The Oberlin Conservatory of Music incorporated jazz into its curriculum in 1972, and began offering a major in jazz studies in 1989. The program prepares students for careers as professional jazz musicians and for advanced study in jazz.
The jazz studies faculty includes composers and performers who maintain active jazz careers in addition to teaching lessons and classes and coaching ensembles. Composer, jazz musician,and music educator Wendell Logan is chair of the program, which he helped to launch when he joined the Conservatory in 1973.
All majors complete courses in music theory and music history, as well as liberal arts courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. Jazz studies courses feature jazz aural skills, jazz keyboard, jazz theory, basic arranging and composing techniques, improvisation, and the history of jazz. Majors also complete requirements in aural skills, sight singing, and piano proficiency.
Students can pursue a major in jazz performance and jazz composition. Majors also have several opportunities to perform in student ensembles and with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.
Division of Jazz Studies →
The Conservatory's division of musicology offers a major and a minor in music history and a minor in ethnomusicology.
The study of music history begins with the development of music in Western cultures and expands to five periods of history to spark discussions on the social, historical, aesthetic contexts related to how we interpret and produce music. Ethnomusicology includes the study of music traditions in such culturally rich regions as India, Africa, Indonesia, East Asia, and the Americas.
Coursework, guess lectures and recitalists, visiting artists, and performances will provide students with a well-rounded program of study and particularly prepare those who plan careers as scholars or teachers.
Division of Musicology →
Music theory is part of every program in the Conservatory. Music theory stresses both aural skills and studies in analysis and writing. We offer the major in music theory as part of a double major within the Conservatory. Music theory majors can complement a major in performance, composition, electronic and computer music, music education, or music history. A minor in music theory also is available.
We divide courses into music theory and aural skills. Once students satisfactorily complete a series of courses from each section, they can choose from a variety of more intense, upper-level courses that provide solid training in counterpoint, form, and 20th century music.
Majors will have a senior project to demonstrate their competency in the subject, as well as written and oral examinations.
Division of Music Theory →