ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Under the direction of Professor Kris Tiner, the DownBeat award winning Jazz Studies Program at Bakersfield College offers a path to the Music AA-T degree that focuses on jazz and contemporary music. Music majors who successfully audition into the Applied Music class for jazz performance receive private instruction with Jazz Studies faculty including Tony Aguilar (trombone), Kyle Burnham (drum set), Paul Cierley (guitar), Doug Davis (piano), Paul Perez (saxophone), Miller Wrenn (bass), Susan Scaffidi (voice), and Kris Tiner (trumpet).
BC also offers a full slate of jazz courses that are transferable and open to all musicians. The centerpiece of the program is the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble, one of the oldest collegiate big bands in the nation and an important local musical institution. The concert repertoire spans the history of jazz, from classics by Ellington, Basie, and Mingus to contemporary works and student compositions.
Students in the Jazz Combos are encouraged to perform and record their own music. The combos play often on campus and at local venues including the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. They have earned superior ratings at the Fresno State Jazz Festival and have performed at the Reno Jazz Festival, the MACCC Conference in San Diego, and the Jazz Education Network's JENerations Jazz Festival in New Orleans. In 2022 the combos earned top honors in two community college categories in the 45th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards.
Jazz students have frequent opportunities to interact with renowned visiting artists. Recent guests include the iconic trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, bass virtuoso Doug Wimbish, innovative guitarist Jeff Parker, composer and pianist Wayne Horvitz, Grammy winning saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and legendary drummer Joe La Barbera.
Each fall students participate in the Panorama Creative Music Summit, a weeklong showcase for original music with workshops and headline performances by visiting artists. In April the Jazz Studies program hosts the annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College, an all-day festival featuring pro clinicians, masterclasses, and performances from regional student jazz ensembles.
MUSC B13A • Jazz Ensemble
This course is for the study, rehearsal, and public performance of literature for big band, with an emphasis on the development of skills needed to perform within a large jazz ensemble including phrasing, ensemble playing, musicality, and creative improvisation. Different literature will be studied each semester.
MUSC B11 • Jazz Combos
This course covers the study, rehearsal, and public performance of literature for small jazz groups of three to seven players. Various styles and repertory projects are explored, including traditional jazz, contemporary jazz, Latin jazz, and world music. Students will acquire training in jazz phrasing, ensemble playing, musicality, and creative improvisation. Special emphasis on original student compositions and arrangements.
MUSC B8 • Jazz Improvisation
This course is an introduction to the creative practice of improvisation for all instrumentalists and vocalists. Fundamentals of jazz theory are addressed through practical application, and musicianship skills are developed through dictation, transcription, analysis, and performance of standard jazz tunes, melodic patterns, rhythms, and chord progressions. Students will explore different stylistic and idiomatic approaches including motivic, harmonic, modal, and free improvisation.
MUSC B23 • Appreciation of Jazz
Comparative survey of jazz styles, musicians, and representative works. Students learn core musical concepts, engage in directed listening activities, attend live concerts, and discuss the various theoretical, aesthetic, and philosophical ideas that inspire the creation of jazz music.
MUSC B7 • Applied Music: Jazz Studies
Individual and group instruction in solo performance for music majors culminating in a juried performance final. Includes instruction in technique, repertoire, and performance practice. Designed for students with significant prior experience / instruction with a particular instrument or singing. Audition required.
MUSC B66NC • Jazz & Commercial Music Academy
Introduction to essential vocational skills for professional musicians including ensemble playing, musicianship, arranging, creative improvisation, introduction to recording hardware and software, mixing, and audio production. This is a free, non-credit, 1-week summer course that is open to high school and college students.
Jazz students are also encouraged to take Commercial Music courses, including MUSC B36 Music Business and MUSC B30 Intro to Music Technology.