JMU offers a variety of opportunities for students to learn about, and to perform jazz. Performing groups include two large jazz ensembles and multiple jazz chamber ensembles. The JMU Jazz Ensemble has a long tradition of excellence, and has performed at the Montreux, North Sea, and East Coast Jazz Festivals, VMEA convention, and at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. The small groups, coordinated by Chuck Dotas,, are student organized (coached weekly by a faculty member) and participate in a regular gig at The Artful Dodger Restaurant.
JMU offers both an undergraduate Jazz Studies Major and a Minor in Jazz Studies. Course offerings include private Applied Jazz Study, four levels of Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Theory and Ear Training, Jazz Keyboard Skills, Arranging for Small Jazz Ensemble, Big Band Arranging, Jazz Composition, Advanced Topics Jazz Seminars, Jazz History, and Jazz Pedagogy.