Jazz Institute

The MPulse Jazz Institute is an all-encompassing program for the high school jazz musician. Participants will engage in approximately 35 sessions during this one-week program including classes such as jazz repertoire, improvisation, beginning jazz arranging, jazz history, and much more. Classes will be led by University of Michigan Jazz Faculty, SMTD applied faculty and professional jazz artists.

Institute Dates: July 7 – July 13, 2024
Institute Tuition: $1,830

Application Status: OPEN
Non-Refundable Application Fee: $75

Email mpulse@umich.edu if a waiver code is needed for the $75 application fee due to financial need.

Priority Application Deadline: February 1, 2024*
Priority Admissions Notification: March 1, 2024

*Applications will remain open until the program is full. Rolling application submissions will be reviewed on a monthly basis. Please check the application status above to see if we are still accepting applications on a rolling basis.



Dennis Wilson

Dennis Wilson

Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation

Dennis Wilson joined the Michigan faculty after teaching at Kansas State University where he also served as an assistant dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Wilson was the lead trombonist for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and has toured, performed, and recorded with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the American Jazz Orchestra, the Benny Carter Orchestra, and Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones. He received a GRAMMY Award nomination for vocal arrangements for Manhattan Transfer and has performed on GRAMMY Award-winning recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Diane Schurr.



Program Sample Schedule

View the 2023 program schedule. While schedules vary year-to-year, this will provide insight into the programming provided.

Eligibility & Audition Requirements

Uploaded in your online application.  

All Instruments (excluding piano, guitar, bass, and drums)

Upload a recording including the following:

  • Six major scales of your choice (seven different keys).
  • Three harmonic and/or melodic minor scales of your choice using eighth notes (quarter = 120).
  • Perform a melody (head) AND improvised solo to either a blues, rhythm changes, or standard jazz tune, either with a combo or play-a-long recording.
  • Compose and/play two choruses of your own created solo on the song “Lady Bird.” A PDF file of this song is provided here. Please download the file in your instrument’s key.

Piano, Guitar, and Bass

Upload a recording including the following:

  • Walk a bass line or comp chords for an F or Bb blues, either with a combo or play-a-long recording.
  • Improvise a solo to either a blues, rhythm changes, or standard jazz tune, either with a combo or play-a-long recording.
  • Compose and play your own created solo on the song “Lady Bird.” A PDF file of this song is provided here. Please download the file in your instruments key.

Note: Rhythm section players must be able to read the appropriate clefs for their instruments.


Upload a recording including the following:

  • Demonstrate playing the following styles:
    • Swing (sticks and brushes)
    • Bossa nova
    • Samba
    • Ballad

MPulse Scholarships

Merit Awards

A limited number of scholarships are available for extremely talented students based on Faculty discretion. Consideration for these scholarships is automatic for applications received by the priority application deadline.

Need-Based Awards

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $100,000 or under in the previous calendar year, or with special circumstances due to the pandemic. To be considered you must upload your financial aid materials by the application deadline as part of your application.  This includes:

  • Monthly Expenses
  • Previous Year’s Tax Return
  • Statement of Need

Watson Scholarship (For Michigan Residents Only)

In the spirit of the life of a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School (1942) and Michigan physician, the Watson A. Young Scholarship promotes academic excellence and college aspiration among students with financial need. These need-based scholarships support middle and high school students’ participation in summer opportunities at U-M that seek to develop students’ interests and abilities in academic disciplines and expose students to the experiences and possibilities provided by higher education.

Watson Scholarship Application


  • Application Resources: Coming Soon!
  • MPulse Policies: Refund Policy


MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes
Office of Engagement & Outreach-Youth & Adult Programs
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Stearns Building │ 2005 Baits Drive │ Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Phone: (734) 936-2660
Email: mpulse@umich.edu