Jazz Studies


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


Peter Sommer

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


(970) 491-3010

Shilo Stroman

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


(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. The following videos are currently available for on-demand viewing. This list will be updated throughout the semester. Brass Area Recital #1 Virtuoso Series Concert — Jooyeon Chang, [...]

Jazz Ensembles Concert

March 3, 2022 at 7:30 PM
Please check back, we will update as soon as a description is made available!

Virtuoso Series Concert: Peter Sommer, Saxophone

April 11, 2022 at 7:30 PM
CSU Faculty Peter Sommer and Tim Burns present an evening of saxophone music by German and Czech composers, including music written for the alto saxophone by Paul Hindemith and Erwin Schulhoff, as well as a transcription of Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata. A little something for everyone, including romanticism, modernism, and a touch of early jazz!

Jazz Studies News

Jazz Combos Present Blue Note Classics


The Jazz Combos are back at CSU, presenting a special concert featuring the nostalgic sounds of 1960s Blue Note Records jazz Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St. This concert features music from 1960s Blue Note recording label artists […]

Jazz Ensembles 2015 Performance Photo

CSU Jazz Ensembles Combine for Concert with Rocky Mountain High School


CSU Jazz Ensembles kick off their spring semester with a special combined concert with Rocky Mountain High School on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St. Jazz Ensembles I and II under the direction of Peter Sommer and Wil […]

American jazz musician and composer Miles Davis (1926 - 1991) playing the trumpet.

CSU Jazz Ensembles Present the Music of Miles Davis


The CSU Jazz Ensembles kick off the fall jazz season at the University Center for the Arts on Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a concert entitled ‘The Music of Miles Davis’ in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St. Directed by Wil Swindler, the […]

Guest Artists

Guest Artists and Poster Gallery