Bachelor of Music with a concentration in performance/jazz studies
ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS KEY
About the Program
The Bachelor of Music with a concentration in performance/jazz studies will teach you how to develop the skills, concepts and sensitivities that are essential to being a professional musician. Included are courses in music theory, aural skills, music history, conducting and applied study in your principal performing medium. The Jazz Studies curriculum annually affords some 60 students avenues for pursuing jazz and classical studies, including more than a dozen faculty covering all the traditional jazz instruments.
You’ll be taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields, and have regular access to acclaimed visiting artists who come here for concerts, masterclasses and clinics.
NEW VCU JAZZ “SINGLETON SCHOLARSHIPS” FOR FALL 2023!
Due to the gift from the late Mr. W.E. Singleton, in partnership with his late wife Dale, VCU Jazz Studies will offer new, sizable “Singleton Scholarships” for some of the Fall 2023 incoming class-the most significant financial assistance ever targeting jazz-related students at VCU. High school seniors and transfers can apply for entry to the Fall 2023 class at go.vcu.edu/apply4music
VCU Jazz Studies Mission Statement
The VCU Jazz Studies Program offers a professional course of study that teaches the skills required to:
excel in the creation and performance of written and unwritten music (pre-planned and improvised), especially that described by the term “jazz”;
consider one’s own educational experiences as a springboard for future teaching and audience development; and
interact in the world of media, technology, and business so as to bring one’s creative works effectively into the public’s awareness and thus sustain a successful career.
VCU Jazz recognizes that its own mission includes a responsibility to provide and promote a high standard of jazz performance within the Richmond region and beyond, including not only its home concerts and area performances but also its more-distant outreach efforts via recording, touring, and the Internet.
The Program believes that the body of work of past jazz masters not only stands on its own but also provides a firm basis for the development of the future of music—jazz and beyond. However, it does not consider the learning of past genres of jazz to be an end in itself, nor does it seek to graduate clones whose entire future is to recreate music of the past.
Jazz has long been and will long remain a basis for myriad musics derived from jazz roots; crossing all cultures, genders, and nations; absorbing from and spilling over into classical, rock, popular, and more. Our goal is to prepare our students for that future. The combination of a dedicated and creative faculty, inspiring guest artists, quality large and small ensembles, informative courses, and numerous performing opportunities in and outside of the school makes this goal readily achievable.
Learn more about our world-class jazz faculty.
The faculty of VCU’s Jazz Studies program have been recognized by students, alumni, and the global jazz community for their accomplishments as musicians, instructors and much more.
Jazz students have frequent opportunities to learn from guest artists, clinicians and other industry professionals.
Recent guests include:
composer Maria Schneider
saxophonist Michael Pendowski
trumpeters Tanya Darby and Sean Jones
guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel
alumni Marcus Tenney, trumpet, Reginald Chapman and Reggie Pace, trombone, and Clarence Penn, drums
trombonists Paul Ferguson and Al Hermann
The Yellowjackets (Bob Mintzer, saxophone; Russell Ferrante, keyboard; Dane Alderson, bass; and Will Kennedy, drums)
The 3D Jazz Trio (Jackie Warren, piano; Amy Shook, bass; and Sherrie Maricle, drums)
Spin Cycle (Tom Christensen, saxophone; Pete McCann, guitar; Phil Palombi, bass; and Scott Neumann, drums)
The Justin Kauflin Trio (Kauflin, piano; alumni Matt Hall, bass and Billy Williams, drums)
percussionists Efrain Martinez and Ama Rios with vocalist Chamir Bonano Gonzalez
The U.S Army Blues Jazz Ensemble
and nearly 40 video recorded guests ranging from local alumni through trombonist Wycliffe Gordon
guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel
trombonist Harry Watters
drummer Matt Wilson
pianist Lee Musiker
trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
saxophonist Kamasi Washington
Our alumni have performed with Bon Iver and Foxygen; have appeared on Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and David Letterman; have composed film, TV, and videogame scores; and are superb educators, composers, and performers throughout local, national, and international venues.
Successful former students include Steve Wilson (sax, Chick Corea’s Origin); James Genus (bass, Saturday Night Live Band; recordings with Dave Douglas, Michael Brecker, Mike Stern and John Abercrombie); Victor Goines (sax/clarinet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; director, Northwestern University Jazz Studies); Alvester Garnett (drums, recordings with Abbey Lincoln, Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter); Mark Shim (sax, Blue Note recording artist, member of Terence Blanchard sextet); Al Waters (sax, featured with Ray Charles); Alvin Walker (trombone, Count Basie Orchestra); Daniel Clarke (pianist, Mandy Moore, k.d. lang); Emre Kartari (drums; formerly Jazz Department, Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey)”; Gordy Haab (film, videogame, and television composer, “Star Wars: Battlefront”); and David G. Russell (film and television composer, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels”).