UNC Jazz Studies

The UNC Jazz Studies program has earned numerous accolades throughout its 30 year history, including more than 100 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Student and faculty groups frequently perform on national and international stages, including tours of China, France and Romania in recent years. The program offers jazz degrees at the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels with challenging and rewarding experiences in studying and performing jazz.

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Jazz Studies

Classes in Jazz Studies may include:

  • Jazz Theory
  • Jazz Improvisation
  • Jazz Arranging
  • Vocal Jazz Ensembles
  • Jazz Combos
  • Jazz Big Bands
  • History of Jazz
  • Jazz Composition
  • Jazz Programming, Planning, and Development
  • Jazz Methods and Materials
  • Survey of the Music Business
  • Jazz Pedagogy
  • Rhythm Section Workshop
  • Class Jazz Piano
  • Music Technology
Career options for graduates of the Jazz Studies program include:
  • Performer
  • Music Educator
  • Art Administrator
  • Graduate School
Our alumni have careers in jazz all over the world:

Prospective Jazz Student? Request Information

Jazz Studies Office:
Frasier Hall, Room 58
(970) 351-2577

Kelsey Shiba, AssociateDirector
Email: jazzstudies@unco.edu

View Jazz Studies Faculty and Staff

Jazz Ensembles

The award-winning jazz ensembles at the University of Northern Colorado offer students performance opportunities in big bands, combos, vocal jazz groups, and Latin jazz. With over 30 years of history, UNC’s jazz ensembles have earned numerous accolades, including:

  • More than 100 Downbeat Student Music Awards. GRAMMY nomination for the album Hot IV by Vocal Jazz I.
  • Numerous performances at national and international conferences including The Jazz Education Network, the International Association for Jazz Education, and others.

More than 150 students participate in jazz ensembles. Although the groups are comprised primarily of music majors, they are open to all students by audition. Placement auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester.


Big Bands

UNC’s five big bands, known as “Lab Bands,” have a long history of being among the best college jazz ensembles in the country, and offer students exciting, challenging, and rewarding musical experiences.

Vocal Jazz

Vocal Jazz

Vocal Jazz at UNC has a long tradition of national and international acclaim, and UNC’s Vocal Jazz I was the first college vocal group to ever receive a Grammy nomination.

Jazz Combos

Jazz Combos

UNC’s eight small jazz ensembles (or combos) offer challenging and rewarding experiences in studying and performing jazz. Over the years, UNC’s jazz combos have performed throughout the country and have won many awards.

Guitar Ensemble

Guitar Ensemble

The UNC Jazz Guitar Ensemble is a specialized group dedicated to celebrating the instrument’s rich history in Jazz. This group presents the students with a special environment where they perform in a section of 5 to 8 guitarists, plus rhythm section.

Faculty & Staff

Dana Landry

Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Piano
Professor of Music

Steve Kovalcheck

Jazz Guitar
Assistant Professor of Music

Erik Applegate

Jazz Bass
Professor of Music

Jim White

Jazz Drums
Associate Professor of Music

Kelsey Shiba

Associate Director of Jazz Studies
UNC Jazz Press

David Caffey

Jazz Composition, Pedagogy
Professor of Music

Kerry Marsh

Vocal Jazz Director, Instructor of Music

Amy Murphy

Managing Producer UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival,
Vocal Jazz
Instructor of Music

Kenyon Brenner

Jazz Saxophone
Instructor of Music

Julia Dollison

Vocal Jazz
Instructor of Music

John Adler

Head, Brass and Percussion
Trumpet, Professor of Music

Andrew Dahlke

Professor of Music

Nat Wickham

Professor of Music

Socrates Garcia

Director of Music Technology

Rex Burchett

Publishing Manager, UNC Jazz Press