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Jazz Studies

Jazz is big at Utah State, with hundreds of students participating every year in jazz activities of one kind or another, whether in one of the two big bands, several combos, numerous guitar ensembles, jazz improvisation and history classes, various chamber groups that include jazz in their repertoires, the Jazz Kicks Big band, the annual Jazz Night at the Sky Club, the jazz series at Why Sound, or the regular jazz jam sessions downtown. Students at USU have opportunities to conduct, write for, perform in, and record and tour with big bands and small groups. In June of 2014, Downbeat Magazine honored the USU Jazz Orchestra with its Outstanding Performance by a Large Jazz Ensemble award in the annual Student Music Awards issue. This is due to a combination of great students who are excited to study and perform this music, and a world-class music faculty, many of whom are also members of the faculty music ensemble Aggie Music Project.

AMP ensemble at Walker Center


Dr. Jon Gudmundson


Director of Jazz Studies


Corey Christiansen

Assistant Professor


Dr. Todd Fallis


Low Brass, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

Dr. Braun Khan

Professional Practice Assistant Professor


Dr. Max Matzen

Assistant Professor


Dr. Jason Nicholson

Associate Professor


Dr. Kevin Olson

Associate Professor

Composition, Piano

Nate Ostermiller

Faculty Associate


Ginger Bess Simmons

Faculty Associate

Jazz/Contemporary Voice

Larry Smith



Dr. Greg Wheeler

Professional Practice Assistant Professor


Utah State University offers students numerous opportunities to study Jazz.  Whether through participation in one of our many Jazz Ensembles (our two Big Bands -- the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra; as well as numerous Combos), or by enrolling in a course about Jazz history, we have something for everyone interested in adding some Jazz to their university studies.


MUSC 2460 (1-2 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Non-music Majors (F, Sp, Su) 1 credit = 30 min lesson, 2 credits = 1 hour lesson

MUSC 2470 (1 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors/2nd Instr. (F, Sp, Su) 1 credit = 30 min lesson

MUSC 2550 (2 cr.) - Guitar Styles: Blues/Bluegrass (F) Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading

MUSC 2560 (2 cr.) - Guitar Styles: Jazz/Classical (Sp) Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading

MUSC 3020 (3 cr.) - History of Jazz (F, Sp) Fulfills the Depth Humanity credit.

MUSC 3440 (1-2 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors (F, Sp, Su) All 1-hour lessons: credit is determined by practice time and extent of literature required.

MUSC 3760 (1 cr.) - Jazz Ensemble (F, Sp) Audition required, contact Dr. Wheeler for information.

MUSC 3770 (1 cr.) - Jazz Orchestra (F, Sp) Audition required, contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.

MUSC 3900 (2 cr.) - Jazz Improvization (F, Sp) Prerequisites: MUSC 2130 and 2150 or permission from instructor.

MUSC 3950 (1 cr.) - Jazz Choir (F, Sp) Ability to improvise helpful, though not required. Auditions held during the first week of fall semester.

MUSC 4710 - USU Jazz Combo (F, Sp) Auditions held during the first week of fall semester. Contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.

MUSC 4710 - Caine Jazz Combo (F, Sp) Auditions held during the first week of fall semester. Members receive a scholarship stipend. Contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.

Guest clinicians are a regular part of the jazz studies curriculum. Here is a partial list of guest artists from the past several years (since 2003):

Saxophonists: Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Dave Pietro, Chris Vadala, Norbert Stachel, Jack Wilkins, Lauren Sevian, Tom Walsh, Brent Jensen, Joe McQueen;

Trumpeters: Brian Lynch, Byron Stripling, Marvin Stamm, Graham Breedlove, Mark Buselli; Dave Douglas

Trombonists: Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Oberholtzer, Willie Applewhite;

Pianists: Bill Mays, Dana Landry, Bill Anschell, Melanie Shore;

Guitarists: John Scofield, Vic Juris, Mike Stern, Joe Diorio, Ron Eschete, Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor;

Bassists: Rufus Reid, Lars Yorgason, Aaron Miller, Chris Symer, Erik Applegate;

Drummers: Ed Soph, John Riley, Danny Gottlieb, Beth Gottlieb, Jim White;

Organists: Dr. Lonnie Smith


  • Jazz Night at Elite Hall (USU big bands swing dance) – 2/14, 2/15, 2/16, Elite Hall in Hyrum (98 W Main St. in Hyrum. Go south out of Logan, left at the fork [i.e. NOT toward Brigham City], when you get to Hyrum turn right at the McDonald’s, go a mile or so and Elite Hall will be on your right). $25 for dinner and dancing, $10 for Dancing Only.
  • Jazz Kicks Big Band Concert –3/26, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 general, USU students FREE.
  • USU Jazz Combos – 3/27, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission, USU students FREE.
  • Guitar Ensembles - 4/14, 7:30, Russell/Wanless Performance Hall, 7:30 PM, $10 gen admission, USU students FREE


Named to honor Professor Emeritus Larry Smith, founder of the jazz studies area at Utah State, this scholarship fund was created to help music students at Utah State University who have a dedicated interest in studying jazz. It is available to incoming jazz students as well as currently enrolled students, and can be put towards tuition, books, instruments, etc. This is an open-ended scholarship: someone needing a mute can apply as well as someone needing money for classes. To apply, get an application form from Dr. Gudmundson and fill it out, obtain a brief endorsement from one of the jazz faculty at USU, and submit to Dr. Gudmundson. Number of recipients and amount of scholarship vary based on funds and need.



This scholarship is available on a yearly basis to seven of the best jazz students at Utah State University. These seven students will perform in a standard jazz combo configuration of trumpet, saxophone, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums, and will be responsible to meet and perform regularly. Scholarship recipients should be strong leaders and role models as well as fine musicians, but they are not necessarily required to be in a jazz ensemble or the music department. To apply, you must participate in jazz auditions at the beginning of the year, and indicate interest in the combo. The scholarship is worth $250 per semester.

"Those Aggie Blues" performed by Aggie Music Project. Recorded live at Kent Concert Hall, USU 5:12.


"This Lament" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

"Tuesday Wonderland" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.

"Everything in its Right Place" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

"Wingless Flight" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.

 Hear more USU jazz on the Media page!

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Sign up for JEN here:

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2018-2019 Events

David Halliday (sax) Clinic Wednesday 9/26, 5:30-6:30 pm, rm 214

Doug Stone (sax) & Jeff Campbell (bass) Clinic Monday 10/22, 5:00-6:30 pm, rm FAV 150

Matt Jorgensen (drums) Clinic Friday 11/16, 5:30-6:30 pm, rm 104

Alex Heitlinger (trombone) Clinic Wednesday 1/30, 5:30-6:30 pm, rm 214

February Clinic – TBD

March Clinic – TBD

Ulysses Owens Jr. (drums) Clinic Monday 4/15, 5:00-6:30 pm, rm 104

2018-2019 JEN Officers
President - Ivan Gygi
Vice President - Hunter Bergman
Treasurer - Carolee Beck
Publicist - Chris Jessee
Secretary - Tyler Curtis
Faculty Advisor - Braun Khan

Mission Statement
The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences.

Who We Are
We are the USU college chapter of the Jazz Education Network, an international network of jazz performers and educators. We are one of the signature Jazz Education Network collegiate chapters.

What We Do
We bring in professional artists regularly for clinics where students get the opportunity to learn from some of the best jazz artists in the world.