A comparison of jazz studies curricula in master's programs in the United States
The purpose of this study was to compare and review curricular offerings in selected institutions in the United States that presently are identified as offering (a) formal degree(s) in jazz studies to music majors at the master's degree level.This writer has identified: common areas of study, similarities in jazz studies departmental core requirements, and school of music core requirements, ensemble participation required of students, ensembles available to students, and areas unique to a particular curricula. One hundred percent of the institutions surveyed were members of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The review of related literature includes general guidelines and principles as published by NASM pertaining to specific master's degrees in jazz studies.A secondary goal was to identify elements relating to the academic and professional background of the jazz studies directors, and the collective graduate jazz faculty as a unit.A third goal was to establish a composite sketch of the typical graduate jazz program and curriculum in the United States.Using the process of content analysis, various university catalogs and graduate handbooks were reviewed. Additionally, questionnaires completed by the directors of jazz studies programs from twenty-three universities were examined. The questionnaire asked respondents to identify their professional and academic background, in addition to estimating information regarding the academic and professional backgrounds of the collective graduate jazz faculty. Professional experience questions related to recording dates, concerts, touring, casual dates, and show experience. Academic background questions related to degrees held, when and where they were earned, continuing education practices, and publishing background. Respondents were asked to provide institutional demographics and philosophies in relation to existing curricula, and various institutional policies regarding the jazz studies department and the prioritization of course work and essential skills. Further, respondents were asked to give statistical information regarding the age of various programs within the curriculum, student population, library holdings, ensemble availability, performance and touring practices, type of literature performed, graduate assistants, administrative support, and guest artist budgets. Data were presented in combination narrative and outline form. Tables were utilized whenever appropriate.