jazz studies program image

Jazz Studies

Letter from the Chair

Bob Mintzer

I would like to welcome you to the website of the USC Thornton Jazz Studies program. Here, you will catch a glimpse into one of the most comprehensive and compelling jazz programs in the world. We are a small, student-oriented jazz department housed in a large world-class university located in the bustling city of Los Angeles. Our jazz students have unparalleled access and insight into the rapidly evolving music scene by way of our award-winning faculty and close proximity to a wide range of activities taking place in Los Angeles. A myriad of innovative programs are available to our students on campus as well.

Jazz Studies is one of six programs housed under the guise of USC Thornton’s Division of Contemporary Music, which brings jazz, music industry, technology, popular music, studio guitar, and film scoring into a single, enriching learning environment. Presentations and special events about contemporary music are made available to all students in the umbrella group. We recognize the importance of today’s musicians developing a working knowledge of recording, producing, and marketing.

From the beginning of their studies, Jazz students are introduced to composition, arranging, repertoire, vocabulary, and pedagogy, as well as access to current technology and industry-related issues. The curriculum focuses on becoming a well-rounded performer, arranger and teacher. Rather than having all the answers, we pose the questions that inspire students to learn for themselves and develop a musical personality steeped in passion and focus.

Many of our students perform in bands with faculty, tour with established contemporary artists, or work in some shape or form within the L.A. scene well before they finish school. As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles offers a fresh and unique variety of performing opportunities. The city’s jazz scene is vibrant, and several of our students can be found playing in the clubs and festivals about town.

I will be the first – but certainly not the last – to say that I think you will find USC Thornton Jazz to be a special program with ample opportunity for those who are ready to work hard, join the team, and embark on an exciting journey of personal and professional growth. And one more thing – the weather ain’t too bad, either!

– Bob Mintzer