Document Type

Capstone Project (Campus-Only Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts

First Advisor

Lanier Sammons


This capstone project focuses on the history and proper implementation of jazz education in universities in the United States of America. Jazz was inherently an American inception and is considered one of the highest levels of musical art forms, but due to racial inequality and prejudices when it was invented, it was not immediately accepted as a high art form the country of its origin. This paper will cover: the history of jazz improvisation, a brief description of applied theories behind it, the essential elements in a great jazz music program, and what the future of jazz education might be. The goal is to provide an in-depth history of jazz education in American universities and a clear guide to creating a successful jazz program in a classroom. There are many articles and publications on the history of jazz music and its important players in the last 50 years, but the keys to success in teaching jazz, the origins of jazz education, and the struggle for it to be taught and accepted in American universities are not as commonly known.

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