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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation

This program combines strong foundations in both mainstream jazz and classical training as well as more eclectic approaches to contemporary improvised music.  A classical audition is required along with the jazz audition. This degree is not available for jazz guitar.


  • Twenty-four hours of private performance instruction in the student's principal instrument or the equivalent by proficiency examination
  • Three terms of University Band, Orchestra, or Choir
  • Three terms of Jazz Ensemble or Small Jazz Ensemble
  • Three terms of elected ensemble chosen from the Digital Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Small Jazz Ensemble, or Creative Arts Orchestra
  • Two terms of music theory including the study of the structure of primarily tonal music through ear-training and sight-singing, written work in construction and composition, and musical analysis
  • Two terms of musicology exploring European and American music history, as well as the sounds and concepts of many world music traditions
  • One elective in musicology or music theory
  • One year of piano or the equivalent by examination
  • Twelve hours of jazz studies including jazz improvisation and jazz composition
  • Music electives to total ninety hours (including eight to twelve hours in Performing Arts Technology or Composition)
  • Thirty hours of non-music courses including the University's two semester English writing requirement


Information on Dual Degree Programs


jazz sax

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower