Jazz Arts

Jazz Arts at Manhattan School of Music, led by acclaimed vibraphonist Stefon Harris, is one of the world's leading programs for jazz music.

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Our comprehensive program prepares skilled performers, composers, arrangers, and jazz educators for successful careers in jazz music.

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music (BM)
  • Master of Music (MM)
  • Jazz Arts Advancement Program (DMA)

Program Details

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.

Jazz Majors

Alto Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Trombone
Composition (MM only)
Double Bass
Drum Set
Electric Bass
Tenor Saxophone
Tenor Trombone
Voice (MM & DMA only)

Master Classes

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 include:

  • Gary Burton (vibraphone)
  • Wycliffe Gordon (trombone)
  • Stefon Harris (BM ’97, MM ’99 — vibraphone)
  • Vijay Iyer (piano)
  • Lee Konitz (saxophone)
  • Dave Liebman (saxophone, Artist-in-Residence)
  • Jason Moran (BM ’97 — piano)
  • Butch Morris (Conduction Workshop)
  • Christian McBride (bass)
  • Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone)
  • Jon Faddis (trumpet)
  • Maria Schneider (composition)

Student Ensembles

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, Jon Faddis, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, and vocalists Jane Monheit, Roberta Gambarini, and Judi Silvano.

  • Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra
  • Concert Jazz Band, Jazz Orchestra
  • Jazz Philharmonic
  • Chamber Jazz Ensemble
  • 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.

Audition & Prescreening Information

Procedures By Instrument Type

Handbook for Current Students

Jazz Arts Department Handbook — includes information for current students on a variety of issues including ensemble and audition requirements, juries, recitals, grading systems, etc.

Plan of Study & Course Descriptions

MSM Course Catalog

Jazz Arts Calendar

2018-2019 Program Calendar

Jazz Arts Program Director

Stefon Harris, Associate Dean

Jazz Arts Administration

Michele Wright, Associate Director

VIDEO: A preview of MSM Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra concert on January 26, 2018