Three-Year Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Jazz & Commercial Music
The newly crafted three-year, 120-credit Bachelor of Music in Jazz & Commercial Music* offers an accelerated plan focused on performance and entrepreneurship preparing artists for today’s music world. Students can also spend the traditional four years to complete the degree and consider adding certificates or minors outside of the conservatory.
The focus of the Shenandoah Conservatory B.M. in Jazz & Commercial Music program is grounded in the belief that modern artists work in a variety of settings, where performing, composing, studio work, teaching and entrepreneurship are important components of a successful career. Students receive training in the broad field of contemporary music which includes jazz, commercial, classical and studio music.
*Students completing the three-year degree option are required to complete courses during J-Term and Summer Terms. These courses are offered at a highly discounted tuition level, however the costs of these courses are not included in the fall/spring tuition structure.
From the moment I first visited Shenandoah’s campus, I felt a strong sense of community and respect amongst the students and faculty. At Shenandoah, you can pursue your passion with confidence knowing that everyone around you is in full support of cultivating your career, together.
Mark G. Meadows | Guest Artist
You’ll learn from inspiring performers and passionate teachers, and interact with a vibrant community of jazz and classical musicians. You’ll also perform on recording projects in a world-class recording studio, perform with guest artists, travel internationally to perform and enjoy clinic opportunities from guest lecturers.
The B.M. in Jazz & Commercial Music program embeds specific jazz concepts as developed within the studio and studio classes in an innovative group-forum setting. The revised curriculum better balances foundational craft with industry-specific preparation, entrepreneurial skills and collaborative experience.
Jazz Ensemble Pacific Northwest Tour (May 2017)
The Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Ensemble toured the Pacific Northwest in May 2017 with nineteen students and four faculty. Highlights included performances at Reynolds High School and the University of Portland, as well as a trip to Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River in Oregon; performances at the Central Washington University Jazz Festival as a featured college ensemble and Bellevue College, as well as visits to the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Bainbridge Island and the Future of Flight Boeing Museum in Seattle, Washington; a performance at Pat’s Pub, Vancouver’s most popular jazz venue and tours of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada.
Learn More About This Program
Shenandoah offers me a fantastic opportunity to work with some of the best teachers and musicians in the nation. Because of my time at Shenandoah, I have become exactly who I wanted to be when I first picked up the trumpet 13 years ago. I have traveled the nation performing with different groups and have made extremely important contacts because of the faculty of Shenandoah.”
Michael Christie ‘17 | Jazz Studies
The National Jazz Workshop faculty represents the best jazz educators and performers from Washington, D.C., an area known worldwide as one of the nation’s most prestigious and innovative centers for jazz performance. Learn more by visiting the National Jazz Workshop website.
Minor in Theatre, Dance or Music Composition
Shenandoah Conservatory offers minors in Music, Theatre or Dance for all Shenandoah University students.
Shenandoah also offers a new minor in Music Composition for conservatory students who wish to build composition skills and enhance their creative music-making experience while pursuing other degree programs in the conservatory.
Acceptance into conservatory minors must be approved by the Division/Department Chair, and some minors require an audition. Students enrolled in the B.M. in Jazz & Commercial Music degree program may pursue minors in Theatre, Dance or Music Composition.
Declaring A Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Advisor to declare a minor. Academic Advisors will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application; applications are for intended majors only.
Career Possibilities and Preparation
Graduates in Jazz & Commercial Music depart with a comprehensive ePortfolio, including a press kit, website, video and audio of performances, scores of original jazz pieces, transcriptions, and samples of writing.
Our program will prepare you to perform as the leader of your own group, and you will also know how to manage the group and develop public relations materials. You’ll have the foundation of knowledge and experience necessary to perform in jazz and contemporary ensembles, work as a studio musician, provide private instruction, lead ensembles, and teach other jazz course work, including as an adjunct faculty member at a college or university.
My off-campus job isn’t quite so off-campus as you would expect from a college student. Thanks to the social aspect of Shenandoah and the Conservatory, my friends and I decided to create a student-led band called “Bees?”. After 7 months, we’ve gone from jamming in a combo room in the back corner of the school, to finishing and selling our new EP and performing extensively in the Winchester area, as well as in Connecticut and New York City. As we continue to thrive, I start to see my dream of performing jazz fusion in a popular music setting coming true, and it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Shenandoah bringing us together. I would love to join the military bands and perform music in service to my country. As I grew up, I learned primarily from musicians and teachers that had participated in the military’s performing groups and, in my opinion, they are the pinnacle of representing America in music around the world. I would also love to travel the country as a musician, and bring my music to anyone who wants to hear it.
Nicholas Serbu ’18 | Jazz Studies
“I didn’t think I could get accepted into any colleges. Shenandoah University gave me a chance and let me audition. Over the past four years I’ve had opportunities I would have never expected. I started playing lead trombone in the SU big band my second semester, my sophomore year I played a solo in the premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ “Blues Symphony” at Strathmore. This year I got into the Disneyland All-American College Band and was offered and accepted a teaching fellowship to direct the U-Tubes (UNT’s jazz trombone ensemble).” Nathan Davis ’17 | Jazz Studies
Career & Professional Development provides a comprehensive range of services and resources to assist Shenandoah students in their career search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
The student-faculty ratio at Shenandoah University is 10:1, and the university has 70.7% of its classes with fewer than 20 students.
You Will Learn:
- Improvisational skills
- Composition and arranging for jazz ensembles of various sizes
- Concentrated study of jazz repertoire and jazz history
- Jazz theory studies
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisors across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Performance Opportunities and Ensembles
The Jazz Studies program at SU gives me the opportunity to experience great things as a musician. As a freshman, I’ve performed in Jazz Ensemble, combos, the Little Big Band, and many informal opportunities. I have a really wonderful personal connection with my professors who are helping me grow as a musician and human being.
Matthew White ’21 | Jazz Studies
Shenandoah Conservatory produces more than 300 performances each year. Enroll in a dynamic curriculum and start preparing for a meaningful career in the arts. You will practice your craft in front of audiences and develop a plan for your professional launch into the industry that focuses on your personal desires and aspirations.
Embrace extensive performance opportunities with top-tier facilities from theatres, concert halls and dance studios. Unite with fellow artists and join an alumni family that takes center stage from Broadway to the concert halls of Europe.
Shenandoah Conservatory is home to more than 30 performing groups — including instrumental, vocal, and dance ensembles — that present numerous performances every year. These performances take place throughout Shenandoah University’s vibrant campus on its various stages, including a concert hall, recital hall, proscenium stage, black box studio, outdoor amphitheater and more, to venues and performance spaces in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and around the world. Ensembles constantly engage with Shenandoah’s dynamic faculty and an array of distinguished guest artists through residencies, workshops and unique performance opportunities.
Performance Opportunities Abroad
The Jazz Ensemble has completed eight international tours and performed in these countries:
The band also has performed domestically, has appeared at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, and has performed at Blues Alley in Washington DC.
Experience the world-renowned Shenandoah Conservatory and study with master teachers – more than 100 professionals in music, theatre, dance and arts management.
I am studying jazz trumpet performance under Craig Fraedrich. Not only is he helping me become a better jazz soloist and lead trumpet player, he is also giving me real life experience and tips on how to survive as a musician which is one of the most important things for a student musician to learn.
Michael Christie ‘17 | Jazz Studies
Shenandoah’s phenomenal faculty have guided me in my growth as a musician and as a person. To me, the best way to give back to my home away from home is to honor it through my passion of performing, and passing on what I’ve learned and experienced to the next generation of students here at Shenandoah and everywhere I can.
Nicholas Serbu ’18 | Jazz Studies
Shenandoah Conservatory’s prestigious faculty is dynamic, creative, and passionately committed to the highest levels of artistic excellence. A deeply caring community, they mentor students with a wealth of professional expertise, balancing rigorous expectations with compassion and wisdom. At Shenandoah, you will study with, and perform for, award-winning composers, Metropolitan Opera singers, Grammy Award winning conductors and international competition winners. You will learn from leading scholars in music and premiere works created by accomplished dance artists and cutting-edge directors. Shenandoah Conservatory’s faculty embodies the highest levels of professional accomplishment and the deepest commitment to furthering the artistic growth and creative aspirations of students in every discipline.
Auxiliary Adjunct Associate Professor, Jazz & TrumpetFull Biography
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Jazz SaxophoneFull Biography
Director of Jazz & Commercial Music; Associate Professor, TromboneFull Biography
Director and Associate Professor, Music Production & Recording TechnologyFull Biography
Coordinator of Strings; Professor, BassFull Biography
Adjunct Associate Professor, Jazz GuitarFull Biography
Adjunct Associate Professor, Jazz PercussionFull Biography
Application and Audition Information
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admissions materials, and find our admissions standards.
Admission to Shenandoah Conservatory is highly competitive. Not only must students be academically admissible, they must also complete and pass the mandatory audition/portfolio review and interview process. Audition dates are limited and may fill and close well in advance of the audition date.
Acceptable Instruments for This Program
Not all majors are suitable to fit every instrument. Below are the acceptable instruments for this program.
- Double Bass ( jazz)
- Electric Bass (jazz)
- Electric Guitar (jazz)
- Percussion (jazz)
- Piano (jazz)
- Saxophone (jazz)
- Trombone ( jazz)
- Trumpet (jazz)
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks, you will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.
Fast-Track to Arts Management
Accelerated PALM Program
The Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management is designed to provide future performing arts executives and artistic leaders with the industry skills required in the 21st century.
The accelerated program in Performing Arts Leadership and Management is available for current Shenandoah Conservatory undergraduates who, upon completion of their undergraduate degree, wish to obtain a Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management in just one year. Students who are accepted into the accelerated program will begin to take arts leadership and management courses during their undergraduate studies and register for internship during the summer between senior year and their final year of graduate study.
Experience Shenandoah Conservatory
Shenandoah Conservatory Invites provides instrumental high school students multiple opportunities each year to make music with Shenandoah faculty, students and ensembles. Musicians playing string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments will find events enabling intensive study with Shenandoah’s world-class faculty and the opportunity to make music alongside current conservatory students. Each of these events take place on Shenandoah’s beautiful Winchester campus.