George Mason is proud to host the National Jazz Workshop 
Summer 2015!
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summer experience! 




           JAZZ STUDIES - HOME
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           JAZZ MEDIA
           JAZZ 4 JUSTICE©


George Mason University
School of Music
Department of Jazz Studies

Dr. Darden Purcell, Director






The Mason Jazz Handbook is intended as a guide while you are a student here at Mason. The nature of Jazz is “adaptability” and I hope that we all have input into the program and let the program evolve into a place where the standards of the masters can be upheld. There are probably more myths and misconceptions surrounding jazz and jazz musicians than any other field. Your years in school are not the end all and be all, just a chapter in an on-going pursuit. You are not finding yourself here – you are building yourself. We all know the cliché “put in a solid foundation.” There is no curriculum than can turn someone into an artist and this is especially true in jazz. However, a firm understanding of where the music comes from and its cultural significance will put you on the right track. The only real requirement is:  Build your groove and swing hard!

“You only go though life once, so it would behoove you to get it right the first time.”

--Sonny Rollins

For information regarding performances, rehearsals, ensemble auditions,
practice rooms and keys and juries



Recital Guidelines

For detailed guidelines regarding junior, senior and graduate recitals, click here.

Course Work

In addition to jazz ensembles and private lessons, course work includes Jazz Improvisation, Arranging, Jazz History, Jazz Studies, Special Topics, and Solo Transcription.


Master of Music - Jazz Studies

General Requirements (for all concentrations)
Ensemble 2
MUSI 661 Analytical Techniques 3
MUSI 630 Topics in Music History and Literature 3
MUSI 662 Introduction to Research in Music 3
Additional Requirements (Concentration in Jazz Studies)  
MUSI 615 Advanced Jazz Improvisation 3
MUSI 650 Topics in Jazz Studies 3
MUSI 72X Graduate Applied Music  9
MUSI 790 Graduate Recital 1
Electives 3
Total Degree Requirements 30

Bachelor of Music - Jazz Studies 

Degree Structure

General Education [plus courses included in Music Major Requirements] 21
Performance Major, Basic Musicianship — Music Major Requirements 63
Jazz Concentration [see below for details] 30
General Electives — can include additional non-music courses 6
Total Degree Requirements 120

Jazz Courses

Ensemble 5
Ensemble (Meets general education fine arts requirement) 3
MUSI 107 Jazz & Blues in America 3
MUSI 171 and 172 Keyboard Skills I and II (Keyboard students substitute MUSI 371 and MUSI 372 Techniques of Accompanying I and II) 2
MUSI 311 Jazz Studies (Jazz Theory, Styles, and Analysis) 3
MUSI 379 Intro to Jazz Improvisation 1
MUSI 450, 452 Jazz Improvisation I & II 4
MUSI 454 Jazz Arranging 3
MUSI 485 Jazz Chamber Ensembles 4
MUSI 492J Topics in Jazz Studies 2
Total Concentration Requirements 30

Entering students planning to concentrate in Jazz Studies must pass an entrance Music audition and be accepted by the University.

Minor in Jazz Studies 

MUSI 107 Jazz & Blues in America 3
MUSI 113 Sight Singing and Ear Training I 2
MUSI 115, 116 Theory I and II 6
MUSI 171 Keyboard Skills I 1
MUSI 221 Undergraduate Applied Music 2
MUSI 311 Jazz Studies (Jazz Theory, Styles, and Analysis) 3
MUSI 379 Intro to Jazz Improvisation 1
MUSI 485 Jazz Chamber Ensembles 3
Total Minor Requirements 21
This minor is open to music and non-music majors who wish to explore America’s unique art form. It is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists including students who perform on instruments not normally associated with jazz. No prior experience in jazz is needed, but candidates must pass a music audition.