Fall 2020 Announcements and Procedures

Hello – and welcome back.


Updated August 26, 2020

We make music in interesting times. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many opportunities to reflect upon how we create, educate, and advance this deep and powerful art form.

The faculty and staff from the Division of Jazz Studies are looking forward to resuming instruction this academic year in a safe and responsible environment. We will be adhering both to the broad safety instructional guidelines from the university as well as additional measures relating to our experiential music-making environments. While most lecture-based or academic jazz courses will be delivered either remote or partially-remote, the experiential courses such as lab ensembles (MULBs and MUENs), jazz chamber music (MUCMs), and recitals will be face-to-face in strict accordance with policies and procedures. Applied studio instruction varies per instructor and student elections. Details for meeting delivery can be checked against your class schedule at MyUNT or the Registrar's Schedule of Classes.

The following outlines those procedures and guidelines.

University and College of Music Information

UNT Health Alerts | College of Music - Returning to Campus Fall 2020 | College of Music  - Instructional Guide
  • Face masks and coverings must be worn at all times within university buildings and outside on the grounds. Masks can be removed when playing a woodwind or brass instrument, but reapplied after playing.
  • Six-foot (6') social distancing is to be maintained as practically as possible in classroom spaces and hallways to prevent prolongued close-quarters contact.
  • More time may be given in between class meetings to allow for distanced travel across campus. Adhere to directional signage in classrooms and hallways to maintain flow of traffic and prevent breaking of six-foot personal boundaries.
  • Weather and access-permitting, some courses and ensembles may elect to occaisionally meet outside in appropriate "perch spaces" on campus. The primary "perch" space for the College of Music is the Spec's Charitable Courtyard in the middle of the Main Music Building.
  • All courses that require rehearsals or performance of aerosol-producing instruments (woodwinds, brass, voice) will be restricted to thirty (30) minutes maximum of playing. This allows for the newly installed MERV advanced air filtration systems in the College to ventilate and recycle the air in each space.
  • All classroom spaces will be cleaned at the conclusion of each meeting time per the protocols and resources provided by the University.
  • Practice rooms in Practice Buildings North and South are being individually reserved for two hour time blocks through After reviewing the site, please direct any questions you might have to
  • All faculty teaching studios have been outfitted with 141 Ture HEPA H13 air filtration devices in the Music Building, Music Annex, Practice Buildings, Bain Hall, and the Murchison PAC / Annex.
  • Maximum occupancy will be restricted to three persons in the Jazz Office MU 284 and four persons in the Jazz Library MU 285. Staff and student librarians will strictly enforce this policy.
  • No persons external to the UNT community will be allowed on campus in order to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. This presently includes visitors to rehearsals, audiences for performances, and in-person guest artists.

Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Music Auditions, Proficiency Examinations (August 17-28)

Registration and Audition Information | Proficiency Exam Information

Most instrumental studios are conducting auditions in person the week of August 17. Exceptions are noted including for the jazz bass and vocal jazz studios.
Ensemble placement results will be posted to the Jazz Studies Canvas page rather than the hallway posting boards to discourage congregating in confined spaces.

  • Initial MULB placements will be posted on Monday, August 24.
  • Initial MUCM placements will be posted on Wednesday, August 26.
  • Placement revisions throughout the first week of classes will be updated on Canvas.

Proficiency exams will mostly be administrered in-person. See the above link for more details.

Adjusted Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Music Protocols


The nature of our ensembles and rehearsal spaces have required finding new locations and meeting times, as well as establishing particular distancing protocols. While rehearsals will not entirely be about playing this semester, we will be delivering as close to the original experience as possible while complying with NASM credentialing standards for contact and credit hours.

Per UNT College of Music policy, all ensembles (lab bands or combos) that include aerosol-producing instruments will meet for a maximum of 30 minutes in any one sitting. To accomodate at least thirty minutes twice a week of playing time for each course section, the following adjustments have been made to meeting times and rooms:

All large jazz big bands will rehearse in the “square” set-up for the duration of the semester in room 258 or room 282 (Lab West) as marked by the white tape. The Lab West configuration places horn sections into the audience seating. These configurations ensure maximum distancing between ensemble players/director while remaining both practical and effective for the ensemble. These set ups will guarantee a minimum of nine feet (9’) side-by side distance between players of like instruments and nine to thirty (9-30’) feet distance between the four different sections of each ensemble.

All non-aerosol producing ensembles, such as the guitar labs or Jazz Strings Ensemble, will maintain minimum six feet (6') distancing in their setups.

All vocal jazz ensembles will rehearse in room 262 with limited personnel and maintaining nine feet (9') distancing of masked performers. New monitoring equipment is being procured to compensate for this new set up.

Zebras Popular Commerical Music Ensemble will be rehearsing fully remote with an objective of professionally-produced "quarantine" style video performances.


Jazz Chamber Music is being broken up this term into two eight-week sections to maximize rehearsal opportunities for the twelve anticipated combo groupings. Once placed into a named chamber small group, your registration will be swapped to the approripate section in either eight-week term. Anyone who does not make a named grouping will be placed into a Combo Class instructed by the excellent teaching fellows assisgned to Jazz Chamber Music.

Rehearsal schedules are as follows:

Performances, Recitals, and Recordings

As noted previously, there will not be any live performances this term with audiences present. This means regular weekly performances in the Union Syndicate have been suspended. End of term performances from ensembles are still be negotiated and will likely be through pre-recorded or live streaming. The College of Music has made a significant investment in upgrading the HD streaming capabilities of the major performance halls and expanded those capabilities to Lab West, the Recital Hall, and the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater (MEIT). It will now be possible for the College to live stream multiple simultaneous performances. Further details on final term performances and streaming will be coming soon.

Degree recitals will move foward in Lab West with extra setup and preparation time starting at 6:00 p.m. to allow for distancing by the media technicians. The current plan is for degree recitals to be live streamed through the College of Music's online digital channels.

Options to professionally record Jazz Chamber Music combo groupings for up to 30 minutes worth of music are currently being negotiated. These would be for use by combo small group members individually and collectively for competitions or personal use. We now have experience with socially-distanced and safe protocols for studio recordings from the Lab 2020 sessions this summer. We will base any recording session plans on those protocols which prioritize separate tracking where appropriate.

Looking Ahead

Your faculty and staff have spent a significant portion of their summer break making and revising plans ahead of this Fall 2020 semester. We thank them for their diligence, flexibility, and patience as new information and procedures were established and modified. Do not hesitate to ask either your faculty, staff, or Professor Parton as chair if you have any further questions or concerns.

We also recognize that this planning is not exhaustive and is highly subject to change based upon the evolving coronavirus situation in our community. Make sure to check this website and the Jazz Studies Canvas page for updates regarding any and all procedures and guidelines.

Have a safe, productive, and musical semester!

Black Lives Matter

The faculty and staff of the Division of Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas stands in solidarity with the Black community during what has been an extremely sad and eye-opening past two weeks. We are indebted to the musical legacy of Black American culture that has provided much of the foundation of our livelihoods, studies, and passions. All of us have studied the improvisational and compositional creativity of Black jazz artists and their extended musical communities throughout our careers. We view ourselves as grateful participants in the tradition they established.

The history of our art form in jazz is intricately interwoven with social protest and that aspect does not change now. We are appalled and saddened by George Floyd’s death as we are with each needless loss before and since brought on by the institutional violence, inequitable policies, and police brutality exhibited towards Black Americans. We are musicians, but we are human beings first and recognize that no person should be treated the way George Floyd was, among countless others. This is another instance in a series of blatant wake up calls to ALL Americans that we need to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again. Though the scale of needed societal change is grand, adjusting our individual and institutional actions can have a lasting impact on these issues in our surrounding community. 

We recognize that the Division’s history has not always adequately reflected the values of diversity and inclusion.  The program was founded in the academic year of 1946-47 on a still-segregated campus. It would be many years before full integration took place both within the university and in our program. Despite our best efforts, echoes and residual effects of this founding context still occur.

To overcome our shortcomings, we must listen: to our students, to our community, and each other.  As musicians and as people, we listen in order to understand where our musical partner is rooted and respond to them in kind. As we improvise, we must respect and include all voices, taking explicit care to elevate the marginalized. We recognize and celebrate our students, faculty, staff, and broader community members for who they are – their whole person.

The mission of the UNT College of Music is “to serve our diverse musical culture with excellence, integrity, and imagination.” Reaffirming that Black Lives Matter supports all three aspects of this mission, as we affirm the value of diversity, strive to meet the highest standard of integrity, and imagine a better future. We are resolute in our commitment to this mission and look forward to working more purposefully towards a more diverse and inclusive culture in the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT.

Congratulations Class of 2020!

Down the corridor of years
We'll forget the joys and tears,
But North Texas – North Texas! – we love.

A heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2020. We are immensely proud of your grit, artistry, and resilience through a trying academic year. Enjoy this video message from Jazz Studies faculty as organized by Prof. Quincy Davis. Welcome to our proud alumni family!


One O'Clock Lab Band takes finals at inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championships

The One O'Clock Lab Band, under the direction of Alan Baylock, made the finals round of competition at the inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championships organized by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The band took fourth place overall amongst a prestigious lineup of university jazz programs from across the country on Sunday, January 19, 2020. 

Additionally, UNT Jazz Studies students took home a number of individual and section honors including:

  • Outstanding Saxophone Section
  • Outstanding Trombone Section
  • Outstanding Trumpet Section
  • Outstanding Alto Saxophone, Will Nathman
  • Outstanding Trumpet, Austin Ford
  • Outstanding Trumpet, Chris Van Leeuwen

Congratulations to all of our students and colleague institutions for an amazing weekend in New York City!

One O'Clock Lab Band in Lobby

One O'Clock in Rose Theater


New CD with lots of UNT Jazz Studies alumni participation

The Commission Project, the new CD by the JazzMN Orchestra, involves two generations of UNT alumni as players and composers. Seven of the ten titles are newly-commissioned works. The well-produced CD, released by Momentous Records, includes contact information for the composers of all 10 titles for those who want to purchase the charts.

The alumni composers Gerald Stockton and John Wasson. The alumni players are Rich MacDonald, drums and producer; Brad Dutz, percussion; Pete Whitman, tenor saxophone; Doug Snapp (conductor, artistic director, and founder of JazzMN); Brian Handeland, baritone saxophone; Aaron Hedenstrom, alto saxophone; and Brad Shermock, lead trumpet.

The orchestra's site is:

CD information is here:

Welcome New Trumpet Faculty

We are pleased to welcome two new members of our faculty, who will begin in Fall 2019.

Philip Dizack has been appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz Trumpet, Improvisation Emphasis.

Rob Parton has been appointed Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet, Lead Trumpet Emphasis.

Jazz Studies faculty receive DJAM Jazz Legend Awards

Each year since 2013, the organizers of Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month, who represent organizations and institutions that support and present jazz year-round in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, recognize important figures in the jazz community with the Jazz Legend Awards.
Among this years winners are UNT Jazz Studies Faculty members Jennifer Barnes (Jazz Educator) and Rodney Booth (Jazz Artist), and Instrumental Studies adjunct instructor and Jazz Studies alumnus Stockton Helbing (Jazz Innovator). They were recognized on April 13, 2019 at the DJAM Open House at the Moody Performance Hall in Dallas. Jennifer Barnes was on tour with the Jazz Singers that day. Photos by Bart Marantz.

Arlington Jones, Rodney Booth, Joanna St. Angelo

Arlington Jones, Stockton Helbing, Joanna St. Angelo

DownBeat Student Music Award Recipients for 2019

Congratulations to this year's DownBeat Student Music Award recipients from the Division of Jazz Studies:

Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Undergraduate College Outstanding Performance

Avenue C - Marion Powers, director

Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Graduate College Winner

UNT Jazz Singers

Faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes

*Outstanding Soloist: Stephanie Hanson on “Spring Is Here”

*Outstanding Scat Soloist Kara Walton on “Spring Is Here”

Original Composition – Large Ensemble

Undergraduate College Outstanding Performance

Kyle Myers, “Red Herring”

Faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa

U-Tubes at American Trombone Workshop

Last weekend the U-Tubes, our jazz trombone ensemble, made a successful tour to Washington, D.C. to represent our program at the American Trombone Workshop. The group is directed by graduate student Nathan Davis and mentored by Prof. Nick Finzer. "The students represented UNT on a very high level," said Prof. Finzer. "They had the opportunity to network with many musicians from the military bands there and at our gig Sunday. In addition, the students at the schools we visited were very receptive and open to the ideas our students had to share. The camaraderie and momentum this trip has built for our studio is extremely exciting!" Elvis Moreno is the trombonist in the photo.