Jazz Studies

Jazz students perform on stage in São Paulo, Brazil

CCM's Jazz Studies program is designed for the student seeking a professional career in jazz and related fields of contemporary music. The philosophical objective is to develop the special talents of the creative jazz artist as well as the flexible skills required of the successful, well-rounded musician.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/h4rArwWn0Jw?rel=0

Frequent rehearsals, recitals, and concerts provide the opportunity for students to work closely with the faculty and, in some cases present student/faculty collaborative performances. In addition to the 12 jazz faculty in residence, numerous visiting artists present workshops and joint performances with students. Jazz Studies majors also enjoy the advantage of the myriad of classes, ensembles and workshops offered by CCM's many other departments.

the first 'college affiliate' invited to be in residence on tour with the world-renowned Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Cincinnati Business Courier

The comprehensive curriculum includes weekly private lessons with jazz artist/teachers in residence, improvisation study in small classroom workshops, extensive courses in jazz theory, arranging, composition, jazz history, and jazz keyboard skills, plus integrally related courses like electronic music, digital recording and editing, sound reinforcement technology, the business of music, and ethnic and world music.

Degree Programs

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.

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. 

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.

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

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 BA in Music degree.

For the advanced jazz student or the professional jazz artist wishing further study in performance, arranging, composition, and research. The MM in Jazz Studies also provides the academic credentials required for college teaching. The curriculum focuses on advanced concepts in improvisation, styles and analysis, jazz pedagogy, composing and arranging, and jazz history. There are weekly private lessons with a jazz artist/teacher as well as extensive combo, big band, and large jazz orchestra experience. Other studies are elective and emphasize areas of particular interest to jazz musicians, such as sound reinforcement, digital recording and editing, electronic music 20th Century music theory and history, and ethnic and world music.

Each entering student must take a diagnostic examination in Jazz History, Jazz Theory and Arranging, and Functional Jazz Piano. If test results show that additional study is needed in these areas, the student will take courses in these subjects without degree credit. If the student passes all diagnostic examinations, it is possible to complete the M.M. requirements in one academic school year plus one summer semester. However, most students choose to take two school years to complete the degree.

Each student presents a public recital 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.

Many of the Master of Music Degrees and Doctoral Degrees at CCM offer the possibility of a Cognate (minor) in Jazz Studies. Other degrees may offer the possibility of electives in the jazz area. Please contact the Department Chair of the individual graduate programs or contact the Director of Jazz Studies for more information.

Headshot of Craig Bailey

Craig Bailey

Assistant Professor of Music in Jazz Saxophone

513-556-5797

Headshot of Scott B.  Belck

Scott B. Belck

Professor and Director of Jazz Studies (Trumpet)

513-556-9447

Headshot of Russell D. Burge

Russell D. Burge

Professor of Percussion; Chair, Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Department

513-556-9423

Headshot of Marc E. Fields

Marc E. Fields

Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Trombone and Combos

513-556-6638

Headshot of Art Gore

Art Gore

Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Drums

513-556-9449

Headshot of Sarah Elizabeth Herbert

Sarah Elizabeth Herbert

Instructor - Adj

513-556-2696

Headshot of Aaron Jacobs

Aaron Jacobs

Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Studies (Bass and Combos)

513-556-2696

Headshot of Brad Thomas Myers

Brad Thomas Myers

Adjunct Instructor

513-556-2696

Headshot of Sergio Pamies

Sergio Pamies

Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano

513-556-2696

Headshot of Kim C. Pensyl

Kim C. Pensyl

Director of Commercial Music Production; Professor of Commercial Music Production and Jazz Studies; Division Head, General Studies

513-633-4606

Headshot of Rick _ VanMatre

Rick _ VanMatre

Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone; Professor Emeritus

513-559-1134

Headshot of John Zappa

John Zappa

Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Studies (Trumpet)

513-556-2696

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Pre-screening and Audition Requirements

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • At least two tunes of contrasting styles and tempos from the standard jazz repertoire such as “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “All the Things You Are,” “Blue Bossa,” “Meditation,” “I Can’t Get Started” or “Now’s the Time.” The melody should be stated in a convincing jazz style followed by improvised choruses
  • A short “classical” solo (optional for guitarists and drummers)
  • Sight reading
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios

Audition

Audition Requirements

  • At least two tunes of contrasting styles and tempos from the standard jazz repertoire such as “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “All the Things You Are,” “Blue Bossa,” “Meditation,” “I Can’t Get Started” or “Now’s the Time.” The melody should be stated in a convincing jazz style followed by improvised choruses
  • A short “classical” solo (optional for guitarists and drummers)
  • Sight reading
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios

Additional Information

  • Drummers should be prepared, in lieu of the above, to perform varying time feels, including slow to very fast swing, bossa nova, samba, ballad with brushes, funk to “trade fours” and to sight read big band parts. Drummers will also be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of reading treble and bass clef.
  • Bassists may audition on string bass or electric bass.
  • Those who perform on instruments other than saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drums, jazz violin, voice and vibes should contact Professor Scott Belck about special jazz audition procedures before completing the application.

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • At least three tunes of contrasting styles and tempos from the standard jazz repertoire such as “Stella by Starlight,” “Dolphin Dance,” “Giant Steps” or “Anthropology”
  • Sight reading
  • Jazz scales and chord arpeggiations

Audition

Audition Requirements

  • At least three tunes of contrasting styles and tempos from the standard jazz repertoire such as “Stella by Starlight,” “Dolphin Dance,” “Giant Steps” or “Anthropology” 
  • Sight reading 
  • Jazz scales and chord arpeggiations

Additional Information

  • Drummers should be prepared, in lieu of the above, to perform varying time feels, including slow to very fast swing, bossa nova, samba, ballad with brushes, funk to “trade fours” and to sight read big band parts. Drummers will also be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of reading treble and bass clef. In addition, MM drums applicants will be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of jazz harmony.
  • Bassists may audition on string bass or electric bass.
  • Those who perform on instruments other than saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass or drums should contact Professor Scott Belck about special jazz audition procedures before completing the application.
  • For majors other than jazz studies who are interested in an assistantship in the jazz program, please contact Professor Scott Belck for pre-approval.

The Visiting Jazz Artist Workshop Series features clinics by jazz greats who perform with the students and present clinics, critiques, and lectures. There are approximately 15 guest artists each year.

* Performed in concert with the CCM Jazz Ensemble, CCM Jazz Combos or other CCM student jazz groups.

  • Moises Alves
  • Terence Blanchard
  • Dominick Farinacci
  • Tim Hagans *
  • Clay Jenkins
  • Stan Kessler
  • John McNeil

  • Barry Ries
  • Red Rodney *

  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Bobby Shew
  • Louis Smith
  • Terell Stafford
  • Marvin Stamm *

  • Byron Stripling *

  • Ira Sullivan
  • Ray Vega
  • Steve Waterman

  • Bill Charlap
  • Gerald Clayton
  • George Duke
  • Hal Galper
  • Fred Hersch* 

  • Ahmad Jamal *

  • Andy Laverne
  • Chuck Marohnic
  • Jim McNeely *
  • Mulgrew Miller *
  • Jovino Santos
Neto
  • Wojciech Niedziela
  • 
Eugenio Toussaint *
  • Renato Vasconcellos
  • Kenny Werner *

  • James Williams *
  • 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 *
  • Harvey Wainapal
  • Gene Walker
  • Bobby Watson
  • Walt Weiskopf
  • Tim Whitehead
  • Steve Wilson
  • Phil Woods
  • John Abercrombie
  • Roni Ben-Hur
  • Gene Bertoncini
  • Joshua Breakstone
  • Corey Christiansen
  • Dave Cliff
  • Mark Elf
  • Dan Faehnle
  • Bruce Forman
  • Ken Karsh
  • Peter Leitch
  • John Pizzarelli

  • John Scofield
  • Jack Wilkins
  • Mickey Bass
  • John Clayton *

  • David Friesen
  • Paul Keller
  • Christian McBride
  • Jacek Niedziela
  • Frank Proto *
  • Andre Vasconcellos
  • David Baker *

  • John Fedchock *

  • Curtis Fuller *
  • Slide Hampton

  • Conrad Herwig
  • Paul McKee

  • Rick Simerly
  • Jiggs Whigham *
  • Louis Bellson *

  • Bill Berry *
  • Obed Calvaire
  • Tim Froncek

  • Dana Hall

  • Billy Hart *

  • Airto Moeira
  • Erivelton Silva
  • Roland Vazquez *

  • Srinivas Krishnan
  • Dave Samuels

  • Dick Sisto
  • Maria Schneider *
  • Cathy Harley
  • Gail Wynters
  • John Blake
  • David Darling
The CCM Jazz Orchestra performs under the direction of Professor Scott Belck.

The CCM Jazz Orchestra is the college's premier big band and it performs a wide variety of styles including historical swing, bebop, post-bop, fusion, Latin, and avant-garde. Special emphasis is placed on the idiom's great art-music composers such as Thad Jones, Bill Holman, and Bob Brookmeyer, on projects like the annual All-Ellington transcription concert, and on the performance of student arrangements. Concerts have included historical tributes to Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, as well as composer residency programs featuring artists like Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton, Tim Hagans, and Kenny Wheeler as guest conductors/performers. The Jazz Ensemble has been invited to appear at numerous professional festivals, educational conferences and radio broadcasts. Many internationally recognized artists have performed as soloists with the big bands and combos, including Eddie Daniels, John Fedchock, Frank Foster, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Joe Henderson, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, and Joshua Redman. Serenade in Blue, the most recent compact disc recording by the CCM Jazz Orchestra on Sea Breeze Records continues to receive wide recognition and enthusiastic reviews. Cadence Magazine called it "a necessary part of any big-band enthusiast's library."

CCM Jazz Studies majors perform during a gala event.

The CCM Jazz Lab Band also performs an eclectic repertoire written for 17-18 players. Many styles from Count Basie to the present are performed, as well as original works by CCM students. The group performs frequently on campus and is often invited to appear at Cincinnati area jazz clubs.

CCM Jazz Studies majors perform with distinguished alumna Janelle Reichman.

The extensive Chamber Jazz Program includes approximately 10 combos. It ensures that all jazz majors perform in a supervised combo every year of their study. Specialized combos such as the Brazilian Ensemble are offered periodically. CCM combos have received awards from DownBeat magazine and numerous festivals.

CCM Jazz Students enjoy the advantages of the comprehensive performing arts and electronic media facilities of the newly constructed and renovated CCM Village. Jazz performing groups present concerts and recitals in Corbett Auditorium, Patricia Corbett Theater, Watson Recital Hall, and in the new 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 larger recording projects, the Electronic Media Division offers extensive state-of-the art recording facilities. Jazz wind players, pianists, and vocalists utilize the newly constructed 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 LP’s.

The metropolitan area of Greater Cincinnati and the tri-state region provide a busy and diverse working environment for jazz, classical, and commercial musicians, and 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, venues such as Riverbend Music Center, US Bank Arena, and Aronoff Center for the Arts present music by international touring artists. Numerous jazz clubs feature local groups, often including CCM students. Many students like the fact that Cincinnati is a major cultural center, but still a city that is a “liveable” size.

Several Graduate Assistantships are awarded in Jazz Studies. Applicants must demonstrate a high level of performance and/or writing ability in the jazz idiom. Teaching experience is very desirable but not required. Computer skills are also very desirable. Depending on the qualifications of the applicant, duties may include coaching jazz combos, directing a big band, teaching improvisation, arranging, or secondary jazz piano, supervision of the Jazz Music Library, supervision of the Jazz Recordings Library, supervision of the Jazz Computer and Recording Studio, office work, equipment supervision, sound reinforcement and recording, or assisting the 12 jazz faculty members. Awards cover full tuition plus stipend. Applications for graduate assistantships will be reviewed beginning on the first audition date in January. They will be considered until appointments are made.

All applicants to CCM are automatically considered for a scholarship based primarily on ability as demonstrated at the audition/interview. Applicants for financial aid based on need must apply to the University Student Financial Aid Office. Contact the CCM Admissions Office for additional information about talent-based scholarships, academic-based scholarships and need-based aid. Please note carefully the deadlines for all scholarship and financial aid applications.


News and Events