MUA 167/367/567: Jazz Standards Combo

Professor Tom Wolfe
1 credit hour


Audition required.

Course Description

The Jazz Standards Combo is a performance group for the advanced jazz improviser. This group explores the repertoire for the small group or”combo,” with emphasis being placed on the portion of the jazz repertoire known as the “Jazz Standards” and other more difficult repertoire. This ensemble maintains a demanding performance schedule and it is expected of all members to perform at each concert and run-out as assigned.

Course Goals & Objectives

To increase the student’s skills in sight reading, improvising, theory, ensemble playing, stylistic concepts, etc. All combo assignments are made based on the students level of proficiency, specifically the ability to improvise. The Jazz Standards Combo is an outgrowth of this group and is also responsible for performing “What Is Jazz?” for the local elementary schools.

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


Once combo assignments are made, the rehearsal schedule will be set. Each combo will rehearse one hour twice a week. All tunes will be memorized for rehearsal and performance. It is strongly recommended that soloists utilize the Improvisation Lab for additional work on their respective solos.

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. The student’s final grade will be drawn from grades received for each component of the course:

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 Tom Wolfe.

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.

I reserve the right to change personnel if the musicians are not meeting the expectations of the ensemble.


Be advised that the Jazz Combo’s will go on some run-outs and/or perform for Convocation during the academic year. I will notify you immediately as these are scheduled. “What Is Jazz?” dates will be posted as soon as they become available.