Masters Degree Jazz Courses

The Masters Degree in Jazz Performance is a comprehensive two-year program requiring 7 full courses and 2 recitals; 9 credits in total. Each student will develop his or her own repertoire portfolio, with guidance from the jazz faculty. While performance will be at the centre of the program, students will have the option to customize their program through the selection of other courses, including; arranging & composing, historical studies (with particular focus on Canadian music), pedagogy, and courses offering development in other musical genres. This is particularly relevant to jazz majors, as musicians in this field typically combine a variety of disciplines, including composing, arranging and teaching.

Below you’ll find a general course description for the Masters degree. For more information on graduate studies please refer to the FACULTY OF MUSIC website.


Credit / Code / Course Name
1.0 MUS4300Y Seminar In Jazz Literature (full year)

This course, taken in first year, provides an opportunity to research and discuss aspects of the jazz idiom through a wide range of topics. Extensive reading, repertoire and library research topics are included, as well as a possible appearance on the JazzFM show “Jazzology”. Techniques learned in this class will prepare students for MUS4615H.

Topics include:
- Jazz history
- Jazz in Canada
- Jazz criticism and biography
- Jazz composition and analysis
- Pedagogy
- Jazz repertoire
- Jazz performance practices

0.5 MUS4606H Special Topics in Performance Practice (half year)

This course provides an opportunity for intensive study in an area of primary interest. The student proposes and designs a 12-week project on a topic of their choice, agreed upon by a faculty advisor. The range of topics is broad and purposefully left unspecified; it is up to the student to come up with an idea that is relevant and interesting, however it must involve research and something must be produced documenting the results of your research e.g., a paper, audio-video production etc. If your project is deemed to be of broad enough interest, you may be invited to present a masterclass for the entire student body in the spring term.

Step 1: Draft a title and capsule description of your proposed topic.
Step 2: Submit your proposal to a full-time member of the graduate faculty. Once accepted, book a meeting to discuss the project.
Step 3: Following the initial meeting, draft a formal printed proposal.
Step 4: Meet with your faculty advisor at 3-week intervals to discuss your progress.
Step 5: Submit your completed project.

0.5 MUS4615H 20th Century Analysis and Performance Practice (half year)

This course is offered through the theory and composition department, traditionally during the spring term.

0.5 MUS4740H Small Jazz Ensemble (full year)

There are 16 small jazz ensembles (SJE). Three are designated as grad ensembles—that is where a graduate student will probably be placed—but there are situations where grads and undergrads mix in an ensemble. From the standpoint of credit, all small jazz ensembles are equal.

All ensembles rehearse for three hours a week, two with faculty adviser and a separate one-hour independent rehearsal. Four performances and one recording are mandatory requirements. Graduate students are expected to compose and arrange for the group.

Ensembles are put together during the week before classes start. You are encouraged to request an ensemble prior to the start of the school year. While we cannot guarantee all requests, we do attempt to take your preferences into account.

0.5 MUS4741H Large Jazz Ensemble (full year)

Graduate students are not required to play in a large jazz ensemble (Vocal Jazz or Jazz Orchestra). You may request to play in one of these ensembles, but priority will be given to undergraduate students.

1.0 MUS4445Y Applied Music I (Private Lessons-full year)
1.0 MUS4446Y Applied Music II (Private Lessons-full year)

Each term you will complete 12 private lessons. You may request a specific teacher through the performance office; requests are granted whenever possible. Your teacher can be from another genre or discipline. Clear your request with the teacher before contacting the performance office.

1.0 MUS6666Y Recital I
1.0 MUS8888Y Recital II

You will present a recital each year. Recital dates and venues are booked through the performance office. One recital may be replaced by a fully mastered recording project subject to approval from the department chair. At least 50% of the material presented should be original compositions by the candidate.

Suggested courses:

1.0 MUS4310Y Advanced Jazz Composition and Arranging I (Private Lessons-full year)

1.0 or .5 MUS4311Y Advanced Jazz Composition and Arranging II (Private Lessons-full or half year)

Choose from a list of composition/arranging teachers provided by the graduate department. 24 lessons per year are required. Content will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the level and experience of the student.

RST9999Y: This number may show up on your list of courses, however it is for administrative purposes only. It can be ignored.

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