Master of Music in Improvisation

Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation

Designed for students seeking the finest in traditional jazz training with the systematic study of jazz’s eclectic offshoots, along with innovative, interdisciplinary options which are at the cutting edge of pedagogical thought. Applicants should have a high level of skill in performance in both standard repertoire and improvisation styles in addition to well-developed aural skills. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in music or its equivalent.


The Master of Music in Improvisation requires a minimum of 31 credits. Coursework to include:

  • Private lessons
  • Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation
  • Ensemble participation
  • Composition, Conducting, Musicology, Music Theory, and/or Music Education
  • Dance and Related Arts or improvisation forms

Final Project

Presentation of a final improvisation-based performance and recording project.

Audition & Interview Dates

For requirement details, please see the Degree Requirements and Term-by-Term Layout for Current Students.

How To Apply

Applicants must:

  • apply to U-M via the SMTD Graduate Application by December 1
  • Submit an SMTD Artistic Profile by December 1  
  • Have all supplemental materials sent to SMTD

Click “Apply Now” below to read more detailed information about the application requirements and procedures.

Apply Now

Please send inquiries regarding the SMTD application process to To learn more about SMTD, sign up for an Information Session.


Andrew Bishop Chair, saxophone
Michael Gould drums
Robert Hurst bass
Andy Milne piano
Ellen Rowepiano
Edward W. Sarath
Dennis Wilson trombone

Associated Faculty
Marion Hayden bass
Mark Kirschenmann Creative Arts Orchestra
William Lucas trumpet
Miles Okazaki guitar
Brad Phillips
Martha Travers