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A-State Jazz Studies is an exciting and energetic program that includes two jazz big bands, a variable number of jazz combos, and courses in jazz history, jazz theory, and improvisation. A-State Jazz ensembles have traveled across the country to events such as the 2019 Greeley Jazz Festival in Greeley, Colorado, however residents of Jonesboro have ample opportunity to hear the members of the A-State Jazz program as it is widely visible throughout the community. The A-State Jazz Ensembles perform several concerts a semester while members of the A-State Jazz program frequently perform in small combos throughout the Jonesboro community. High School students may enjoy participating in the annual Delta Jazz Workshop each summer and for students interested in pursuing Jazz further, A-State offers a BM with a concentration in Jazz Studies as well as a minor in Jazz Studies.


  • Jazz Studies Faculty
  • Degrees in Jazz Studies

    Students interested in degrees in Jazz Studies at Arkansas State University will explore an intensive curriculum of jazz improvisation techniques, styles, analysis, and transcription as well as jazz arranging and pedagogy. This path is ideal for students wishing to perform, compose, or teach jazz or who are seeking further education in graduate studies in jazz.

    Undergraduate

    Minor in Music (Jazz Studies): Students may choose to add a minor of music with emphasis in jazz studies to prepare for additional employment opportunities in teaching, performance, and composition. A multitude of jazz music courses, ensembles, and individual lessons can be used to satisfy the music minor. For future teachers (BME), this minor represents your added qualifications to lead jazz ensembles at any level.  Performance (BM) students may choose to add this minor to prepare for additional employment opportunities in performance such as commercial music, Broadway show scores, and jazz in graduate school and beyond.  Composition (BM) students add this minor to increase their versatility and pursue an interest in jazz arranging or composition.  This training could be a step toward film scoring and other commercial music applications.

  • Jazz Ensembles

    All A-State jazz ensembles are open to all A-State university students.  Auditions take place during the first days of classes and will ask interested students to perform a prepared piece, sight-reading, and improvisation (not required).  For information about jazz ensemble auditions please contact Mr. Michael Medrick.

    • Jazz Orchestra
      • The A-State Jazz Orchestra is the premier jazz ensemble at Arkansas State University.  It uses a traditional big band instrumentation (saxophone, trumpets, trombones, rhythm section) and features the finest music major jazz musicians on campus.  While the ensemble occasionally visits the great standards of the jazz repertoire, the Jazz Orchestra is primarily heard playing the newest trends of the medium.  The group performs two on-campus concerts each semester and occasionally will travel for an outreach event or jazz competition.  Michael Medrick directs the group which meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00-2:50 pm during both the fall and spring semesters.
    • Jazz Lab Band
      • The A-State Lab Band is comprised of woodwind, brass, and rhythm section players including music majors and non-music majors from across the university.  The band plays a mix of standard charts from across the history of the medium and contemporary repertoire, including tunes arranged by current and former A-State Jazz Studies faculty.  While the group is built around a traditional big band instrumentation, non-traditional big band instrumentalists are welcome.  The group performs two concerts each semester and occasionally will travel for an outreach event.  Michael Medrick directs the group which meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00-1:50 pm during both the fall and spring semesters.
    • Small Combos
      • A-State houses multiple small group jazz combos that music majors and non-music majors participate in.  Combos perform a mix of traditional tunes, Latin jazz, as well as student arrangements and compositions.  Combo musicians have the opportunity to work on and hone their improvisation skills in an encouraging and safe environment.  All skill levels of improvisers are welcome.  These groups perform on at least one on-campus concert each semester and occasionally will travel for outreach events.  Michael Medrick coaches these groups which meet Tuesday nights at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm during both the fall and spring semesters. 
      • Spring 2023 will welcome a jazz combo described as a "Neo-Brass" in the New Orleans tradition of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  This group will perform concert style or "struttin" down the street.
  • Jazz Courses

    The A-State Jazz Studies program offers a comprehensive jazz education to our students.  Below is a list of the courses offered.

    • Applied Jazz (MUS 1111, 1112, 1113, 3111, 3112, 3113)
    • Improvisation I, II, III (MUS 1702, 2702, 4702)
    • Introduction to Jazz Studies (MUS 1711)
    • Jazz Piano I and II (MUS 2721, 2731)
    • History of Jazz (MUS 4322)
    • Jazz Theory (MUS 3703)
    • Jazz Arranging I, II (MUS 4713, 4723)
    • Jazz Styles and Analysis (MUS 4733)
    • Methods and Materials for Teaching Jazz Band (MUS 4202)
    • Delta Jazz Workshop

      JULY 6-9, 2022
      Fine Arts Center
      Arkansas State University


      The A-State Delta Jazz Workshop is an intensive Wednesday through Saturday experience in jazz for students interested in improving their ability to play in jazz ensembles and to improvise solos.  Workshop hours this year will be 9:00 am-9:00 pm weekdays, and 10:00 am-4:00 pm Saturday. DJW is open to any music student entering grades 8 through 12 in Fall 2022 as well as to recent high school graduates.

      Each student will have many opportunities for participation in daily classes, ensembles, and small combos.  Evening activities will include concerts by guest artists, followed by a jam session with other campers and college students.

      Cost of attendance is $240, with no overnight stays.  Included in the tuition are seven meals, including lunch and dinner Wednesday-Friday, and lunch on Saturday. A $50 non-refundable deposit is due by June 15th, and the full payment is due by July 5th.

      Faculty
      Michael Medrick, Director (A-State Interim Director of Jazz Studies)
      Mary Medrick (A-State Adjunct Faculty in Jazz Studies)

      Interns and Volunteers
      A-State Jazz Studies students

      Please email Mary Medrick with any questions.

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