Special Concentration in Jazz Studies
The special concentration in jazz studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts course of study that uses jazz music—and the jazz culture from which the music emanated—as a prism through which to study music in society. This curriculum guides students in developing a firm grounding in the diverse traditions and aesthetics of jazz music, in dialogue with multiple perspectives and methodologies, including those drawn from historical musicology, ethnomusicology, literary theory, cultural studies, and the social sciences.
Along with problems of musical history, form, and definition, the special concentration explores jazz as a culture. Students study individual jazz artists, as well as the immeasurably variegated worlds through which those artists moved, and which they helped to shape. As cultural historians-in-training, students will engage jazz in dialogue with contemporary issues of nationality, race, sexuality, gender, economics, politics, and the dynamics of interpretation, production and consumption.
Students also explore the development of jazz-connected works of art in literature, dance, painting, photography, film, and interactive media. The special concentration explores jazz histories in the United States, the birthplace of jazz, as well as in globalized perspective, including complex, ongoing interactions with Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Requirements For a Special Concentration in Jazz Studies
The Special Concentration in Jazz Studies is open both to music majors and those majoring or concentrating in any other field. This is a rigorous interdisciplinary concentration, and in addition to the requirements of the special concentration, students must complete a major or a full concentration. At Columbia, a Special Concentration constitutes the rough equivalent of a minor at other institutions.
Students interested in this special concentration should speak with the Center’s director no later than the fall semester of their sophomore year. Students interested in declaring a special concentration in Jazz Studies will be assigned an advisor. The program of study is to be planned with the advisor as early as possible.
Courses of Study
* A total of seven courses (21 points minimum) are required:
Requirements for all
* V2016, Jazz History (survey course)
* W4612, Jazz and American Culture
* Senior Independent Study Project
Requirements for students not majoring
in Music, or with little or no previous musical
* Three courses drawn from various disciplines, as approved by the Jazz Studies advisor; for example, courses given by Louis Armstrong Visiting Professors and/or other appropriate courses
* V1002, Fundamentals of Western Music (for those with sufficient music skills, another class may be substituted with the approval of the Jazz Studies advisor)
Requirements for Music majors or
* Jazz Composition and Arranging
* Jazz Transcription and Analysis
* Two courses drawn from various disciplines, as approved by the Jazz Studies advisor; for example, courses given by Louis Armstrong Visiting Professors and/or other appropriate courses
Recommended for all
* V1618/V1619, Jazz Ensemble
* Private Lessons
Go to the Columbia Directory of Classes.
For further information, please contact
George E. Lewis
Director, The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
615 Dodge Hall
T 212-851-1633, 212-854-5837