Jazz Studies/Private Lessons

Amherst's Music Department provides many different outlets to explore jazz in an academic setting.  Each semester, the Music Department offers at least one jazz theory course as well as other less theoretical jazz and pop courses.  The Music Department also allows for students to collaborate with jazz professors and create their own "special topics" course.  These courses usually contain no more than three students and have dealt with a slew of jazz topics within the last few years.

Amherst students also have the opportunity to take private jazz-based music lessons for academic credit with a member of the Jazz@Amherst adjunct faculty.  Members of the Jazz Band and Jazz Combos can also receive academic credit for their participation.  Lessons are offered in jazz for drums, guitar, bass, piano, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and voice.

Music Department Courses

2014-2015, Fall

Jazz Theory and Improvisation I (Music 113) - a jazz "performance" course offered through the music department at Amherst. Taught by Bruce Diehl.  

Jazz History to 1945: Emergence, Early Development, and Innovation (Music 226) - One of two courses that trace the development of jazz from its emergence in early 20th-century New Orleans to its profound impact on American culture. Taught by Jason Robinson 

Jazz Form and Analysis (Music 243) - Students will look into melodic, harmonic and formal/structural analysis of compositions, arrangements, and improvisations from various historical and stylistic periods within the development of jazz through listening, transcription, and composition/writing projects. Taught by Jason Robinson. 


2014-2015, Spring

Advanced Topics in Jazz (Music 247) - explore jazz through transcription, composition, arranging and improvisation. Using members of the class as a laboratory band we will seek to develop our own unique compositional voices that draw on jazz traditions. Taught by Bruce Diehl


A great benefit of being part of the Five College system is that Amherst students may take courses at UMass Amherst. UMass has some excellent music courses and professors available as well. Click here to go to the UMass Music Dept. homepage .

For more information on other music courses at Amherst College, go to the Amherst College Music Department Homepage.