University of Minnesota Duluth

Jazz Area

Jazz Studies at UMD

The Department of Music and the School of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth have made a commitment to the continued development and cultivation of jazz. Jazz Studies majors explore the rich, multicultural foundation of jazz as they prepare for a career as a contemporary musician. Students undertake specialized coursework to develop skills in jazz performance, composition, arranging, analysis and studio teaching. Ensembles include Jazz Bands, Jazz Combos, Guitar Ensembles, Vocal Jazz Ensembles and various other band and choir ensembles. Those interested in applying for the Jazz Studies Degree should contact the University of Minnesota Duluth at (218)726-8208 or email Ryan Frane at

Below is a sample of some of the courses in the UMD Jazz Studies Degree Program. Please see the UMD catalog for a full description of the degree program.

  • Recital Hour
  • Tonal Harmony I
  • Ear-Training and Sight-Singing I
  • Tonal Harmony II
  • Ear-Training II
  • Tonal Harmony III
  • Ear-Training III
  • Tonal Harmony IV
  • Ear-Training
  • Sight Singing and Improvisation
  • Fundamentals of Conducting
  • Music History I
  • Music History II
  • Jazz Studies Piano Class I
  • Piano Class II
  • Jazz Theory
  • Jazz Improvisation I
  • Jazz Improvisation II
  • Jazz Writing I
  • Jazz Writing II
  • Jazz Literature
  • Senior Recital
  • Jazz Pedagogy
  • Music Industry
  • Internship in Music
  • Applied Instrument Instruction (16 cr)
  • Applied Jazz Instruction (8 cr)
  • Ensemble Requirements (16 credits)
  • Educational Preparation

    For many years, the music department has supported an interest in jazz as part of a diverse musical education. The Jazz Studies degree program mainstreams jazz students into the existing program, building upon a core curriculum in music which includes theory, history, literature, and applied study. The students majoring in Jazz Studies will specialize in jazz-related topics to prepare them for graduate-level professional training or entry-level professional engagements. Course offerings include: jazz arranging and composition, improvisation 1-6, sound reinforcement, jazz theory, MIDI applications and electronic music, music industry and the analysis of jazz, commercial and theatre music. Opportunities for Performance Instrumental: UMD's bands include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Concert Band, and the Bulldog Pep Bands. There is a full symphony orchestra as well as a chamber orchestra.

    The jazz bands include Jazz Ensemble I, which has won Midwest competitions, several other jazz ensembles, a guitar ensemble, and a number of jazz combos. Jazz ensemble 1 has a strong history of performance excellence, including several award winning efforts. The annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival provides the opportunity for students to perform and work with internationally renowned jazz artists. Past clinicians have included Toshiko Akiyoshi, Frank Foster, Rufus Reid, Bobby Shew, Jim McNeely, Freddie Hubbard, Steve Turre, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, and Claudio Roditi.


    UMD vocal ensembles include the University Singers, which tours internationally, Chamber Singers, Concert Chorale, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Opera Workshop, which presents a full opera production in the spring with orchestra. Other Performance Opportunities: Auditions are open for both vocal and instrumental performers in UMD Theatre's musical productions. Selected UMD music majors also perform in the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus, the Twin Ports Wind Ensemble or the Big Time Jazz Orchestra. Vocal students often participate in the church choirs of the community.



    For Information about music department programs and upcoming concerts, please call 218-726-8877