One of our most distinguished alumni, Dave Brubeck ’42, put University of the Pacific on the map with his excellence in jazz, and we continue this tradition. With coursework in improvisation, theory and applied performance, Jazz Studies will provide you with real-life skills needed for a career in jazz.
Jazz Studies provides you with real-life skills needed for a career in jazz. Through courses in music management and hands-on experience in our on-campus recording studio, you will learn about the big picture of current industry trends and how to manage a jazz career as a business.
Students have the flexibility to study independently with any jazz faculty providing a breadth and diversity of musical exposure. World-class jazz musicians serve as our artists-in-residence on regular basis.
Our program has been well-represented and awarded at festivals and competitions on the west coast. Students also perform for local schools and events, and at our off-campus Take 5 Jazz Club.
If you want to focus on a career in jazz performance. You will learn skills needed for work in recording studios, on cruise ships, in armed forces ensembles, or as a leader/sideman in a live band. This track may lead to a graduate degree.
If you are interested in writing and composing jazz music. Performance education is still a large element of this track. You will be exposed to a wide range of musical styles from which you can develop your own compositional voice.
Accelerated Three-Year Honors
A unique degree designed for students with a high level of jazz performance skills enabling you to go directly into higher division courses. Usually one summer session is advised.
"I chose this program and I would definitely choose it again. It is a rare opportunity you can never experience anywhere else. … I’m glad I found my place and glad to call Pacific my home."
Tal Kalman ’22
Jazz Studies, Saxophone
This path is for you if you have an interest in jazz but want to major in another area. Typically, a candidate played in a high school jazz ensemble and would like to continue personal musical development and exploration. Comprising 20 units, the jazz studies minor still gives you the opportunity for applied lessons and participation in ensembles.
Pacific’s Jazz Studies alumni play around the world in top jazz clubs including Dizzy's Club in NYC, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, CA, or The Blue Note in Tokyo, Japan. They receive jazz assistantships at top graduate schools and serve in military bands all over the country.
Pictured: Joel Ross, vibraphone, in Blue Note, Tokyo 2019
The Jazz Studies Department is actively engaged in the community. Pacific Jazz Ambassadors perform nationally and locally. Take 5 Jazz Club features weekly jazz sessions during academic year. In summer, we invite pre-college jazz musicians to learn and play music with the Conservatory faculty and students at Pacific Summer Jazz Colony. Pacific Jazz Festival is our annual 2-day jazz event featuring live performances and master classes with conservatory faculty and renowned guest artists.