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.
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 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)
Fall 2023 Jazz Schedule:
Rehearsals/MUPF 1111: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30 - 3:45
Sectional/MUPF 1111L: Fridays 1:25 - 2:15
Dr. Will Campbell
Director of Jazz Studies