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Mature artistically and professionally

In its 30-year history, UNC’s jazz studies program has won more than 100 Downbeat Magazine student awards, plus a Grammy nomination. Few other Master of Music programs offer you comparable opportunities to develop as a jazz performer, composer and teacher. You’ll belong to a rich musical community that includes leaders in the world of jazz, while maturing as an artist and a professional.

UNC offers exceptional opportunities for you to perform, record and get noticed. Our award-winning ensembles have performed all over the world, including frequent high-profile appearances at national and international conferences such as Jazz Education Network and the International Association for Jazz Education. You’ll work with internationally respected faculty who excel as performers and educators, getting amazing preparation for a career in professional music—or continued study in a doctoral program.

Degree Option

M.M. in Jazz Studies

The Master of Music degree with emphasis in Jazz Studies covers a well-rounded set of professional skills. You’ll work on performance, teaching, composing, arranging, and improvisation. The jazz studies program also provides opportunities for scholarship, research, and teaching. You’ll graduate with a highly respected master’s degree and be extremely well prepared for doctoral studies.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

M.M. Program Details

Your Future in Jazz Studies

Graduates of our Jazz Studies master’s program have an excellent track record of career success.

Consider UNC’s Jazz Studies M.M. if you want to:

  • Gain admission to a doctoral program
  • Teach in a community college or offer private instruction
  • Advance your career as a professional musician
  • Broaden and deepen your skills as a performer, composer and arranger

You’ll learn:

  • Research and scholarship
  • Improvisation
  • Advanced individual and ensemble performance
  • Teaching group and individual lessons

Sample courses:

  • Jazz Pedagogy
  • Seminar in Jazz Composition
  • Advanced Arranging
  • Introduction to Musical Scholarship



Kelsey Shiba

Associate Director of Jazz Studies

Kelsey Shiba is best known as one of Colorado’s most prolific young jazz artists. But her reputation, while richly deserved, only describes a narrow part of her talent. 

The pianist / vocalist has also fronted a Doobie Brothers tribute band, Black Water. She’s performed with Quemando, one of Colorado’s best popular salsa bands. Her resume includes stints with the Diamond Empire Band, regarded as the most original (and highly sought) wedding band in the state. Shiba also belongs to the house band for country singer Joey Canyon’s cable TV show. 

Jazz remains her passion, however. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNC’s School of Music, Shiba returned to Greeley to teach in the jazz studies program. She now serves as executive producer of the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival, which for nearly half a century has brought together the nation’s finest artists, teachers, writers, and music students. More than 8,000 people attend this annual festival, which is the largest event of its kind in the nation. 

The 2016 fesstival included headline performances by the New York Voices, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and Ellis Marsalis Trio, as well as the B-3 organ master Joey DeFrancesco. 


Beyond the Classroom

UNC’s jazz ensembles are diverse, dynamic, and renowned. You’ll perform alongside more than 75 extremely talented young jazz artists and have opportunities to connect with top bandleaders, agents and record producers. With five big bands, vocal ensembles, small combos and a jazz guitar ensemble, we showcase a wide range of talents and styles. Our students have performed throughout the United States and overseas.

Where can your degree take you?

Doctoral program in jazz studies

Doctoral program in jazz studies

Professional music career

Professional music career

College teaching

College teaching

Private instruction

Private instruction

Ready for what's next? Here's what you need to know.

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Still not completely sold? We understand. Here's more information on costs and funding and how to apply.

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