Master of Music in 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:
Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation
and/or Music Education
Dance and Related Arts or improvisation forms
Presentation of a final improvisation-based performance and recording project.
SMTD offers a wide variety of courses across all disciplines.
Degree requirements and term-by-term layout for current students.
From large ensembles in celebrated concert halls to chamber groups in intimate recital spaces, performance opportunities across all disciplines abound, with nearly 900 student performances each academic year. Whether your focus is on early, classical, or contemporary music, whether your passion is for jazz, electronic, or world music, there is an ensemble—or in many cases, multiple ensembles—to suit your interests, including specific opportunities for percussion, piano, and organ & carillon. For students in theatre & drama, musical theatre, dance, and opera, opportunities abound in both professionally produced and student-run presentations.
Ellen Rowe, director
The University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble is the most competitive of the University’s jazz ensembles. Open by audition only, most seats are filled by majors within the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation. The ensemble meets twice a week for two hours, performs several times a semester on campus and off.
Jazz Lab Ensemble
Dennis Wilson, director
Designed to rehearse, perform, and examine the repertoire of the jazz big band, the Jazz Lab Ensemble explores classic, historically significant repertoire as well as new arrangements and/or compositions. Occasionally non-traditional jazz instruments are used to highlight and expand the diversity of the ensemble. This is also a class that is intended to develop the necessary skills of section lead playing, rehearsal techniques, jazz phrasing and styles. A wide selection of materials is used to attain these goals including the music of classic big bands such as the Thad Jones Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Band, Oliver Nelson, Duke Pearson and Duke Ellington Orchestra. The ensemble periodically rehearses and performs the music of student arrangers as well. Each year the ensemble performs with guest artists, and student composers are given the opportunity to help compose and arrange a unique selection for the guests.