Jazz Studies

Overview

The B.M., Performance Concentration, Jazz Studies Option offers instrumental students a balanced course of study in both performance and academic classes to help them develop their skills as jazz artists and educators. Students in the degree have the opportunity to study jazz history, theory, improvisation, pedagogy and composition, and arranging, in addition to taking private lessons with both traditional applied faculty and jazz specialists.

Ensembles in the Jazz Studies area consist of two large jazz ensembles and two smaller jazz combos. Both the ensembles and combos expose students to classic and contemporary jazz literature and styles with an emphasis on quality performance and education. Auditions for the jazz ensembles are open to all CSU students. Ensemble audition excerpts and instructions are available at music.colostate.edu/auditions.

Degree Program

Jazz Studies students are highly encouraged to develop their talents in the context of a wide musical world while still learning the classic music of the jazz masters.

  • The select nature of the CSU Jazz Program gives students the opportunity for more individual attention and time with their faculty mentors.
  • Students develop skills that can be immediately applied to a range of career performance opportunities, both on and off campus.
  • Students get to learn from and perform with a wide range of regular guest artists and clinicians. Past guests include John Fedchock, John Riley, Dave Pietro, Paul McKee, Walt Weiskopf, Scott Wendholt, Rich Perry, Greg Gisbert, Zach Brock, Erik Deutsch, Art Lande, Nguyen Le, Ron Miles, Michael Weiss, and many more.
  • Repertoire for our two big bands and multiple small combos includes classic literature and modern music, and students are pushed to write and arrange their own music to share with their peers and the public in our regular concerts each semester.
  • The Jazz Studies degree is currently available to students who play the following instruments only: trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, percussion, and double bass.

Audition Requirements

In addition to the performance degree audition requirements listed on the individual instrument web pages, students must also audition for the jazz area.

  • Prepare two jazz standards and/or classics of your choice, including melody and improvisation (accompaniment will be provided, or the auditioning student can provide an audio track)
    • Pianists should also be prepared to play accompaniment (comp) on the chord progression
    • Bassists should also be prepared to play a bass line in the appropriate style on the chord progression
    • Drummers should prepare multiple jazz styles including swing, bossa nova, samba, ballad, funk and rock, as well as ¾ time. Drummers should also be prepared to demonstrate knowledge of blues and AABA form.
  • Sight reading will also be included in all auditions

Study With

Wil Swindler

Instructor of Music; Coordinator of Jazz Studies; Director of Jazz Bands

Wil.Swindler@colostate.edu

Peter Sommer

Professor of Music; Saxophone, Chamber Music, Jazz Studies; Coordinator of Woodwinds

Peter.Sommer@colostate.edu

(970) 491-3010

Shilo Stroman

Senior Instructor; Percussion, Jazz Studies, Marching Band (Drumline)

Shilo.Stroman@colostate.edu

(970) 491-4054

Jazz Studies Events

CSU Music On-Demand Fall Showcase

September 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021 at 12:00 AM
Throughout the semester, select CSU Music concerts that were presented in-person and via Livestream will be made available on-demand. Please purchase an on-demand subscription through our ticket site. Date listed is when the event will be available for on-demand viewing. This list will be updated throughout the semester. 09.16.21 Brass Area Recital 09.20.21 Virtuoso Series [...]

Jazz Combos Concert

November 4, 2021 at 7:30 PM
This concert will be presented in-person and via livestream. CSU Jazz Combos 1,2, and 3 return for their first live concert since Fall 2019. Directed by Wil Swindler, Peter Stoltzman, and Andrey Floryanovich, the combos will present a program of jazz standards, great hidden gems, and original music by combo members. Our newest member of [...]

Jazz Ensembles Concert

November 18, 2021 at 7:30 PM
Moving Forward This concert will be presented in-person and via livestream. CSU Jazz Ensembles 1 and 2, directed by Wil Swindler and Shilo Stroman, present Moving Forward. As a counterpoint to their first concert, this event features modern music in the big band Jazz idiom. The program includes music by Maria Schneider, Michael Conrad, Wil [...]

Jazz Studies News

Terell Stafford promotional photo

CSU Jazz Ensembles Collaborate with Guest Artist Terell Stafford, Trumpet

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By Emily Kaiser, SMTD Publicity Intern Dr. Peter Sommer, and the Colorado State University Jazz Ensembles I and II are gearing up for an exciting experience to collaborate with guest artist, Terell Stafford, the renowned trumpet player from the East Coast region. The student ensemble members will have the opportunity to learn from the artist, […]

Jazz Ensembles concert photo

Jazz Ensembles Celebrate One Hundredth Birthday of Jazz Innovators

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By Nicole Towne, UCA Publicity Intern This October, two of the biggest names in jazz will turn 100. Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, born 10 days apart, will be remembered with a performance by Colorado State University’s jazz ensembles on Sept. 28. “Dizzy and Monk are two of the fathers of modern jazz,” said Peter […]

Jazz Ensembles concert photo

The Jazz Ensembles Welcome a Grammy Nominee

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By Brooke Poulson, UCA Publicity Intern New Orleans is said to be the birthplace of jazz nearly 100 years ago, and if you’ve never had the chance to make it to New Orleans and experience its origins, I highly suggest you attend the Jazz Ensembles Concert on April 13 at the University Center for the […]

Guest Artists

Guest Artists and Poster Gallery