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CCM: About

CCM: About
The courtyard outside of CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater.

The courtyard outside of CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater.

Academic Programs & Majors

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programs. Refer to the chart below for more information on the types of degrees offered by each program and click on the degree titles to view specific degree plans.

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What is Jazz Studies?

Jazz is an artistic musical form involving a spontaneous kind of composition called improvisation and a rhythmic concept called swing. Many consider it to be America’s major contribution to music. It grew out of the African-American experience at the beginning of the 20th century and combined elements of African, Western European classical, and 19th-century American music. Jazz evolved through many styles including New Orleans Dixieland, swing, big band, bebop, hard bop and cool. It also incorporated elements of popular, folk, electronic and ethnic music from all over the world to create various fusions.

As a result, jazz is a broad term sometimes interpreted as everything from dance music to avant-garde concerts, from popular instrumentals to computer-generated movie soundtracks, from saxophone/Indian tabla duos to big bands playing Duke Ellington tunes, from vocal standards to symphony orchestras with Latin/jazz percussionists. However, most professional jazz musicians perform their creative improvisations in three- to six-piece groups, generally in local venues, on concert tours and for recordings. Many supplement their income by working in more commercial forms of entertainment in clubs, restaurants, theaters and recording studios.

The jazz studies program at the UC College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) teaches the fundamentals of classical music, stylistic elements of each historical jazz period, strategies for enhancing originality, techniques of electronic media, and today’s cutting-edge trends that defy categorization. By receiving a wide musical perspective and the command of a broad jazz language, the student is equipped to pursue a future in jazz art music. At the same time, this thorough course of study serves as the best preparation for related careers in commercial music.

Successful jazz musicians are highly motivated to follow their artistic path. They are self-starters and very dedicated to lifelong practice and personal growth. Since jazz is even more collaborative than other musical idioms, a desire to work closely with others is very important. Jazz musicians have strong right-brain inclinations such as musicality, creativity and intuition. However, since jazz study utilizes theoretical tools, jazz musicians often have the ability to effectively integrate left-brain analytical skills as well.

Career Possibilities

Graduates of this major pursue many different careers. While most specialize in jazz, many perform in other areas of contemporary music. A few examples include: 

  • Touring and recording jazz soloist
  • Jazz combo and orchestra musician
  • Composer and arranger
  • Studio musician or producer
  • Musical theater musician or accompanist
  • Rock/pop/dance band performer
  • Cruise ship musician
  • Military band member
  • Musical instrument instructor
  • High school band director (for graduates with music education/jazz specialization degree)
  • College music professor (for graduates who continue with graduate study)


Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

For the student seeking a professional career in jazz and related fields of contemporary music. The curriculum includes weekly private lessons in both jazz and classical music, courses in jazz improvisation, theory, arranging, composition, jazz history, and jazz keyboard skills, plus integrally related courses like sound reinforcement and recording, digital recording and editing, electronic music, and the business of music. There are supportive courses in classical music theory, musicianship, music history, secondary piano, and conducting, as well as a wide choice of theory, history, ethnic and world music electives. General studies in English and academics round out the degree to provide a comprehensive education.

The students in the CCM MM Jazz Studies remain active in a program that meets the college-wide standard for pursuing and presenting excellent collaborative projects and performances.  In recent years, the Jazz ensembles have collaborated with the Philharmonia and Concert Orchestras, the Wind Studies department, numerous Musical Theater productions and collaborations, the Choral Studies program with performances of Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concert” as well as Wynton Marsalis’ “Abyssinian Mass”, with Opera Fusion, the Programmed Lighting Program as well as the Sound Design Program.

Students present a public recital in the senior year with works representing a variety of historical and contemporary jazz styles and at least one original composition and arrangement. This performance is in addition to the numerous collaborative combo and big band concerts given by all students during each year of study.

Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an Additional Specialization in Jazz

For the student wishing a degree leading to licensure to teach public school music, pre-kindergarten through 12. (This license is reciprocal with 44 other states.) The student takes many of the same courses as Jazz Studies Majors plus Music Education requirements. 

Double Major in Music Education and Jazz Studies

Includes all the requirements of both the B.M. in Music Education and the B.M. in Jazz Studies. This course of study generally takes five years to complete. 

Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Music

For the student wishing to pursue a more liberal arts oriented program of studies while maintaining their concentration in music. Jazz courses and private lessons in jazz and classical music are available as part of the B.A. in Music degree.

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

CCM is a college of the University of Cincinnati, a major undergraduate university and graduate research institution of 41,250 students. This provides a wide selection of academic electives and allows jazz studies majors the opportunity to explore other fields or other potential majors. While it is part of the larger university, CCM also maintains an atmosphere of a professional conservatory. There is a feeling of "family" among CCM students and an especially close camaraderie among jazz students.

Described by The New York Times as "one of this country's leading conservatories," CCM offers professional training in all areas of performance, composition, musicology, theory, conducting, music education, opera, musical theater, drama, technical arts for the stage, dance, arts administration and electronic media. The College-Conservatory of Music presents an all-encompassing environment for the student who realizes that there are no longer any dividing lines between today's various performing and media arts.

The metropolitan area of Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding Tri-state region provide a busy and diverse working environment for jazz, classical and commercial musicians. Many students find professional playing opportunities off campus. In addition to major arts organizations like the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati includes a wide variety of performance venues for local and touring artists such as Riverbend Music Center, US Bank Arena, and the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Numerous jazz clubs feature local groups which often include CCM students. Many students like the fact that Cincinnati is a major cultural center, but still a city that is a "livable" size.

Jazz students enjoy the advantages of the comprehensive performing arts and electronic media facilities of CCM Village. Jazz performing groups present concerts and recitals in Corbett Auditorium, Patricia Corbett Theater, Cohen Family Studio Theater, Werner Recital Hall and Watson Recital Hall. In addition, dedicated jazz studies program facilities include a new digital recording and editing studio; a MIDI lab; computer workstations for music notation and sequencing programs; a state-of-the-art, computer-based teaching/presentation "smart classroom;" and rehearsal halls for jazz combos, big bands and other student-organized performing groups. The Electronic Media Division also offers extensive state-of-the-art recording facilities.

Jazz wind players, pianists and vocalists utilize practice rooms in Memorial Hall, while jazz guitarists, bassists and drummers have exclusive practice and storage rooms in close proximity to the rehearsal halls and performance theaters. In addition to CCM’s Gorno Memorial Music Library, the jazz studies program has its own jazz record library housing over 12,000 historic LPs.

Special Programs

In the past 7 years, recording projects by the CCM Jazz Orchestra include original collaborations with modern creative innovators: “In Search of Garaj Mahal” (recorded by the CCM Jazz Orchestra with Fareed Haque) is a recording of new original arrangements all performed by students and alumni of CCM that released on the Harmonized Record label in 2016, and that same program was performed both live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center and as a featured opening night main stage performance at the Jazz Education Network international conference in 2016. “Nobody Does it Better The CCM Jazz Orchestra Does Bond” (released in 2017 and featuring Steven Bernstein) is already receiving positive reviews in its critical reception.  “Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite” will be released later this year. In 2012, the CCM Jazz Orchestra recorded a live video for public television (“An Evening with Gerald Wilson,” National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master). This hour-long video special features the CCM Jazz Orchestra with Mr. Wilson conducting, interspersed with commentary and anecdotes by the composer.


CCM Jazz Students enjoy the advantages of the comprehensive performing arts and electronic media facilities in the newly renovated CCM Village. Jazz performing groups present concerts and recitals in Corbett Auditorium, Patricia Corbett Theater, Watson Recital Hall, and in the beautiful Werner Recital Hall.

In addition, specific Jazz Studies Program facilities include a new digital recording and editing studio; a MIDI lab, computer workstations for music notation and sequencing programs; a state-of-the-art, computer-based teaching/presentation “smart classroom;” and rehearsal halls for jazz combos, big bands, and other student-organized performing groups. For more complex and involved recording projects, the Electronic Media division offers extensive state-of-the art recording facilities. Jazz wind players, pianists, and vocalists utilize practice rooms in Memorial Hall, while jazz guitarists, bassists, and drummers have dedicated practice and storage rooms in close proximity to the rehearsal halls and performance theaters. In addition to CCM’s Gorno Memorial Music Library, the Jazz Studies Program has its own Jazz Record Library housing over 10,000 historic LPs.

The Visiting Jazz Artist Workshop Series features clinics by renowned jazz artists who perform with the students and present clinics, critiques, and lectures. There are approximately 5-10 guest artists each year. A selected list of visiting artists is provided below (by instrument):

  • Trumpet: Terence Blanchard, Dominick Farinacci, Tim Hagans, Clay Jenkins, John McNeil, Barry Ries, Red Rodney, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Faddis, Byron Stripling, Steven Bernstein, Alex Norris, Bobby Shew, Louis Smith, Terell Stafford, Marvin Stamm, Ira Sullivan, Ray Vega
  • Sax: Benny Golson, Loren Schoenberg, Tim Warfield, JD Allen, Greg Abate, Jamey Aebersold, Harry Allen, Tim Armacost, Don Braden, Nick Brignola, Gordon Brisker, Jeff Clayton, Jerry Coker,Eddie Daniels,Frank Foster,Kenny Garrett,Frank Griffith, Scott Hamilton, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Michael Moore, Ken Peplowski, Rich Perry, Dave Pietro, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Tim Reis, Dave Riekenberg, Charlie Rouse, Bud Shank, Jim Snidero, Norris Turney, Gene Walker, Bobby Watson, Walt Weiskopf, Steve Wilson, Phil Woods
  • Trombone: David Baker, Michael Dease, John Fedchock, Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Paul McKee, Rick Simerly, Jiggs Whigham
  • Piano: Bill Charlap, Dado Maroni, Ted Rosenthal, Christian Sands, Gerald Clayton, George Duke, Hal Galper, Fred Hersch, Ahmad Jamal, Andy Laverne, Chuck Marohnic, Jim McNeely, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown, Jovino Santos Neto,  Wlodek Pawlik, Kenny Werner, James Williams
  • Guitar: John Abercrombie, Roni Ben-Hur, Gene Bertoncini, Corey Christiansen, Dave Stryker, Joshua Breakstone, Dave Cliff, Mark Elf, Dan Faehnle, Bruce Forman, Ken Karsh, Peter Leitch, John Pizzarelli, John Scofield, Jack Wilkins
  • Bass: John Clayton, David Friesen, Paul Keller, Christian McBride, Jacek Niedziela, Frank Proto, Andre Vasconcellos, Drew Gress
  • Drums: Dennis Mackrel, Louis Bellson, Bill Berry, Obed Calvaire, Jamey Haddad, Tim Froncek, Dana Hall, Billy Hart, Airto Moeira, Erivelton Silva, Roland Vazquez
  • Composers: Maria Schneider, Gerald Wilson, Jim McNeely, Steven Bernstein, Kenny Wheeler

Admission Requirements

For specific admissions information, International student requirements and application deadlines please visit the CCM Admissions website.

Graduation Requirements

Several months before graduation, each candidate for a degree must file a formal application for degree with the college office. If a student fails to properly complete this application process, the university will not be responsible for the student's graduation. A minimum of one year in residence as a full-time student is required of all students wishing to apply for any degree awarded by CCM.


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

CCM's founding schools (the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the College of Music of Cincinnati) were both charter members of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The requirements for entrance and graduation in all music programs are in accordance with the published regulations of NASM.