The Jazz Studies program focuses on creating dynamic, innovative 21st century music
professionals who can improvise, compose, produce, arrange, engineer and succeed as
independent artists in a rapidly shifting environment.
Jazz education is global and builds success in whatever musical endeavors you choose
to pursue, in any genre. Our world-class faculty offers real, unique educational experiences
via undergraduate and graduate degree programs, diverse ensembles, and professional
We offer three degree programs in jazz studies: Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in performance or composition and Doctoral minor.
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.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, our students had the opportunity to work with: Quentin
E. Baxter, Mimi Jones, Justin Faulkner, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jeff Coffin, Arcoris Sandoval,
Summer Camargo, Tal Cohen, Lauren Sevian, Michael Feinberg, Tonina Saputo, Ryan Middagh
and Jason Kush.
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.
Craig Butterfield is Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies. Butterfield has performed
around the world as a jazz artist as well as classical musician and clinician, including
touring and recording with the legendary Maynard Ferguson. Dr. Butterfield has recorded
eight albums as leader or co-leader on the Summit and Centaur record labels.
Drummer, composer, educator and bandleader, Dr. Colleen Clark is the first drummer
and woman to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Performance at the world-renowned
University of North Texas, the oldest jazz institution in America.
Lauren Meccia is director of jazz bands at the University of South Carolina and UofSC
Aiken and instructor of saxophone at USC Aiken. She is the founder and director of
the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band for senior adults in Aiken,
SC and assistant director of the Congaree New Horizons Band in Columbia, SC.
Trumpeter, Composer, Educator, and technologist Dr. Matthew White is a curious musician,
often blurring the lines between musical styles and conventions. Before entering academia,
he was a freelance and session musician in Nashville and Miami.
Michael Wilkinson is a versatile music educator and musician who doubles on tenor
and bass trombone (as well as alto, contrabass and euphonium) and taught middle school
band in Arizona in his “past life.” Equally at home in varied musical styles, he has
played with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Brass Band of Central Florida,
as well as being a member of the newly-formed South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.
Michael released his first solo CD, “Wait for Me!” on Random Act Records in 2017,
and is an S.E. Shires Trombone Artist.
Bert Ligon was director of jazz studies. Ligon has published several jazz books, and
published several original compositions and arrangements for big band, jazz orchestra
and steel drum ensembles.
Adam Knight is a dynamic, soulful, and versatile guitarist. He’s also an accomplished
composer, writing for jazz, rock, funk and fusion, in formats such as small combos,
guitar ensembles and big band orchestras. Adam joined the School of Music faculty