MA – Jazz Studies

The Master’s program in Jazz Studies at Marshall University offers advanced training in jazz improvisation, composition and arranging, conducting, history, and jazz performance. Graduates of the program are prepared to join the profession as jazz performers, composers, arrangers, and educators, to teach at the collegiate level, or to enter a doctoral-level jazz program.

Admission Requirements & Deadlines

Please visit the Graduate Music Admissions page for the latest information on requirements and deadlines and to schedule your audition.

Graduate Jazz Auditions

Live and Video Auditions

Auditions may be conducted live, or you may submit a link to an unedited video via an unlisted YouTube channel.

Scales: Major scales and their derivative modes, Whole tone scales, Diminished scales (half-whole and whole-half), Ascending melodic minor scales and their derivative modes
Prepared Literature: Select one tune from each category play the melody (head) and improvise on the chord changes from memory.

  • Bebop Tunes: Confirmation, Donna Lee, Groovin’ High, Half Nelson, Joy Spring, Stablemates
  • Standard Tunes: All The Things You Are, Alone Together, Have You Met Miss Jones?, On Green Dolphin Street, Stella By Starlight, There Will Never Be Another You, What Is This Thing Called Love
  • Post-bop Tunes: Dolphin Dance, Giant Steps, Inner Urge, Moment’s Notice, The Moontrane
Sight Reading: Sight-read chord changes as well as typical jazz ensemble parts.
Perform a prepared drumset piece: A big band chart, transcription or published solo. Play-along tracks are preferred.
Perform a transcribed solo (transcribed by the student) of at least 16 measures. Choose a solo performed by a recognized jazz drumming master.
Demonstration of time and soloing in the following styles:

  • Medium Swing
  • Shuffle (Swing)
  • Uptempo Swing
  • Samba
  • Bossa Nova
  • Rock

  • Perform 12 Major scales, two octaves, up and down.
  • Perform one blues in a key selected by the student. Play the melody and improvise at least one chorus. May use play-along recording. Suggested blues include C Jam Blues, Straight No Chaser, Now’s the Time, Sonnymoon for Two, Billie’s Bounce, etc.
Snare Drum: One solo or etude from Delecluse or equivalent.


Course Requirements

Jazz Studies

Area of Emphasis for the Master of Arts in Music

(32 credits)

Required Courses
MUS 512Adv Jazz Ped & Cond3
MUS 513Adv Jazz Styles / Analysis2
Four Credits of MUS 559 Jazz Ensemble4
Four Credits of MUS 560 Jazz Imrprov Ensemble4
MUS 621Music Research Methods3
MUS 681Thesis3
Applied Music8
Select five credits from the following:5
MUS 649
Advanced Jazz Arranging & Comp
MUS 631
Adv Jazz Improv
MUS 657
Jazz History
Other Graduate Music Courses
Total Credit Hours32

Students must follow departmental policies in preparing and presenting the graduate performance recital.

Program Requirements

Diagnostic Exam

All entering graduate music students must take diagnostic exams in music theory and music history prior to the start of their first semester of enrollment. These exams are administered in the week prior to the beginning of classes in the Fall and Spring. The diagnostic exams for Jazz Studies majors focus on jazz theory and history.

Graduate Recital

The M.A. in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Studies requires the performance of a Graduate Recital, typically scheduled in the final semester of study.

Comprehensive Exam

The graduate comprehensive examinations in music (written and oral) are required of all candidates for the Master of Arts in Music degrees.

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Marshall University
School of Music
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755


Telephone: 304-696-3117

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