Jazz Ensembles

Introduction

Jazz at Western Washington University is performance focused, with opportunities for all WWU students, regardless of major. The Jazz Studies program offers both large and small instrumental and vocal ensemble performing opportunities as well as curriculum in improvisation and arranging for instrumental and vocal majors.

Registration

All students must register for an ensemble to participate. An audition is required to enroll in ensembles. 

Credits

Each course is repeatable for credit and can be used towards graduation requirements, including upper-division, elective, and total 180 credits required.

Jazz Big Band I & II

Brass · Winds · Rhythm · Voice

MUS 474 & MUS 274

Rehearsals and sectionals under the guidance of the instructor and student section leaders.
Quarterly concert performances in the Performing Arts Center.

Works drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student and faculty arrangements and compositions.
 

Jazz Combos I-V

Brass · Winds · Rhythm · Voice

MUS 475 & MUS 275

Rehearsals and sectionals under the guidance of the instructor and student section leaders.
Quarterly concert performances in the Performing Arts Center.

Works drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student and faculty arrangements and compositions.
 

Vocal Jazz

Voice · Piano · Rhythm

MUS 284

Rehearsals and sectionals under the guidance of a vocal jazz and instrumental jazz instructor. Quarterly performances in the Performing Arts Center. 

Works drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student and faculty arrangements and compositions.
 

Jazz Improvisation I & II

  • Instruction in a wide array of topics related to improving jazz improvisation: listening, aural transcription, theory, history, composition, and sight-singing.
  • Focus on improved understanding of harmony and form as related to a set of iconic jazz standards.
  • Instrumental abilities enhanced through specialized practice strategies.

Guest Masterclasses and Performances

Once per quarter students are provided the opportunity to attend free masterclasses/performances by touring professional jazz groups and visiting guest artists. Recent performances include Seattle's Human Spirit (Matt Jorgenson-drums, Thomas Marriott-trumpet, Mark Taylor-sax, Orrin Evans-piano and Essiet Essiet-bass) and Vancouver BC's Cory Weeds Quintet (featuring Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers trombonist-Steve Davis).

Guest Artists/Master Classes:

  • Terry Trotter (pianist with Natalie Cole)
  • Miles Black (piano)
  • Dan Faehnle (guitar with Diana Krall)
  • Donald Bailey (drums with Jimmy Smith)
  • Bill Goodwin (drums)
  • Ali Jackson (drums)
  • Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
  • Wayne Goodman (trombone w/ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra)
  • Jay Thomas, Ernie Krivda, Mike Allen (sax)
  • Claudio Roditi (trumpet with Dizzy Gillespie, Paquito D'Rivera)

Looking for more information?

If you have any questions, we're happy to find you an answer. Call the Music Department Office 360-650-3130, or view the directory of faculty and staff.