Vocal Jazz

Jazz Voice Studies at the University of North Texas

For information on Jazz Voice Auditions for admission to a degree program, see the Jazz Voice Auditions page.

Find UNT Vocal Jazz on social media:
Instagram: untvocaljazz
Twitter: untvocaljazz

Degrees: Jazz Vocal Performance is a degree path at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral (DMA) levels. Within the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, students are involved in private applied lessons, small ensemble performing and recording experiences, recitals, vocal jazz forum, and vocal jazz ensembles.

Program of Study
In both the Bachelor and Master of Music Jazz Studies degrees, singers study and experience both the traditions and modern practices of vocal jazz performance (in both solo and ensemble settings), songwriting, vocal pedagogy, jazz aural and keyboard skills, jazz theory and arranging, as well as courses in jazz history. In addition to jazz courses and ensembles, undergraduates must satisfy College of Music and University Core requirements.

Participation in one of the four vocal jazz ensembles (UNT Jazz Singers, Avenue C, Third Street and West End) is open to any UNT student (regardless of major), on the basis of live auditions, held at the beginning of each semester. For more information visit the UNT Jazz Singers auditions page.
Vocal jazz majors are expected to participate in a jazz ensemble every semester.

UNT Jazz Singers Fall 2012

Applied Lessons
• Undergraduate vocal jazz students study jazz voice with one of the outstanding Graduate Teaching Fellows during their first four semesters of applied study. Following a successful Upper Division Examination (UDE), students study with one of the senior faculty (Jennifer Barnes, Rosana Eckert or Brian Piper). The senior recital occurs in the 8th semester.
• Graduate students pursuing the Master of Music in Jazz Studies have four semesters of vocal jazz applied study. The graduate recital occurs in the fourth semester.

For a listing and description of courses offered in vocal jazz and related subjects, see the Jazz Studies courses page.

Vocal Jazz Forum
Vocal Jazz Forum takes place each Friday afternoon at 3 PM in Lab East (Room 263) in the fall and spring semesters, featuring two or three students with instrumental accompaniment sharing the 50-minute performance, as well as specialized topics of interest. All vocal jazz majors are expected to be in attendance.

Vocal Jazz Recitals
The senior recital occurs in the last semester of study, and is shared by two student performers. Before presenting a senior recital, the student must first pass the Final Improvisation Proficiency Examination (FIPE), scheduled at the end of MUJS 4120, Vocal Jazz Styles. The senior recital may be given only in Fall or Spring semester; recital procedures and requirements are available in the Office of Jazz Studies.

The graduate recital is given by one singer, and occurs in the last Fall or Spring semester of study. Prior to the graduate vocal jazz recital, the student must earn an A or B in MUJS 4120, Vocal Jazz Styles, or test out of the course. Before being approved to present a graduate recital the singer must pass the Graduate Improvisation Proficiency Exam (GIPE).

For Further Information:
Contact Jennifer Barnes (email) and Rosana Eckert (email) for information regarding vocal jazz at UNT.
• For vocal jazz ensemble information visit here.
• For UNT Vocal Jazz Summer Workshop (held each June at UNT) information visit here.
• For Jennifer Barnes' bio and a link to her current teaching schedule, including available office hours, visit here.

MUJS 1131-32 Fundamentals of Jazz Performance (Voice)

MUJS 1131.507 (Fall) (1 cr) • Mon/Wed 2:00–2:50 PM Room 292
MUJS 1132.507 (Spring) (1 cr) • Mon/Wed 2:00–2:50 PM Room 292

Fundamentals of Vocal Jazz Performance is an introductory course focusing on the essential elements required of a jazz singer, and of a vocalist in the Jazz Studies program at North Texas. These include:
• Studying the major historical figures in solo and ensemble jazz singing and developing a thorough aural understanding of the evolution of the art form of jazz singing
• Jazz repertoire and interpretation
• Computer music notation skills (using Finale)
• Aural transcriptions of vocal & instrumental improvised solos
• Time management skill development
• Communication skill development
• Learning efficient and effective individual practice habits
• Transcribing songs through focusing on a "bottom-up" approach (bass lines, then chord qualities)

MUJS 1132.507 is a continuation of 1131, taught in the spring semester. Students will continue developing broad-based musicianship skills through activities including, but not limited to:
• Singing chords, scales and modes
• Singing “enclosures” and melodic patterns that comprise the jazz language
• Aural comprehension of basic chord progressions and how "hear" chord changes for the purpose of improvising melodically with and without lyrics

MUJS 3120, Vocal Jazz Techniques

Prerequisites: MUJS 1132.507 (Vocal Jazz Fundamentals), MUJS 1360, 1361, 1370, 1371 (Jazz Fundamentals), one semester each of Music Theory, and MUJS 1470.
Corequisite: MULB 1820 Jazz Singers (any of the four sections)
Grading: Determined by participation, repertoire development, and end of semester jury performance.
Repeatable for credit, contingent upon a minimum grade of B.
Content: Vocal Jazz Techniques addresses the basic stylistic requirements for solo singing in the jazz/popular idiom.

Course Topics include:
• Analysis of established singers and styles
• Vocal production for jazz singing
• Microphone technique
• Lyric interpretation
• Repertoire development
• Arranging for a trio rhythm section

Students must demonstrate the ability to sing in popular styles to be admitted into this course. Entrance evaluations will consist of students singing two prepared pieces in jazz/popular styles. Students are also required to provide an accompanist, or recorded accompaniment for the entrance evaluation.

MUJS 4120, Vocal Jazz Styles

Prerequisite: Two semesters of Vocal Jazz Techniques, minimum grade of "B", the College of Music Upper Division Exam (vocal proficiency), and the Jazz Studies Improvisation Continuation Exam (ICE).
Co-requisite: Jazz Singers I (no exceptions)
Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 - 11:50 AM Room 348.
Attendance: Students are allowed 2 absences per semester.
Weekly Assignments - 50%
Preparation and Presentation of Gig Book - 25%
Final Recordings and Arrangements - 25%

Course Objectives: Vocal Jazz Styles is the final class experience for the vocal jazz program, and is taken in the semester preceding the senior recital. The course emphasizes the three sections of the Final Vocal Jazz Exit Examination which include:
1. Performance and improvisation in three styles of vocal jazz:
• Swing tunes and blues including blues-oriented improvisation
• Straight-eighth and Latin tunes, including lyric/melodic improvisation
• Ballads including lyric improvisation.
2. Jazz Piano skills. Students will learn to accompany themselves.
3. Arranging. Students will arrange each song for jazz trio, with at least one song featuring one/two horns. Arrangements must contain appropriate harmonic changes and reveal the benefits gained from strategically chosen transcriptions. All lead sheets and arrangements will be notated and printed using Finale.

The course also addresses basic sound reinforcement and recording techniques.

MUJS 4630, Vocal Jazz Arranging

Prerequisite: MUJS 3610, minimum grade of B.
Grading: Determined by assignment grades, attendance, and final project grades.
Attendance: Mandatory. 2 absences will be allowed per semester.
Course Objective: Provide students with the basic techniques and concepts utilized in vocal jazz arranging including:
• Analyzing selected arrangements
• Playing short selections of selected arrangements on the piano (all voices)
• Arranging for rhythm section.
• Arranging an a cappella ballad for 4-6 voices (SATB)
• Arranging a song for 4-6 voices with rhythm section accompaniment
• Chord voicings and voice leading for vocal groups.
• Performance and recording of the two large projects.