James Madison University School of Music

Jazz at JMU

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. 

Contact Dr. Charles Dotas, Coordinator of Jazz Studies for more information: dotascj@jmu.edu


Quick Links

  • Jazz Faculty
  • JMU George West Jazz Festival
  • Jazz Ensembles
  • Montréal Summer Study

    Fall 2015 audition dates:
    Jazz Ensemble/Jazz Band:
    Monday, August 31
    11 am - 5 pm

    Room B12 in the Music Building
    (sign up on the door)
    Jazz Chamber Ensembles:
    Tuesday, September 1
    7 pm
    ; Artful Dodger Cafe
    Court Square, downtown Harrisonburg

    Auditions consist of sight reading and optional improvisation on a blues. Everyone hoping to participate in one of the big bands must audition.