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MM in Jazz Studies and Arranging

The Master of Music Jazz Studies concentration initiated in fall 1999 offers a comprehensive experience in enhanced small jazz ensemble, solo performance, and arranging/composition, an opportunity to raise and refine the level of improvisation and instrumental/vocal performance skills, the potential for high-level, primary source research and writing only available in the New York area, and awareness of current pedagogical techniques in improvisation and arranging. A deeper level of study arises from added historical and theoretical background (in the Western European tradition as well as in jazz), primary source research and graduate-level writing opportunities uniquely available in jazz, current technological innovations as they relate to jazz, and application of these issues to pedagogical techniques in the college and public school classroom.

View required courses and course descriptions in the University Course Catalog
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Application Deadline

February 1
*Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed ONLY on a space availability basis.  

Admission Requirements

In addition to the University’s admission requirements:

  • A bachelor's in music or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university and official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended (cumulative grade-point average of 2.75 on a scale of 4.0)
  • Master of music applicants must be accepted by both the University and the Department of Music. Specific Department of Music requirements include:
  • Completed application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Audition via uploaded tracks


Fall semester

Jazz arranging track majors

  • A portfolio must contain a minimum of three scores with recording (CD or tape).
  • One selection must feature a large ensemble.
  • If possible, a cross-representation of styles, tempos, and instrumentation should be included.
  • In addition to jazz pieces, works in other styles may be submitted. Please exclude extended improvisation sections.
Contact Us

Professor Peter McGuinness
Arranging Area Coordinator

Professor David Demsey
Jazz Studies Program Coordinator

Professor Timothy Newman
Graduate Program Director, Department of Music

Program Features

Over 20 ensembles perform each semester-duos, trios, quintets, sextets, Big Band, Latin Band, Repertory Band, Vocal Workshop, Vocal Lab. Focus on improvisation, as well as repertoire, group performance techniques.

  • WP Jazz Faculty - Veteran New York musicians with international reputations as performers, recording artists, arrangers and conductors in residence-accessible and dedicated to teaching.

  • Small Jazz Program Size - Twenty graduate students are given many opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

  • Performance Opportunities - Jazz majors perform in four weekly ensemble rehearsals. Student groups are featured as opening for professional jazz artists on William Paterson's renowned Jazz Room Concert Series, on the University's Midday Recital Series, in the annual Willowbrook Jazz Festival, and in a number of area jazz clubs.

  • Dialogue Days - Small jazz group showcase performances followed by critiques from faculty and fellow students.

    All prospective applicants are invited to attend a day of classes at any convenient time. They can sit in on classes, and on some of our 24 small jazz groups, the 18-piece Jazz Orchestra or the Vocal Jazz Workshop. This is an opportunity to meet faculty and graduate students, and get a vivid picture of the high level of performance, and the great atmosphere at William Paterson.

  • Private Instrument/Vocal Study for all jazz majors with William Paterson's respected resident and adjunct faculty.

  • Challenging Full-Course Sequences in Improvisation, Ear Training, Jazz History and Analysis, Small Group and Big Band Arranging, Piano, Comprehensive Musicianship.