December 2015

UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar

(This page has been updated as of January 21, 2017.)

Registration is OPEN at

The 2nd Annual UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar will be held on the campus of the University of North Texas from Thursday, June 15 through Saturday, June 17, 2017.

The seminar will be led by UNT Director of Vocal Jazz, Jennifer Barnes, and multi-award-winning high school educator, Michael Molloy (St. Charles North High School, St. Charles, IL). The seminar will be packed full of content relevant to high school and college-level teachers who either are already working with students on vocal jazz or are considering starting vocal jazz with their students, with topics to include:

  • Working with rhythm sections (with special attention given to drum set and bass)
  • Choosing repertoire
  • Sound reinforcement
  • Specific rehearsal techniques unique to vocal jazz
  • Audition methods
  • Warm-ups and exercises to improve your ensemble's musicianship

Alumni update from Dave Tough

Alumni update from Dave Tough:

"I was a Jazz Studies major with an emphasis in drumset at UNT 94-98. I ended up graduating with a BA in Music as I wanted get a minor in business. I studied under Ed, John, Ron, Gideon, Paul, Derrik, Henry and several others. I also took a couple of semesters of an electric bass class too as I wanted to understand more than just the drums. My favorite memories were playing compositions I wrote at departmentals, playing for Neil's conducting class multiple semesters and taking the songwriting class from Paris.

I am currently a tenured professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, teaching the music production to Belmont students. I am a Dove Award winner and I have won the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition twice in the past. I have had over 200 artists record my songs and have had my songs placed in multiple television shows and movies. I also host a new show on youtube called "The Producers Room with Dave Tough."

UNT gave me the musical foundation to achieve these goals. The best thing about UNT is that you get to hear what other talented peers are doing; it makes you push yourself to the next level!"

Workshop registration is now open

Registration forms for the bass, vocal jazz, and combo workshops are now available on the Workshops page. Registration for the Vocal Jazz Educator Workshop will be available soon.

Winter Wonderland by the Dallas Horns

Recent UNT Jazz Studies graduates Mark Hartsuch, Joakim Toftgaard and Daniel Matthews have just released their inaugural video for a new project called the "Dallas Horns". This holiday video features all UNT Jazz alumni:
Arrangement by Mark Hartsuch. Edited by Joakim Toftgaard. Produced by the Dallas Horns. Audio and video recorded by Cameron Covello.
Featuring: Tahira Clayton – vocals; The Dallas Horns: Daniel Matthews – trumpet, Mark Hartsuch – tenor saxophone, Joakim Toftgaard – trombone; The Band: Quinten Hope – guitar, Drew Zaremba – organ & MOOG, Mike Luzecky – bass, Matt Young – drums.

Mara Penatzer plays on new hip-hop theater project

Jazz Studies alumna Mara Penatzer plays keyboards on this hip-hop music theater project:

Alumni news from Ryan States

I was a Jazz Studies major with an emphasis in arranging at UNT in the mid 90s. I was there three semesters. I studied under Head of the Piano Department, Jack Roberts, making my student-teacher lineage one that traces back to Franz Liszt.

Collaborations include Deon Estus, Tom Goss, Peter Bufano, Mark Nemer, Brian McRae, Pat McGrath, Steve Goodie, Jim Clark, Kevin Breuner, Wages Argott, fellow alum Cameron Morgan, and Nashville producer and award winning songwriter, Dave Tough, also a fellow UNT alum.

I've toured in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus band for twelve years playing keyboards and doing sound effects for live acrobatic and daredevil stunts. I have performed over 4000 shows for millions of circus fans in sold out arenas from LA’s Staples Center to Chicago's United Center and Houston's Reliant Stadium. Recordings of my playing have been heard on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, national parade broadcasts, DVDs, and commercials.

In 2010 while living on the circus train I produced the first album ever made on a train, Strange Town. It is a singer/songwriter tribute to New York City.

See more at

Alex Hahn and Mark Hartsuch recognized in contests

Congratulations to UNT alumnus and current USC student Alex Hahn for winning Eastman Music Company's Perform With Mintzer contest and to Fall 2015 graduate Mark Hartsuch for being named a finalist!

Congratulations to Fall 2015 UNT graduate Mark Hartsuch for being named a semifinalist in the Julius Keilwerth Saxophone Idol Competition!

David Morgenroth completes first UNT DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies

In May 2015, pianist David Morgenroth became the first student to complete the DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies at UNT. David had previously earned the M.M. in Jazz Studies at UNT in 1991. During his doctoral work he served as a teaching fellow in piano and jazz small groups. His related field was in collaborative piano. His dissertation work includes three recitals and a dissertation in which he studied collaborations between jazz pianists and vocalists. Read more about David's work at

This is the abstract of his dissertation, followed by a Q&A and an excerpt from the dissertation. His dissertation advances the scholarly conversation about collaborations between jazz pianists and vocalists and the study of expressive microtiming, and creates new possibilities for research by bringing the together the literature on collaboration in jazz and in Western art music.

Dan Haerle's new book

Professor emeritus Dan Haerle has published The Essential Jazz Harmony Book, available at

UNT no. 7 in list of of top 25 US jazz guitar schools

Anyone who browses this list of the top 25 US jazz guitar schools with UNT in mind is likely to notice two things: First, our program is listed at no. 7, which is a credit to Professor Fred Hamilton, veteran adjunct instructors Rich McLure and Noel Johnston, and generations of hard-working students. Second, our program is very affordable. For more information about the cost of attendance:

College of Music Admissions page

Notice this PDF, which compares cost of attendance at various schools using publicly-available information:

UNT tuition costs and payment plans
As you study the pages that show tuition charges by credit hour, remember that undergraduate students typically take between 15 and 18 credit hours, and graduate students take 9 or 10.
Non-Texas resident students (including international students) who receive a competitive UNT scholarship of $1,000 or more, which can be music or academic, get to pay Texas resident tuition rates.