As one of the first conservatories in the U.S. to acknowledge the prime importance of jazz as an art form, Manhattan School of Music’s programs of study for jazz arts majors are designed to develop skilled performers, composers, arrangers and jazz educators in preparation for careers in jazz music. Systematic and rigorous conservatory training, combined with a myriad of performance and networking opportunities in New York City make this program one of the richest of its kind for young jazz musicians. Student ensembles include the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Concert Jazz Band, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Philharmonic, Chamber Jazz Ensemble, and Jazz Combos. All students in the Jazz Arts degree programs are required to fulfill their ensemble requirement as outlined in their course sequence plans and as assigned by the associate dean of the Jazz Arts Program.
In addition to studies with our expert faculty, students are provided additional opportunities to play for and observe world-renowned guest artists. Recent master classes have included: Gary Burton (vibraphone), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone, faculty), Stefon Harris (Class of 1997 — vibraphone), Vijay Iyer (piano, faculty), Lee Konitz (saxophone), Dave Liebman (saxophone, Artist-in-Residence), Jason Moran (Class of 1997— piano), Butch Morris (Conduction Workshop), Christian McBride (bass), Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone), Jon Faddis (trumpet), and Maria Schneider (composition). Every concert season, guest soloists are featured in concert with our large ensembles, providing enriched performance experiences for students. Recent guest soloists include Paquito D’Rivera, NEA Jazz Masters Candido and Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, and vocalists Jane Monheit, Roberta Gambarini and Judi Silvano.
The Jazz Department Handbook includes information for current students on a variety of issues including ensemble and audition requirements, juries, recitals, grading systems, etc.
Specific courses and degree sequence plans can be found in the Course Catalog.
Summer Jazz Workshop
Manhattan School of Music and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam present the Summer Jazz Workshop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Jazz composition is offered for graduate applicants who wish to pursue a Master of Music degree. Students who major in jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music are presented with several unique and special opportunities to develop their art. These include monthly composers’ reading sessions for large and small ensembles, Quarterly Jazz Philharmonic reading sessions with full studio orchestra (symphony orchestra & jazz big band; both sessions recorded for faculty review and study), student commissions with performance and monetary awards, performance of compositions at Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts, quarterly jazz composers’ concerts for chamber and jazz orchestra ensembles, and open access to two computer-based electronic music studios.
Classes in studio synthesis techniques, composing and arranging for MIDI synthesizer, arranging for jazz composers, advanced studio recording, film scoring classes, songwriting classes.
Facilities for Electronic Music Composition
Jazz voice is offered for graduate applicants who wish to pursue a Master of Music degree. The jazz voice program at Manhattan School of Music is designed to prepare each vocalist to be an exceptional performer who is able to function in today’s business of music. The program is spearheaded by our internationally known faculty, including Theo Bleckmann, Gretchen Parlato, and Kate McGarry. Here are some of the highlights of the program:
- Vocalists are part of our unique performance track, combining vocalists and instrumentalists
- Small combo setting allows for individual attention
- Improvisation classes mix voice, composition, and instrumental students in an ensemble setting
- There are performance opportunities with big bands, as well as Jazz Philharmonic orchestra (symphony orchestra with jazz instrumentalists)
- Performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program
The program of study leading to the Manhattan School of Music doctor of musical arts degree is offered with a major in Jazz Arts Advancement.
Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program
General admission information
Audition procedures and repertoire
Jazz Bass Audition
Jazz Composition Audition (Master of Music only)
Jazz Drumset and Hand Percussion Audition
Jazz Guitar Audition
Jazz Piano Audition
Jazz Saxophone, Clarinet, Harmonica, and Flute Audition
Jazz Trombone Audition
Jazz Trumpet and Horn Audition
Jazz Vibraphone Audition
Jazz Violin, Viola, and Cello Audition
Jazz Voice Audition (graduate only)
Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program Audition