Jazz Studies

Area Overview

Jazz is big at Utah State, with hundreds of students participating every year in jazz activities of one kind or another, whether in one of the two big bands, several combos, numerous guitar ensembles, jazz improvisation and history classes, various chamber groups that include jazz in their repertoires, the Jazz Kicks Big band, the annual Jazz Night at the Sky Club, the jazz series at Why Sound, or the regular jazz jam sessions downtown. Students at USU have opportunities to conduct, write for, perform in, and record and tour with big bands and small groups. In June of 2014, Downbeat Magazine honored the USU Jazz Orchestra with its Outstanding Performance by a Large Jazz Ensemble award in the annual Student Music Awards issue. This is due to a combination of great students who are excited to study and perform this music, and a world-class music faculty, many of whom are also members of the faculty music ensemble Aggie Music Project.

Ensembles & Classes

Utah State University offers students numerous opportunities to study Jazz. Whether through participation in one of our many Jazz Ensembles (our two Big Bands -- the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra; as well as numerous Combos), or by enrolling in a course about Jazz history, we have something for everyone interested in adding some Jazz to their university studies.

Jazz Courses at USU

CRN Course Name Semesters Offered Credits Additional Information
MUSC 2460 Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Non-Music Majors Fall, Spring, Summer 1-2 1 credit = 30 min lesson, 2 credits = 1 hour lesson
MUSC 2470 Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors/2nd Instr. Fall, Spring, Summer 1 1 credit = 30 min lesson
MUSC 2550 Guitar Styles: Blues/Bluegrass Fall 2 Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading
MUSC 2560 Guitar Styles: Jazz/Classical Spring 2 Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading
MUSC 3020 History of Jazz Fall, Spring 3 Fulfills the Depth Humanity credit
MUSC 3440 Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors Fall, Spring, Summer 1-2 All 1-hour lessons: credit is determined by practice time and extent of literature required.
MUSC 3760 Jazz Ensemble Fall, Spring 1 Audition required, contact Dr. Wheeler for information
MUSC 3770 Jazz Orchestra Fall, Spring 1 Audition required, contact Dr. Gudmundson for information
MUSC 3900 Jazz Improvization Fall, Spring 2 Prerequisites: MUSC 2130 and 2150 or permission from instructor.
MUSC 3950 Jazz Choir Fall, Spring 1 Ability to improvise helpful, though not required. Auditions held during the first week of fall semester.
MUSC 4710 Jazz Combo Fall, Spring 1-2 Auditions held during the first week of fall semester. Contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.

 

Guest Clinicians

Guest clinicians are a regular part of the jazz studies curriculum. Here is a partial list of guest artists from the past several years (since 2003).

Saxophonists

Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Dave Pietro, Chris Vadala, Norbert Stachel, Jack Wilkins, Lauren Sevian, Tom Walsh, Brent Jensen, Joe McQueen;

Trumpeters

Brian Lynch, Byron Stripling, Marvin Stamm, Graham Breedlove, Mark Buselli, Dave Douglas;

Trombonists

Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Oberholtzer, Willie Applewhite;

Pianists

Bill Mays, Dana Landry, Bill Anschell, Melanie Shore;

Guitarists

John Scofield, Vic Juris, Mike Stern, Joe Diorio, Ron Eschete, Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor;

Bassists

Rufus Reid, Lars Yorgason, Aaron Miller, Chris Symer, Erik Applegate;

Drummers

Ed Soph, John Riley, Danny Gottlieb, Beth Gottlieb, Jim White;

Organists

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Scholarships

Larry Smith Jazz Scholarhips

Named to honor Professor Emeritus Larry Smith, founder of the jazz studies area at Utah State, this scholarship fund was created to help music students at Utah State University who have a dedicated interest in studying jazz. It is available to incoming jazz students as well as currently enrolled students, and can be put towards tuition, books, instruments, etc. This is an open-ended scholarship: someone needing a mute can apply as well as someone needing money for classes. To apply, get an application form from Dr. Gudmundson and fill it out, obtain a brief endorsement from one of the jazz faculty at USU, and submit to Dr. Gudmundson. Number of recipients and amount of scholarship vary based on funds and need.

Caine Jazz Combo Scholarship

This scholarship is available on a yearly basis to seven of the best jazz students at Utah State University. These seven students will perform in a standard jazz combo configuration of trumpet, saxophone, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums, and will be responsible to meet and perform regularly. Scholarship recipients should be strong leaders and role models as well as fine musicians, but they are not necessarily required to be in a jazz ensemble or the music department. To apply, you must participate in jazz auditions at the beginning of the year, and indicate interest in the combo. The scholarship is worth $250 per semester.

Multimedia

"This Lament" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

"Everything in its Right Place" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

"Tuesday Wonderland" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.

"Wingless Flight" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.

Hear more USU jazz on the Media page.

Faculty

Corey Christiansen

Corey Christiansen

Professor

Music (Guitar)

Phone: (435) 797-8840
Jon Gudmundson

Jon Gudmundson

Professor

Music (Saxophone)

Phone: (435) 797-3003
Office Location: FA 212
Braun Khan

Braun Khan

Assistant Professor

Music (String Bass)

Phone: (435) 797-5521
Office Location: FA 217A
Max Matzen

Max Matzen

Associate Department Head

Music (Trumpet)

Phone: (435) 797-9117
Office Location: FA 122
Jason Nicholson

Jason Nicholson

Associate Professor

Music (Percussion)

Phone: (435) 797-3008
Office Location: FA 114
Kevin Olson

Kevin Olson

Professor

Music (Piano)

Phone: (435) 797-3033
Office Location: FA 101
Nate Ostermiller

Nate Ostermiller

Faculty Associate

Music (Guitar)

Phone: (435) 512-4552
Office Location: FA 124
Greg Wheeler

Greg Wheeler

Assistant Professor

Music (Woodwinds)

Phone: (435) 797-1205
Office Location: FA 104C