Our comprehensive program prepares skilled performers, composers, arrangers, and jazz educators for successful careers in jazz music.
- Bachelor of Music (BM)
- Master of Music (MM)
- Jazz Arts Advancement Program (DMA)
As one of the first conservatories in the U.S. to acknowledge the prime importance of jazz as an art form, Manhattan School of Music’s programs of study for jazz arts majors are designed to develop skilled performers, composers, arrangers, and jazz educators in preparation for careers in jazz music.
Systematic and rigorous conservatory training, combined with a myriad of performance and networking opportunities in New York City, make this program one of the richest of its kind for young jazz musicians.
Composition (MM only)
Voice (MM & DMA only)
SLIDESHOW: MSM Jazz Arts instrumentalists and vocalists
Every concert season, guest soloists are featured in concert with our large ensembles, providing enriched performance experiences for students. Recent guest soloists include Paquito D’Rivera, NEA Jazz Masters Candido and Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, and vocalists Jane Monheit, Roberta Gambarini, and Judi Silvano.
- Studio Orchestra
- Jazz Orchestra
- Composer’s Big Band
- LatinX Jazz Orchestra
All students in the Jazz Arts degree programs are required to fulfill their ensemble requirement as outlined in their course sequence plans and as assigned by the associate dean of the Jazz Arts Program.
Audition & Prescreening Information
Handbook for Current Students
Jazz Arts Department Handbook — includes information for current students on a variety of issues including ensemble and audition requirements, juries, recitals, grading systems, etc.
Plan of Study & Course Descriptions
Jazz Arts Calendar
Jazz Composition (Masters Degree)
Jazz composition is offered for graduate applicants who wish to pursue a Master of Music degree. Students who major in jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music are presented with several unique and special opportunities to develop their art. These include regularly scheduled composers’ reading sessions each semester for large and small ensembles; two Jazz Philharmonic reading sessions with full studio orchestra (symphony orchestra & jazz big band; sessions are recorded for faculty review and study); student commissions with performance and monetary awards, performance of compositions at Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts, quarterly jazz composers’ concerts for chamber and jazz orchestra ensembles; and open access to two computer-based electronic music studios.
Classes are offered in studio synthesis techniques, composing and arranging for MIDI synthesizer, arranging for jazz composers, advanced studio recording, film scoring classes, songwriting classes.
Jazz Voice (Masters Degree)
Jazz voice is offered for graduate applicants who wish to pursue a Master of Music degree. The jazz voice program at Manhattan School of Music is designed to prepare each vocalist to be an exceptional performer who is able to function in today’s business of music. The program is spearheaded by our internationally renowned faculty Theo Bleckmann and Kate McGarry. Here are some of the highlights of the program:
- Vocalists are part of our unique performance track, combining vocalists and instrumentalists
- Small combo setting allows for individual attention
- Improvisation classes mix voice, composition, and instrumental students in an ensemble setting
- There are performance opportunities with big bands, as well as Jazz Philharmonic orchestra (symphony orchestra with jazz instrumentalists)
Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program
The program of study leading to the Manhattan School of Music doctor of musical arts degree is offered with a major in Jazz Arts Advancement.
As jazz music continues to work its way into the mainstream of the American education system, new and innovative methods need to be formulated to assure the perpetuation and development of this important art form. The Manhattan School of Music philosophy is that this is best done at the actual point where knowledge is transferred, at the level of the educator.
Having created a program that attracts top musical talent, Manhattan School of Music trains Doctor of Musical Arts candidates through an integrated and innovative educational format that focuses on three distinct and critical areas of jazz music: performance, composition and pedagogy. This three-fold educational concept enables a student to develop as “The Complete Artist Musician” — one who excels equally as a performer, composer, arranger, teacher, conductor of workshops and clinics, and lecturer. This distinctive concept in music education is the central philosophy of the Manhattan School of Music Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program.
Additional info available here: Doctoral Jazz Arts Advancement Program
Notable MSM Jazz Arts Alumni
Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
Fabian Almazan, piano
Patrick Bartley, saxophone
Donald Byrd, trumpet
Ron Carter, double bass
Harry Connick Jr., voice
Kate Davis, double bass; voice
Justin DiCioccio, drums; former Associate Dean and Chair
Sullivan Fortner, piano
Herbie Hancock, piano
Hugh Masekela, trumpet
Jane Monheit, voice
Jason Moran, piano
Adam O’Farrill, trumpet
Linda Oh, bass
Aaron Parks, piano
Chris Potter, saxophone
Max Roach, drums
Christian Sands, piano
Joe Saylor, drums
Kimberly Thompson, drums
Joe Wilder, trumpet
Bernie Williams, guitar
Phil Woods, saxophone
Miguel Zenon, saxophone
MSM Master Classes with Guest Artists
In addition to studies with our expert faculty, students are provided opportunities to observe, play for, and receive feedback from world-renowned guest artists!
SLIDESHOW: Photos from a Master Class with Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard
Recent Master Classes at MSM
- Terence Blanchard (HonDMA ’17, MSM Board of Trustees — trumpet)
- Gary Burton (vibraphone)
- Wycliffe Gordon (trombone)
- Stefon Harris (BM ’97, MM ’99 — vibraphone)
- Vijay Iyer (piano)
- Lee Konitz (saxophone)
- Dave Liebman (Artist-in-Residence — saxophone)
- Jason Moran (BM ’97 — piano)
- Butch Morris (Conduction Workshop)
- Christian McBride (bass)
- Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone)
- Jon Faddis (trumpet)
- Maria Schneider (composition)
Success StoriesSee All
AlumniMSM alumnus Ambrose Akinmusire is featured on the cover of DownBeat
AlumniResearch project by MSM Jazz Arts alumnus Jake Hertzog and his academic partner is awarded a $45,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts
AlumniMSM alumnus, trustee, and former Yankees star Bernie Williams to perform with the New York Philharmonic
Jazz Arts Program Administration
Dean of Jazz Arts
JAN 2018 | Watch our teaser for the MSM Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra playing music from Clifford Brown with Strings and the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet