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Academics

Curriculum

  • 011306_Student_Life_046

    Instrumental Proficiency

    Before beginning the Jazz BFA, each student is issued a booklet that describes the minimum skills that must be developed on his or her instrument to demonstrate basic instrumental proficiency. Upon entry, all students are evaluated based on these guidelines. Students placing “in proficiency” (IP) are required to take private lessons with an assigned teacher deemed appropriate to the individual’s needs. Proficiency requirements and instrumental faculty are subject to change. Meeting proficiency standards is a graduation requirement.

    Core Studio Curriculum

    Before the start of their first semester, students are also evaluated by selected faculty members in theory, ear training, rhythmic analysis, piano (for non-piano majors), sight-reading, theory and performance, and arranging. The test results are used to determine placement in required core studio courses. The tests also enable the faculty and administration to develop an overall evaluation of each student. Once students are placed in appropriate courses, they must complete the curriculum requirements in order to graduate. Requirements are as follows:

    • New Student Seminar
    • New Student Technology Seminar
    • Theory 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B
    • Ear Training 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B
    • Sight-Reading 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B (first year only for bass, piano, & brass)
    • Theory and Performance 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B (first year only for drummers; not required of vocalists)
    • Rhythmic Analysis 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B (2B is optional for vocalists)
    • Piano 1A & 1B
    • Arranging Fundamentals
    • Two courses related to career and music business (total of at least 3 credits)
    • Percussion Ensemble and Hand Percussion for Drummers (drummers only); Guitar Duos (guitarists only)
    • Private lessons (every semester to a maximum of 8 semesters)
    • Improvisation Ensemble (every semester; not required of vocalists)

    Additional Requirements for Vocalists:

    • Basic Arranging for Vocalists
    • Vocal Musicianship 1 & 2
    • Vocal Improvisation 1 & 2
    • Sight-Singing 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B
    • Vocal Performance 1, 2 & 3 (in place of Improvisation Ensemble)
    • Story, Song, and Stage
    • Vocal Blues Ensemble

    Liberal Arts

    All BFA students must take 15 credits in liberal arts (five 3-credit courses), of which at least two must be English composition or literature courses, two must be drawn from The New School’s University Lecture (ULEC) curriculum, and the remaining  course must be a liberal arts elective. Jazz students are expected to fulfill their liberal arts requirements by selected courses from The Eugene Lang College and The New School for Public Engagement’s liberal arts curriculum. Courses taken at other institutions will be treated as transfer credits. The remaining 2 credits must be a required Senior Seminar course at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Liberal arts courses are defined as academic courses as opposed to “applied” or professional training.

    Music History

    All students must take five music history courses:

    • History of Jazz
    • Understanding Jazz in its Social Contexts
    • Classical Music History
    • Progressive Currents in 20th Century Music
    • World Music History

    Sophomore Repertoire Jury

    The sophomore jury is generally held at the end of the student’s second year, or for transfer students, at the end of the student’s first year. It is meant to evaluate each student’s competence as a jazz performer, check on his or her overall progress toward graduation, and help assess his or her direction and development.

    Jury Guidelines: The student prepares ten (20 for vocalists) tunes of contrasting styles from a standard repertoire list. The jury committee selects three of the tunes, and the student performs them with a professional rhythm section. Each jury session lasts 20 minutes. The committee consists of three faculty members.
    All songs must be memorized, but students must bring charts already transposed for accompanying musicians. Students are evaluated on the basis of their punctuality, presentation of material, instrumental or vocal command and improvisational skill, rhythmic sophistication, band leadership, and communication with both the band and the audience.

    Completing the sophomore repertoire jury is a graduation requirement.

    Senior Seminar and Senior Recital

    The Senior Seminar is a cohort based capstone for graduating seniors that prompts students to think reflectively about their purpose, practice, and engagement as an artist in society. This course aims to foster dialogue and collaboration within the graduating class cohort, support seniors in developing presentations of their work through portfolios and recitals, and forge meaningful connections to professional engagement beyond their undergraduate study.

    The Senior Recital should reflect the student’s growth, both technically and artistically, as a musician. The recital is a formal performance, to take place in the school’s performance space.

    The senior recital must be completed and meet programmatic guidelines before the student can graduate.

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