The Jazz and Contemporary Music program develops students' improvisation abilities and helps each student realize her or his unique voice as a performer and as an arranger/composer.
CCPA’s Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies program prepares its students to succeed in a variety of American Music genres by offering a firm grounding in the language of jazz. This may be used as a jumping off point for explorations into related music, which students experience in our various ensembles. If you are looking for an intensive undergraduate experience in a major urban cultural center, CCPA will provide you with the tools you need for professional success. Opportunities exist to minor in other areas and for a double major in jazz and music education.
CCPA offers a wide range of ensembles, including vocal jazz (New Deal) and Latin jazz (Puentes). Our Large Jazz Ensemble has a unique instrumentation based on that developed by Gil Evans, and our combos offer immersion in a distinctive style, from Hard Bop to Brazilian to Earth, Wind, and Fire.
CCPA jazz majors benefit by our location in downtown Chicago, a major cultural center with strong roots in American jazz, blues, and R & B. Students can attend a wide variety of performances both on-campus and off, and networking with a community of professional musicians provides opportunities in both performance and recording.
All of our concerts take place at the Jazz Showcase, America’s second-oldest jazz club located only a few blocks from campus. In addition, our ensembles perform regularly at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, and at the annual Jazz Educators Network conference each January.
Please see the curricula for the Jazz and Contemporary Music programs for further information.
You'll discover that the Jazz and Contemporary Music program at CCPA offers you complete professional training in a beautiful urban setting, where you will study with one of the finest faculties in a downtown location minutes from many of Chicago's jazz clubs and concert venues. In fact, you will perform with your ensembles at the Jazz Showcase, the city's oldest jazz club!
Auditions are approximately 15 minutes. Faculty will be able to accompany the in-person auditions but not the virtual auditions. For virtual auditions, students should utilize play-along tracks to simulate the feel of a live performance; faculty will provide constructive feedback as part of the audition process. Applicants will likely be asked to stop in the middle of selections.
All instrumentalists should prepare three jazz standards featuring different styles, moods, and tempos. One must be a ballad. Play-along recordings are encouraged. Sight-reading will be included, and scales may be requested.
Vocalists should prepare two songs: one jazz standard and one contemporary (non-classical) piece. Accompanist will not be provided. Students may accompany themselves or use a CD or track play-along. Students will also be asked to improvise over blues changes and given a brief ear-training assessment.