Contemporary Jazz Studies

Bachelor of Arts

Contemporary Jazz Studies

Bachelor of Arts

Contemporary Jazz Studies students at Lincoln College compose, perform and record their own original works. Hear two original compositions by students Sean Sheldon and Christian Lloyd.




A Bachelor of Arts degree in Contemporary Jazz Studies offers foundational coursework designed to help students perform and manage careers as contemporary jazz practitioners. Students will cultivate musicianship and music literacy while developing a repertoire of contemporary and historical improvised and written music for live performance. Contemporary jazz studies students are required to study contemporary and creative perspectives of jazz in contexts that are visible, engaging, and socially relevant. The program equips students with fundamental jazz improvisation skills and historical and cultural knowledge of music composition, style, and performance. Students collaborate with complementary disciplines, including music technology, dance, and improvisation performance varieties to prepare students for successful 21st century music careers.








Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate strong individual distinctiveness as jazz improvisers both solo and in a variety of performance settings.
  • Perform, with technical skill, complex and diverse jazz composition.
  • Effectively speak and write about jazz and other related music fields.
  • Apply professional leadership in various performance settings.
  • Analyze historical and contemporary jazz compositions from a theoretical perspective.
  • Create an original repertoire of jazz compositions by synthesizing marketplace trends and the performer’s voice. 

Why Study This Program?

The Contemporary Jazz Studies Program helps students transform into quality artists, developing scholars, informed historians, and respectful citizens throughout the community. We are active participants in festivals/assessment, which helps other schools (2 and 4-year) recognize our strengths as a program, and our place in Illinois music education.

Experience & Opportunities

  • Music internship opportunities in Chicago and surrounding areas.
  • Numerous performances year-round on and off-campus.
  • Artist-in-residence program inviting professional artist and creative people to join our students in off-campus experiences.
  • Experienced working musicians providing private lesson instruction.
  • Develop custom websites to profile your biography, performances, and original music.
  • Community teaching and outreach opportunities.
  • Preparation for graduate-level study.


In addition to preparation for graduate study of jazz, students can prepare for careers as a/n:

  • Composer/Arranger
  • Professional Musician
  • Performing Arts Administrator
  • Music Professor
  • Private Lesson Teacher
  • Music Critic
  • Conductor
  • Music Business
  • Sound and Recording Engineer
  • Music Tour Manager

Required Coursework

MUS 141 - Music Theory I
MUS 142 - Music Theory II
MUS 241 - Music Theory III
MUS 242 - Music Theory IV
MUS 319 - Jazz History I
MUS 419 - Jazz History II
MUS 360 - Songwriting Seminar
MUS 330 - Commercial Music Lab
MUS 341 - Jazz Arranging I
MUS 441 - Jazz Arranging II
MUS 342 - Jazz Theory I
MUS 442 - Jazz Theory II
MUS 361 - Jazz Instrumental Techniques I
MUS 461 - Jazz Instrumental Techniques II
MUS 411 - Recording Studio Production

Private Lessons
Jazz Ensemble
Jazz Combo 151, 152, 251, 252
Aural Skills I, II, III
Jazz Lab I, II, III, IV
Junior Recital
Senior Recital
Semester Juries


“What an amazing group of musicians. It was a true joy to be able to play with them. Everyone should hear this group play. They can swing!”

Program Contact

Dr. Denise La Grassa
Jazz Studies Lead Faculty
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-800-569-0556