MM in Jazz Studies and Performance

The jazz studies concentration offers a comprehensive experience in enhanced small jazz ensemble, solo performance, and arranging/composition and the potential for high-level, primary source research and writing only available in the New York area.

View required courses and course descriptions in the University Course Catalog
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Application Deadline

February 1
*Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed ONLY on a space availability basis.  

Admission Requirements

In addition to the University's admission requirements:

  • Undergraduate music degree or equivalent (cumulative grade-point average of 2.75 on a scale of 4.0)
  • Master of music applicants must be accepted by both the University and the Department of Music. Specific Department of Music requirements include:
  • Completed application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Audition via uploaded tracks

Fall semester

Contact Us

Professor David Demsey
Jazz Studies Program Coordinator

Professor Peter McGuinness
Arranging Area Coordinator

Professor Timothy Newman
Graduate Program Director, Department of Music

Program Features

Over 20 ensembles perform each semester-duos, trios, quintets, sextets, Big Band, Latin Band, Repertory Band, Vocal Workshop, Vocal Lab. Focus on improvisation, as well as repertoire, group performance techniques.

  • WP Jazz Faculty - Veteran New York musicians with international reputations as performers, recording artists, arrangers and conductors in residence-accessible and dedicated to teaching.

  • Small Jazz Program Size - Twenty graduate students are given many opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

  • Performance Opportunities - Jazz majors perform in four weekly ensemble rehearsals. Student groups are featured as opening for professional jazz artists on William Paterson's renowned Jazz Room Concert Series, on the University's Midday Recital Series, in the annual Willowbrook Jazz Festival, and in a number of area jazz clubs.

  • Dialogue Days - Small jazz group showcase performances followed by critiques from faculty and fellow students.

    All prospective applicants are invited to attend a day of classes at any convenient time. They can sit in on classes, and on some of our 24 small jazz groups, the 18-piece Jazz Orchestra or the Vocal Jazz Workshop. This is an opportunity to meet faculty and graduate students, and get a vivid picture of the high level of performance, and the great atmosphere at William Paterson.

  • Private Instrument/Vocal Study for all jazz majors with William Paterson's respected resident and adjunct faculty.

  • Challenging Full-Course Sequences in Improvisation, Ear Training, Jazz History and Analysis, Small Group and Big Band Arranging, Piano, Comprehensive Musicianship.

Jazz performance track majors audition recording

  • An audition track following these requirements:
    • The taped performance should demonstrate ability to play within a group and strengths as a soloist. Perform a minimum of three tunes:
      • One up-tempo tune such as "Cherokee," "Ornithology," "It Could Happen To You," "Just Friends," or a similar selection.
      • One ballad such as "Body and Soul," "In a Sentimental Mood," "I Can't Get Started," or a similar selection.
      • One medium-tempo tune such as "All the Things You Are," "Out of Nowhere," "Have You Met Miss Jones?" or a similar selection.
    • One improvised chorus within the presentation of the medium tempo and up-tempo tunes should be performed entirely unaccompanied.

Special Audition Notes

  • Piano, guitar, and mallet instruments: Performance should demonstrate ability to accompany, as well as to solo. 
  • Drum set: Performance should demonstrate ability to use brushes as well as sticks, and to play through the head of the up-tune unaccompanied, outlining rhythmic structure of the melody.
  • Bass: Performance should demonstrate ability to construct a walking bass line and should showcase strengths as an improviser. Acoustic bassists should demonstrate use of the bow.
  • Vocalists: If currently studying voice, include sample of vocalization at the beginning of tape. Performance should demonstrate the ability to scat, as well as an understanding of the lyric.