The Hartt School

Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division

Offering a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division was founded by American jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean. As one of the nation’s premier jazz programs, Hartt strives to develop aspiring and skilled jazz musicians.

Through the curriculum, there is historical analysis, perspective, narratives on improvisation, and dialogue concerning the expression of jazz music.  Using these practices along with tutelage and cultivation, students will realize their choices to create an individual style.

About Jazz Studies

Student ensemble perfoming

Hartt students perform both on and off campus and have opportunities to perform and interact with internationally recognized jazz musicians in our Visiting Artist Series.

Goals of  Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division

  • To examine and explore the history and origins of jazz music and the innovators who propelled the evolution of the art form.
  • To develop musicianship through jazz theory, ear training, keyboard skills, ensemble playing, composing, improvisation arranging, and in public performance.
  • To obtain an understanding of elements and structure of music and how they are used in the creation of a jazz performance.
  • To gain insight on the business of music as a jazz musician.
  • To focus on professionalism that encompasses punctuality, attention to detail, respect for other art forms and its artists, and a consistent daily work ethic.

Degree Requirements

The jazz curriculum is structured to provide you with essential knowledge and skills for a career in jazz performance and also to gain a thorough understanding of the origins and development of jazz.

At Hartt, you will interact with internationally recognized jazz musicians to build your  professional network and artistry through weekly private instruction, core courses, performance, and master classes.

Learn more about the undergraduate or graduate curriculum.

Admission and Audition Requirements

An audition is required for admission to the jazz studies program. In order to schedule an audition, the University of Hartford application as well as the Hartt supplemental application must be completed. Learn more about the undergraduate or graduate application process.

The Hartt School conducts live auditions and interviews for applicants on campus as well as in select cities around the United States. Applicants who reside more than 300 miles away from campus are eligible to submit a recorded audition.

See below for audition details and examples for instrumentalists and vocalists. Bring sheet music for audition selections (4 copies of melody in concert key). All jazz auditions are heard with a live rhythm section.

Melodic Instruments

  • 12 bar blues (medium tempo) i.e. “Now’s the Time”, “Billie’s Bounce”
  • Broadway/ Jazz Standard (medium to bright tempo) i.e. “There Will Never Be Another You”, “I’ll Remember April”, “Stablemates”, “Nica’s Dream”
  • Ballad (slow) i.e. "In a Sentimental Mood", "Body & Soul"

Jazz Percussion

  • 12 bar blues (medium tempo) i.e. “Now’s the Time”, Billie’s Bounce” (play an unaccompanied drum solo after the melody and solos.)
  • Broadway/ Jazz Standard (medium to bright tempo) i.e. “There Will Never Be Another You”, “I’ll Remember April”, “Stablemates”, “Nica’s Dream” (play an unaccompanied drum solo after the melody and solos.)
  • Ballad (slow with brushes) i.e. "In a Sentimental Mood", "Body & Soul"

Jazz Vocal

  • Broadway Standard/ Jazz Standard (medium swing) i.e. “I’m Beginning to See the Light, “Just Friends”, “Twisted”, “Song for My Father”
  • One Latin/Bossa Nova (medium tempo) i.e. “The Girl from Ipanema”, “Wave”
  • One Ballad (slow) i.e. "The Nearness of You", "My Funny Valentine"

Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division Faculty & Staff

Javon Jackson
Professor of Jazz Saxophone; Director, Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division
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Abraham Burton
Senior Artist Teacher of Jazz Saxophone
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Christopher Casey
Senior Artist Teacher, Director of Big Band
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Zaccai Curtis
Artist Teacher
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Steve Davis
Associate in Music - Jazz Trombone
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Matt DeChamplain
Artist Teacher
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Rick Germanson
Senior Artist Teacher of Piano
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Richard Goldstein
Senior Artist Teacher of Jazz Guitar
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Rene McLean
Principal Artist Teacher in Jazz Saxophone
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Eric McPherson
Senior Artist Teacher in Jazz Percussion
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Shawnn Monteiro
Senior Artist Teacher of Jazz Voice
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Nat Reeves
Associate in Music—Jazz Double Bass
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Peter Woodard
Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy
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David Smith
Artist Teacher
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Michael Thomas
Artist Teacher
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Jason Tiemann
Senior Artist Teacher
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Sarah Hanahan

Jazz Studies, 2019

Originally from Marlborough, MA, jazz saxophonist Sarah Hanahan has made a name for herself in the Hartford jazz scene and beyond.  She regularly performs with her quintet, the Sarah Hanahan Quintet, and participated in the Ravinia Steans Music Institute Jazz Program this past summer, which was awarded to just 15 jazz fellows from around the country. Sarah was one of five collegiate musicians selected for the 2019 Jazz Education Network’s (JEN) Sisters in Jazz Collegiate Combo which performed at JEN’s national conference.  Learn more about Sarah.

The Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division creates an in-depth learning environment where students thoroughly study the tradition, lineage and history of jazz. The professors adapt to each student's individual style of learning and prepare them for a life and career full of music. This is an ideal place to find your own voice and unique sound.