The Arranging Emphasis Qualification - Undergraduate Level

For undergraduate Jazz Studies students who are interested in a Jazz Arranging Emphasis.

Arranging Emphasis Application Form

Students who have established a prowess for jazz writing may be allowed to change their status to become a jazz studies major with an emphasis in arranging. This decision is best determined no later than the completion of the sophomore level of study but special cases may be considered for students of outstanding accomplishment. Before doing so, the student should realize that this track requires significantly more time than the typical performance major since most of the requirements for instrumental performance still apply (including the successful completion of the jazz improvisation exams – contact Professor Mike Steinel for further information).

A formal written application (the link is found directly above in green letters) must be filled out and approved via signatures from the student’s applied performance professor, Richard DeRosa – the director of jazz arranging, and Dr. John Murphy – the jazz department chair.

In preparation for this transition, the student must present a portfolio of compositions and arrangements that show substantial potential beyond the limited writing production of a typical jazz performance major. In addition to smaller works, it should include at least one complete arrangement for big band. The portfolio will then be evaluated by professor Richard DeRosa. The student must also demonstrate a reasonable facility at the keyboard by performing "Stella by Starlight" from memory (contact Professor DeRosa for an appointment).

Upon acceptance, the student must take the following advanced courses:

Advanced Jazz Arranging (MUJS 4610 and 4620)
Counterpoint (MUTH 3410)
Classical Composition (MUCP 3080)
Conducting (MUAG 3800).

The student will also change his/her applied area of instruction from performance to arranging; three semesters of private study are suggested in order to present a satisfactory senior recital in this area. The first two semesters are dedicated to the bulk of the writing; at least two pieces (one large, one small) are to be written in each semester. The final semester is dedicated to one additional piece and preparation for the recital.

The senior recital will consist of the following minimum:

Two pieces for big band (contrasting moods or styles)
Three pieces for various chamber groups – a 3-horn arr, a 4-horn arr, a 5-horn arr.

The five pieces must total approximately 20-25 minutes of performed music and improvisation cannot constitute more than 40% of the written music. There must be a comprehensive representation that includes some of the following styles: swing, be-bop, modal, ballad, Latin, Brazilian, original (modern).