major and Harmonic Minor Scales
  • Sight Reading of a jazz etude.
  • An improvised solo over the chord progression to a jazz standard and/or a blues progression. 
  • An improvised solo over the chord progression to a jazz standard and/or a blues progression. The use of a pre-recorded accompaniment track or live accompaniment is recommended.
  • Performance of a solo transcription along with the recording is recommended but not required.
  • Performance of a classical etude or movement of significant piece for your instrument is recommended but not required.
Auditions for the Jazz Ensemble take place on the first class meeting of each semester (either a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, depending on the semester) during the Jazz Ensemble rehearsal time, with additional times scheduled in the late afternoon or evening. The auditions will consist of performance of assigned audition music and sight-reading. The audition music will be posted on this webpage the Wednesday before the start of the semester. Auditions are open to anyone enrolled at UNC Charlotte, regardless of major. 

Lead Trumpet

Bass Trombone

Auditions for the Jazz Combos are held during the first week of classes.  The auditions will consist of the following components:

*      Improvisation on B-flat/F blues progression
*      A jazz standard to be selected by instructor
*      A prepared tune to demonstrate improvisation skill level (optional, but highly recommended)

Spring 2024 Jazz Schedule:

Rehearsals/MUPF 1111:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12:20 - 1:10
Sectional/MUPF 1111L:   Fridays 1:25 - 2:15

Contact Us

Dr. Will Campbell
Director of Jazz Studies