John Murphy

Office: Jazz Studies division office, Music 284. Some meetings by appointment in faculty office, music 266.
Phone: (940) 565-4344

In 2013, I sent and received approximately 28,000 emails. In 2014, my goal is to reduce that by half by doing a better job on this website of organizing the information about our program so that people can find the information they need.

Before you send me an email, please read the list of frequently-asked questions below. You might be able to answer your question yourself.

If you are emailing me with a question about admission and auditions, it will help me get you the information you need if you make the following clear in your email:

  1. your complete legal name, the one UNT uses for you in the registration system
  2. which degree you are applying for (bachelor's, master's, doctoral)
  3. your instrument (this includes voice)
  4. whether or not you are an international student

Here are some frequently-asked questions:

  1. If you have applied to the College of Music, and you have questions about the status of your application, you can log in to your student dashboard in the online application. You might find the answer there.
  2. If you have a question about the audition requirements for your instrument (including repertoire, and whether or not you have to play a classical audition in addition to your jazz audition), check the page for your instrument here. If you don't find the answer, send an email to the jazz studies professor of your instrument using the links in the faculty pages linked here.
  3. If you are a prospective graduate student and you have a question about transfer credits, entrance examinations, and courses assigned as deficiencies in addition to the degree requirements, all of that is explained here.
  4. Sometimes prospective students write me with questions that indicate that they're not familiar enough with our university and our degrees. I can help with that: the name of the university is the University of North Texas. We offer one undergraduate degree: the B.M. in Jazz Studies. It has three emphases: instrumental performance, vocal performance, and arranging. The requirements are explained in the catalog and shown in the sample degree plans. Please note the requirements for being considered for the arranging emphasis. It has been since 1988. We offer one master's degree, the M.M. in Jazz Studies. It has three tracks: performance, composition, and pedagogy. The differences between the tracks are explained in the catalog and on the degree plan page. We offer one degree at the doctoral level, the DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies. This page answers many questions about it.
  5. Master's and doctoral students often have questions about the GRE requirement and the Jazz Studies In-House Writing Exam.
  6. Here is information about enrolling as a second bachelor's student.
  7. If you represent an artist who wants to do a performance or masterclass here, please be aware that we are an educational institution, not a presenting organization, and our limited funds are already committed for the 2013-2014 academic year.
  8. If you want to hire some of our students to play for an event, and you are going to pay them, please contact our division office at If you want them to play for free, then it's very likely that we will not help you get in touch with our students.
  9. If you would like to contribute financially to our scholarship funds or support our program in other ways, please feel free to send an email or call.
  10. If you have a collection of recordings or scores that you would like to donate, please contact the UNT Music Library.
  11. If you are looking for a teacher of private lessons, please contact the Jazz Studies division office at
  12. If you would like information about our summer jazz workshops, please visit the workshops page or send an email to
  13. If you would like to buy one of our recordings, please visit the College of Music online store. If you already placed an order and you have a question about it, please send email to

John Murphy, an ethnomusicologist and saxophonist, joined the UNT Jazz Studies faculty in 2001. He has served as chair of the Division of Jazz Studies since Fall 2008. He is the author of Music in Brazil (Oxford University 2006) and Cavalo-marinho pernambucano (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil University Press, 2008) and has published articles on jazz improvisation, Brazilian traditional and popular music, Cuban music in New York, and college teaching. He published the article "Beyond the Improvisation Class: Learning to Improvise in a University Jazz Studies Program," in Musical Improvisation: Art, Education, and Society (2009), edited by Bruno Nettl and Gabriel Solis. He has held Fulbright (1990-91) and National Endowment for the Humanities (2000-2001) fellowships for research in Brazil.

While a student at the University of North Texas, Murphy earned two degrees (B.M., jazz studies performance, 1984; M.M., music theory, 1986), played in the One O'Clock Lab Band (1984-85), and free-lanced in Dallas-Ft. Worth. He then earned two degrees at Columbia University (M.A. & Ph.D., ethnomusicology) and played Latin music in the New York area. He plays frequently in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Murphy teaches jazz history (undergraduate and graduate), jazz styles & analysis (graduate), and jazz research methods (graduate); and collaborates with the ethnomusicology area by serving on thesis committees. During the 2012-2013 academic year he served as Interim Director of Graduate Studies. He teaches a listening class at the UNT Small Group Jazz summer workshop. He served as chair of the Division of Music History, Theory, and Ethnomusicology from 2006 to 2008; served the Society for Ethnomusicology as web editor from 1997 to 2002; and taught previously at Western Illinois University (1992-2001).

In Jazz Studies chart library, Oct. 21, 2013

After a concert with the big band of the Universidade Federal de Pernambco big band in Recife, Brazil in March 2013, with Prof. Esman Dias, my former professor of Portuguese.

In performance with UNT Brazilian ensemble, spring 2013. Photo by Alyssa Hedenstrom. I play Irish traditional musical music on this instrument often.