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Music Degree (B.A.), Jazz Studies Concentration

Why Choose a Concentration in Jazz Studies?

Building on the general understanding of western music provided through the department’s core studies, the Jazz Studies concentration at Westfield State University provides opportunities for the study of jazz history, theory and improvisation through practice and performance in the private studio, in large and small jazz ensembles and in the classroom. The study of jazz music can help to provide a foundation for careers involving music in a variety of styles in addition to those firmly in the jazz tradition. For this reason courses in jazz studies are available to all qualified students.

Students playing saxophone

Requirements for the Jazz Studies Major Concentration

Requirements for Music Major - 54 Credits

    General Requirements - 29 Credits

    • MUSC 0111 - Music Theory I
    • MUSC 0112 - Music Theory II
    • MUSC 0211 - Music Theory III
    • MUSC 0212 - Music Theory IV
    • MUSC 0113 - Sight Singing and Ear Training I
    • MUSC 0114 - Sight Singing and Ear Training II
    • MUSC 0213 - Sight Singing and Ear Training III
    • MUSC 0223 - Sight Singing and Ear Training IV
    • MUSC 0152 - Piano Class I (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0153 - Piano Class II (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0252 - Piano Class III (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0253 - Piano Class IV (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0200 - Music History I
    • MUSC 0201 - Music History II
    • MUSC 0230 - Basic Conducting


    (Jazz Studies concentrators can substitute MUSC 0267 and MUSC 0268 for MUSC 0252 and MUSC 0253)

      One of the Following - 3 Credits

      • MUSC 0300 - Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
      • MUSC 0301 - Music in the Baroque and Classical Eras
      • MUSC 0302 - Music in the Romantic Era
      • MUSC 0303 - Music in the Twentieth Century
      • MUSC 0304 - American Music
      • MUSC 0306 - Jazz Musicology Seminar

      Ensemble Requirements - 7 Credits

      Eight semesters of participation in one of the following ensembles, as assigned by the department, to run concurrently with eight semesters of applied lessons:

      • MUSC 0141 - University Chorus
      • MUSC 0143 - Wind Symphony
      • CCGS Orchestra


      All music majors must enroll in Festival Chorus for a minimum of two semesters.

        Six semesters of Participation in Second Ensemble

        Six semesters of participation in a second ensemble from the following list, to run concurrently with six semesters of applied lessons:

        • MUSC 0140 - Chorale
        • MUSC 0141 - University Chorus
        • MUSC 0143 - Wind Symphony
        • MUSC 0145 - Jazz Big Band
        • MUSC 0146 - Jazz Vocal Ensemble
        • MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles
        • MUSC 0269 - Small Jazz Ensemble


        The music department also offers elective ensembles on a regular basis. These ensembles include, but are not limited to:Clarinet Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Jazz Quartet, Low Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Trumpet Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, and various mixed chamber ensembles.

        All instrumental must students are required to have a minimum of three chamber ensemble experiences (standard repertoire) in varied formats throughout the course of completing their program requirements (each approved by the academic advisor and the applied music instructor). Music Education students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in ensembles during the semester of their practicum. All pianists with a major emphasis in piano are required to enroll in MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles, each semester they are enrolled in applied piano lessons.

          Applied Music Requirements - 12 Credits

          Music majors are required to complete eight semesters of applied lessons. Applied music study requires a jury examination every semester for music majors and for music minors, as well as for those students enrolled in a required secondary applied lesson. Students taking applied music must also register each semester for MUSC 0280 - Music Studio

          Students who present a curricular recital are not required to present a jury during the semester of the recital. All students who wish to present a recital (degree or elective) must pass a pre-recital hearing during studio class a minimum of three weeks prior to the recital (three applied faculty members must be present at the hearing).


            Music Education students are exempt from their eighth semester of applied lessons and ensemble if enrolled in MUSC 0328 - Practicum: Music K-12.

              Performing Requirements - 3 Credits

              All Music majors are required to complete six semesters of MUSC 0279 - Recital Attendance and Performance, (required attendance and performance at weekly studio classes and departmental recitals). Students are required to perform regularly in studio classes, and are required to perform at least once each year in a public departmental recital. Music minors may perform in a departmental recital at the discretion of the applied instructor.

                Additional Requirements - 3 Credits

                  Instrumental Students

                  • Non-ensemble Music Electives

                    Vocal Students

                    • MUSC 0130 - Lyric Diction I
                    • MUSC 0131 - Lyric Diction II
                    • MUSC 0174 - Applied Music (Major) I *


                    * Upon completion of MUSC 0253

                      Optional Music Concentrations

                      Music majors may choose to declare one of the 6 concentrations. Students may not declare more than two concentrations. Note: each of the required 300-level music history seminars listed in the concentrations are in addition to the seminar required of all music majors in the General Requirements.

                        Jazz Studies Required Courses:


                        • MUSC 0125 - Jazz Performance Lab
                        • MUSC 0235 - Music Technology
                        • MUSC 0264 - Jazz Theory I
                        • MUSC 0265 - Jazz Theory II
                        • MUSC 0360 - Jazz Composition and Arranging I
                        • MUSC 0361 - Jazz Composition and Arranging II
                        • MUSC 0282 - Jazz Improvisation I
                        • MUSC 0283 - Jazz Improvisation II
                        • MUSC 0362 - Jazz Improvisation III
                        • MUSC 0363 - Jazz Improvisation IV
                        • MUSC 0368 - Jazz Improvisation V
                        • MUSC 0306 - Jazz Musicology Seminar
                        • MUSC 0387 - Senior Recital/Jazz


                        Students with a Jazz Studies concentration may substitute MUSC 0267 and MUSC 0268 for MUSC 0252 and MUSC 0253 of the general requirements. Jazz guitar majors must rent or purchase a nylon string guitar for their classical guitar studies.

                          Additional Graduation Requirements

                          All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core .