Jazz ensembles at UNI include three large jazz bands and many small combos. Admission to these ensembles, open to both majors and non-music majors, is on an audition basis. UNI jazz students have the opportunity to take courses in instrumental jazz improvisation (4 levels), jazz ensemble techniques, jazz history, jazz arranging (2 levels) and jazz composition.

Undergraduate degree programs in jazz

* The jazz studies minor is open to non-music majors as well.

Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy

In addition to cultivating a broadly educated musician, the focus of the Master of Music degree program is the development of a pedagogue who is capable of teaching effectively all fundamental aspects of jazz performance applied to both the ensemble and individual, as well as composition and arranging for student jazz ensembles. Based on the philosophy that jazz performance evolved from an aural tradition, this degree program utilizes a practicum approach wherein the teacher is trained to teach many aspects of jazz performance by demonstration.

In addition to the courses listed above, private study on the instruments of the rhythm section is required. Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy candidates are required to pass proficiency tests on jazz piano, electric bass and drums. Requirements are listed here.
Note - Jazz Saxophone & Applied Improvisation are not requirements for Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy.

Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships

Jazz scholarships are available to musicians who are outstanding improvisers, rhythm section players or lead players. Based on audition and departmental need, some scholarships are awarded to music majors for the four-year period. Others are one-time-only scholarships awarded to incoming freshman and transfer students, regardless of major. Prospective students are encouraged to make an appointment to audition in January prior to enrollment the next fall. The Tom Capps Memorial Jazz Scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman or transfer student who demonstrates a high level of musicianship.

Graduate assistantships in jazz studies are also available. Duties may include:

  • Directing a jazz band
  • Coaching jazz combos
  • Assisting with course instruction
  • Administrative assistance
  • Performing in a jazz band or combo

Jazz Coursework

To view the syllabus for any courses listed here, contact

  • Jazz Band I 
  • Jazz Band II 
  • Jazz Band III
  • Jazz Combo
  • Jazz Pedagogy
  • Beginning Improvisation
  • Intermediate Jazz Improvisation 
  • Advanced Jazz Improvisation
  • Jazz Arranging I 
  • Jazz Arranging II 
  • Jazz Composition 
  • Jazz Theory 
  • Jazz History 
  • Applied Jazz Saxophone
  • Applied Jazz Composition 
  • Applied Jazz Piano 
  • MM Jazz Pedagogy Rhythm Section 
  • Instrumental Methods IV: Jazz Band