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Music, BM - Jazz-Commercial Option

Undergraduate Jazz Degree

If you want to be a professional musician, composer or arranger, the University of Central Missouri’s Bachelor of Music degree, with a Jazz-Commercial option, will prepare you to achieve your goals. Whether you plan to work for others or be self-employed, this UCM Jazz degree offers the experiences and knowledge base you’ll need to excel in the music industry.

Work directly with our professors in small classes and play music with your peers in numerous ensembles, from big bands to small combos. UCM’s state-of-the-art music facilities are outfitted with all the latest technology and equipment for recording your performances in our studios and performance halls. These experiences, along with UCM’s Jazz degree program coursework, will hone your skills and prepare you for success as a jazz or commercial musician.

Build a professional network while earning your Jazz degree

As a Music student at UCM, you’ll have many opportunities to interact with renowned musicians in the vibrant Kansas City music scene, as well as guest artists who conduct clinics and perform with students on our campus.


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Designated an All-Steinway School

Missouri with a star marking the UCM campus

Near Kansas City, St. Louis music scenes

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Accredited by NASM since 1947

Music notes

Varied live ensemble/combo opportunities

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Outstanding recording facilities

A teacher in front of a class

Individualized attention in small classes

What you will study

Regardless of whether you want to focus on avant garde, traditional or contemporary jazz, rock or even country music, the harmonic language of the Bebop era will be the foundation of your undergraduate studies. 

From there, you’ll gain a background in all aspects of jazz-commercial music. Though the program curriculum will focus on both performance and musical composition and arranging, you can choose to emphasize one or the other according to your career goals. 

You’ll also study the history and development of jazz, form and analysis, computer music notation, fundamentals of conducting and other courses such as these: 

  • Jazz Improvisation
  • Jazz-Commercial Arranging
  • Jazz-Rock Combo
  • Senior Jazz Recital

In your core Bachelor of Music courses, you’ll also learn theory, attend recitals, complete aural training and learn the music history of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras.


Excellence in Music

  • UCM has been accredited by the National Schools of Music (NASM) since 1947.
  • The University of Central Missouri is one of the largest music schools in the state of Missouri and the state’s first to be designated an All-Steinway School.
  • UCM is a Conn-Selmer School, with a large collection of the company’s band and orchestra instruments.
  • Top 15%: Best Value Bachelor’s Degree Colleges for General Music (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 15%: Most Focused Master’s Degree Colleges for General Music (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 8%: Most Popular Colleges for General Music (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in jazz-commercial music

Whether you want to perform, compose, arrange or teach jazz-commercial music, real-world experiences will be central to UCM’s Jazz degree program.

  • Working with guest artists: Regional and national touring musicians offer clinics and perform concerts with UCM jazz ensembles. You’ll rehearse their music and perform a concert with them, then interact directly in small clinic settings. These opportunities help you learn to interpret and present a composer’s music while interacting professionally with working musicians.
  • Recording experience: Each semester, students in UCM Jazz Ensembles work with Music Technology majors in our state-of-the-art recording studios. Learn how to prepare for and get the most out of sessions, including logistical set up such as microphone and speaker placement and track editing. Then collaborate with peers during recording sessions in a professional studio.
  • Performing on and off campus: Students in the UCM Jazz degree program are encouraged to book gigs at regional venues to get on-stage experience as performers and arrangers. As a student composer, you may choose to include original works in your UCM junior and senior year recitals. At the conclusion of the Jazz-Commercial Arranging class, you’ll experience an exciting live performance of your final project on campus or at locations such as the Kauffman Center of Performing Arts in Kansas City.


What can you do with a Jazz degree from UCM?

Your Jazz degree will prepare you to work as a composer, arranger, conductor or solopreneur.

UCM alumni with a Music degree in the Jazz-Commercial option play music at events, clubs and other venues in Kansas City and St. Louis, across the United States and throughout the world. Many students teach privately, earn their teaching certification or continue their studies in jazz-commercial music at the graduate level. You can also pursue other career opportunities, such as working for arts-related nonprofit organizations or corporations, military bands, cruise lines and live event producers.  

Explore your music career options in Missouri and globally

Use the interactive tool below to learn more about potential salaries and career pathways with a Bachelor of Music degree focused on Jazz-Commercial Music.




Financial assistance options for your Jazz-Commercial degree

The University of Central Missouri offers numerous resources for financing your undergraduate education to help keep your college costs and student debt low.

Beyond general awards and scholarships available through UCM, scholarships specifically designated for students in UCM’s Jazz degree program are available, including: 

  • Music Merit Scholarships
  • Instrument-specific Scholarships

Explore more about program-specific scholarships with the UCM Scholarship Finder.

UCM Service Awards

As a major in Jazz-Commercial Music, you may also qualify for UCM Service Awards. These awards recognize service for such activities as tutoring music students or playing in the UCM Marching Mules, Jazz Big Bands or Choirs.


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Take your degree further.

Expand your knowledge of music or earn certification to become a music professor by continuing your studies at UCM:

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Make yourself more marketable.

Prepare to promote yourself as a working musician or learn more about the technology behind music production by adding to your major in Jazz-Commercial Music at UCM:

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Explore programs related to jazz-commercial music.

If you’re still unsure about what you’d like to major in at UCM, consider these related fields of study:


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