MUA 159/359/559: Jazz Ensemble

Prof. Christopher Kozak
1 credit hour


Audition required.

Course Description

The Jazz Ensemble is a performance group that explores the entire repertoire for the big band, including (but not limited to) dance band, swing, and contemporary and current charts. This ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule and it is expected of all members to perform at each concert and run-out.

Course Goals & Objectives

To give the student access to an ensemble directed in a professional environment. To increase the student’s skills in sight reading, improvising, theory, ensemble playing, stylistic concepts, etc. This is also an outlet for new charts by students with an emphasis on performance of the charts that meet the qualitative criteria.

Required Materials

The following is expected of ALL members of the ensemble:

  • All doubles/accessories are required and expected of all musicians.
  • Mutes: harmon, straight, cup
  • Flugel horns
  • Soprano sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet doubles
  • Electric bass
  • Pencils


The ensemble will rehearse Monday through Thursday. As time permits, Wednesday will be used to rehearse with the soloists in the band. It is strongly recommended that soloists utilize the Improvisation Lab for additional work on their respective solos. All band members are welcome to use the lab.

Policies & Procedures

Grading System

Grading will be based on the student’s preparation, musicality, attitude, attendance, and overall ability to work within the structure of the ensemble.

95%-100% = A
90%-94% = A-
86%-89% = B+
82%-85% = B
79%-81% = B-
75%-78% = C+
71%-74% = C
68%-70% = C-
64%-67% = D+
60%-63% = D
57%-59% = D-
0%-56% = F

Attendance Policy

Attendance of all classes and performances is expected. Two absences from class will result in lowering the final grade by one letter. Extended absences will result in dismissal from the ensemble. Any extenuating circumstances must be immediately discussed with Chris Kozak.

The overall policy of the course is to be prepared for all rehearsals. The rehearsals are for ensemble work, not individualized practice. Always take your music with you for personal practice! It is also expected that the section leaders will call sectionals for rehearsal of section material (preferably, once a week). Notify Tom Wolfe in advance if the section leader would like to have him present for the sectional. Rehearsals will always start on time.


Jazz Standards Combo (an off-shoot of the Jazz Ensemble) performances are not listed below. A schedule can be found at the Jazz Standards Combo section.

Please note: The Jazz Ensemble will go on some run-outs and a tour during the academic year. I will notify you immediately as these are scheduled.