The University of Tennessee's Jazz Studies program has long been one of UT's best-kept secrets. The degree program was founded in 1976 by Jazz Ed pioneer Jerry Coker, but the area's tradition for great music extends back even further. Excellent faculty and students and a wide variety of performance opportunities make the Jazz Studies program one of the country's most attractive programs for aspiring jazz and studio musicians.
The School of Music offers both Bachelor's and Master's degrees with a concentration in Studio Music and Jazz. At the undergraduate level, course work includes jazz theory and composition, history and analysis of jazz styles, jazz band arranging, and improvisation. All jazz majors participate in the jazz ensembles. The Jazz Big Band performs on campus and throughout the area and is an active part of the Jazz program at the University of Tennessee. Students performing in this group become familiar with the playing styles of many of the classic bands from the past and have a chance to work with compositions of today's leading writers. Small jazz ensembles give students an outlet to experiment with material they are learning in their lessons and to receive immediate feedback from the different ensemble directors.