Develop the musical self-confidence and proficiency needed to become a working musician
in the jazz and commercial music industry as a live or studio performer or as a professional
composer or arranger.
Our goal is not just to help you master your primary instrument, but also to help
you use new and improved skills to hear and bring out the music inside you. We help
you become solid in the fundamental skills of ear training, keyboard technique, music
theory and arranging.
In addition to our world-class faculty, our state-of-the-art facilities and performance
venues give students all the experience they need to enter the world of professional
music with the confidence of a seasoned musician.
We offer three degree programs in jazz studies: Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in performance or composition and Doctoral minor.
(Jazz degree details here)
Our graduates find work in commercial music as live and studio performers and as professional
composers and arrangers.
Every year great jazz musicians come to USC to perform and work with the students.
Past artists include luminaries like Louie Bellson, Steve Houghton, Marian McPartland,
Bob Shephard, Steve Kujala, Bill Watrous, Marvin Stamm, Bill Holman, Jim McNeely,
Randy Brecker, John Fedchock, Dick Oates, Dave Zoller, Ed Soph, Marcus Roberts Trio,
The US Army Blues Band, Mark O'Connor and Hot Swing, The Andy LaVerne Trio, Benny
Green and Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Patty Austin, Al Jarreau, The Mike Stern Trio
and The Jeremy Kittel Band.
Auditions are required for students wanting to be jazz majors and students looking for scholarship
money in the jazz studies program.
Bert Ligon is director of jazz studies. He toured with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra
and has performed with Chris Potter, Red Rodney, Randy Brecker, Marion McPartland,
Mel Torme, Dianne Schuur and others. He has published three books and several original
compositions and arrangements.
Bryson Borgstedt is instructor of jazz studies and directs the Left Bank Big Band.
Performing for more than 45 years and teaching for over 40, Borgstedt has performed
with many accomplished musicians, including Natalie Cole, The Manhattan Transfer and
Aretha Franklin, among others.
Craig Butterfield is professor of double bass and jazz studies and directs one of
the largest double bass programs in the Southeast. Butterfield has performed extensively
as a jazz artist as well as a classical soloist and clinician. He has toured with
jazz trumpet player Maynard Ferguson.
Jay Ware is an award-winning performing artist and educator whose consummate versatility
has garnered the praise of musical giants such as David Baker and Eric Ewazen. His
performing/recording credits include: Grammy Award winner Dee Stewart, Pulitzer-Prize
winner Gunther Schuller, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Mary Wilson and The Supremes,
Emmy winner and Jazz legend David Baker, Grammy Award nominee Donny McCaslin, Grammy
Award nominees Jack Wilkins and Chuck Owen, and many others.
Visit the USC Jazz Studies page on the intranet.