Jazz studies is among the newest degrees offered in the Conservatory, where one of the University's most distinguished alumni, Dave Brubeck, put Pacific on the map with his excellence in this great American art form.
What makes studying jazz at Pacific so special?
The Pacific Jazz Studies degree is designed to give graduates real-life skills for their performance careers, so, in audition to coursework in improvisation, theory, and applied performance, classes in music management and in recording studio work are required for all Bachelor degree students. Students will learn about the big picture of current industry trends and how to manage their careers as a business.
Jazz Studies at Pacific has one of the few three-year degree programs in the country, and students in this and other degree programs have the flexibility to study independently with any jazz faculty, regardless of instrument, providing a breadth and diversity of musical exposure.
The Pacific Jazz Studies program has been well-represented at festivals and competitions on the west coast, and students here learn from both accomplished faculty and guest artists and clinicians.Improvisation is alive and well at Pacific, and jazz studies students can learn the skills here to create meaningful careers and lives of musical expression.
There are currently four degrees available in Jazz Studies at Pacific. More details on requirements for these degrees can be found in the links below.
The Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, Performance Track The BM in Jazz Studies, Performance Track, is geared toward musicians who want to focus on a career in jazz performance. Students will learn skills to prepare them for work in a variety of settings: in studios, on cruise ships, in armed forces ensembles, or as a leader/sideman in live work. Some students will also choose to further their educations after Pacific with graduate degrees.
Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, Composition Track The BM in Jazz Studies, Composition Track, emphasizes the skills of writing and composing jazz music. There is still a large element of performance education required in this degree, and students are exposed to a range of musical styles from which they can develop their own compositional voices.
3 Year Accelerated Honors Degree in Jazz Studies The 3 Year Accelerated Honors BM Degree is designed for students who come to Pacific with a high level of jazz performance skills that will enable them to go directly into higher division courses. Students can complete this degree in 3 years, usually including one summer session.
Minor in Jazz Studies The Jazz Studies Minor is intended for students who have an interest in jazz but want to major in other areas. Typically, students pursuing the Minor played in their high school jazz ensemble and want to continue their personal musical development and exploration. Comprising 20 units, the Jazz Studies minor still gives student the opportunity for applied lessons and participation in ensembles.
All prospective students must complete the admission process to the University of the Pacific and two performance auditions.
Relationship to the Brubeck Institute
Dave Brubeck graduated from the Conservatory of Music at the College of the Pacific in 1942. On December 14, 1953, the Dave Brubeck Quartet performed and recorded what has become a classic, Jazz at the College of the Pacific. In 2000, Dave and his wife Iola, herself an alumna of Pacific, gave the entire archival collection of their life work to the University. In turn, the University created the Brubeck Institute to honor its distinguished alumnus.
Students in the jazz studies program participate in and benefit from all clinics, workshops, and other on-campus experiences provided to the Brubeck Institute's Fellowship Program. They also have access to the Brubeck Archive, and participate in the annual Brubeck Festival. Exceptional jazz studies majors will be encouraged to audition for the Fellowship Program.
All instruction in the jazz studies program is organized by Patrick Langham, Director of Jazz Studies. Instructors include resident faculty as well as a continually evolving array of guest artists, clinicians, and master class teachers. Resident instructors and visiting artists will provide industry news, tips about professional performance, and survival skills for the developing artist.