Our Bachelor of Jazz Studies program has raised Winnipeg's profile on the international jazz scene, creating regular opportunities for students to perform and collaborate with accomplished artists. This gives our students a chance to experience the creative partnerships and dynamic interplays that are the foundation of jazz music.
Study with us
Learn from marquee musicians
Our students learn from renowned jazz professionals with a passion for teaching. Our instructors are active in the international jazz world and perform, compose and record regularly. They attract acclaimed guest artists to our masterclasses – such as Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Regina Carter, Clark Terry and Herlin Reily – and invite jazz students to join them in their artistic adventures.
Pursue your musical styles
You will pursue your instrument in a conservatory-like atmosphere, with the freedom to explore many musical styles. You will combine technical study with an intensive study of repertoire and will benefit from a focus on both solo performance and ensemble playing.
Perform in our jazz ensembles
Jazz students perform in our jazz orchestra and small jazz ensembles, groups that play a central role in Winnipeg’s vibrant jazz community. Students have a variety of opportunities to play outside the faculty and with well-known artists.
Discover our financial supports
The financial support offered to qualifying students is among the most generous in Canada. More than 60 per cent of our students hold Desautels Faculty of Music or UM scholarships and bursaries.
Be inspired in our spaces
Study what you love; love where you study. A stunning transformation of our facilities has created an impressive performing arts complex, with a new concert hall opening in spring 2021. Our rehearsal rooms, music library, labs and recording studio are yours to explore.
Spacious, light-filled practice rooms
Ratio of faculty members to students
Value of scholarships, bursaries and prizes awarded annually
The broad and comprehensive program of study focuses on the four disciplines jazz musicians must cultivate to achieve professional success: performance, composition, arranging and pedagogy. Graduates are ready to pursue a career in any of these areas.
Expected duration: 4 years
In your first year, you will gain knowledge of the history of music, key aspects of theory and music acoustics, learn jazz rhythm performance techniques, and you will cultivate critical aural perception abilities—specifically your sight-singing, transcription and keyboard skills.
Second year core courses focus on jazz history and theory and the continued development of aural perception skills and jazz improvisation.
In years three and four you will also study jazz composition and arranging, jazz pedagogy – where you will teach and perform with young music students – and prepare and perform a public recital each year.
Throughout the duration of the program, all students can explore a wide range of elective courses; will receive individual lessons through Major Practical Study; and will participate in one or more jazz ensembles each year.
Sample course offerings
- MUSC 1004: Introduction to Music in History 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 1182: Jazz Ensemble 1 (2 credit hours)
- MUSC 2072: Jazz History 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 2112: Jazz Theory 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 3112: Jazz Composition and Arranging 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 3180: Ensemble (2 credit hours)
- MUSC 3084: Romantic Music History (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 4140: History of Canadian Music (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 4192: Jazz Improvisation 3 (2 credit hours)
For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar
The following are minimum academic requirements for entry into the BMus program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
Direct entry applicants are those who have not attended a post-secondary institution or have completed fewer than 24 credit hours at a recognized university or college. Direct entry applicants require the following:
- Manitoba high school graduation including 5 full credits at the Grade 12 level in courses designated S, G, U or C
- A minimum 70% average over the following, with no less than 60% in each course:
- English 40S
- Mathematics 40S
- Two academic 40S courses
Advanced entry applicants are those who have completed one year (24 credit hours) or more of studies in another faculty at the University of Manitoba or another recognized post-secondary institution.
All applicants (Direct or Advanced Entry) must successfully pass the following non-academic requirements, in addition to the applicable academic requirements:
- Theory entrance exam
Level of Musicianship
Prospective students should have achieved a minimum level of musicianship and theory comparable to the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory of Canada:
- Grade 9 for strings
- Grade 8 for piano
- Grade 7 for voice, woodwinds and brass
- Grade 6 for organ
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program
If you do not meet the requirements for Direct entry into the BJazz program, your application will be automatically considered for admission to University 1. You do not have to reapply or pay a second application fee.
How to apply
Domestic student application fee: $100
International student application fee: $120
Step 1: Apply online
Applications to the University of Manitoba are completed online. To begin your application, select the "Start or continue your application" button. The online application includes several parts:
- Application fee (non-refundable)
- Two letters of recommendation from a music/band teacher, and/or a private lesson instructor
- A personal essay of 250-300 words which outlines your musical aspiration and plans to achieve them.
- Proof of English Language proficiency (if applicable)
To be considered for Desautels Faculty of Music scholarships, applicants must meet the application deadline and audition during the advertised audition dates. Applicants will be notified 2-3 weeks after the application deadline to arrange their audition and interview.
Step 2: Audition
The audition may take up to 30 minutes. Whether you are auditioning in-person or by video recordings, the audition will involve:
- performing up to 10-12 minutes of prepared music that fulfill the audition requirements specified by area;
- a brief interview covering a range of areas including your background and experience in jazz performance;
- assessing aural and technical skills.
Jazz audition fee: Jazz students auditioning in-person must pay a $50 fee. This fee covers the expense of a rhythm section to be provided by the Faculty. Payments must be made before the audition at the Music General office.
Jazz Studies audition requirements
- A medium tempo blues selection:
- Play melody and a minimum of two improvised choruses
- Rhythm section players must comp for a soloist
- A jazz standard of your choice:
- Play melody and a minimum of two improvised choruses
- Rhythm section players must comp for a soloist. Drummers must trade fours with the rhythm section.
A short sight-reading passage.
There will be a brief interview covering a range of areas, including your background and experience in jazz performance.
Play a major scale, one octave ascending and descending, in any key. Drummers and singers must perform this on piano.
You must provide three copies of charts for the music you perform (in your key).
Step 3: Write the Theory Entrance exam
The Theory Entrance exam assesses competency in music rudiments and is usually written on the day of the audition. A grade of 70% or higher is required for admission to the Desautels Faculty of Music. Royal Conservatory Advanced Rudiments or equivalent is generally adequate preparation.
If you have successfully completed MUSC 1930 – Rudiments of Music at the University of Manitoba or the Theory Entrance Exam Preparation (TEEP) class through Prep Studies, you are exempted from writing theory exam on the day of your audition. TEEP exam results are only valid for a single admission year.
Notification of Decision
Decisions will be posted to the applicant's portal. Applicants must log in to their application portal to view the decision and to accept or decline their offer by the deadline date indicated in the letter. It is imperative that email accounts remain current and that emails and application portals are regularly checked.
|Interview||February 12 - 23, 2024|
|Theory Entrance exam||February 12 - 23, 2024|
Admission and application inquiries
424 UMSU University Centre
University of Manitoba
66 Chancellors Circle
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Room 424 UMSU University Centre
65 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)