The School of Music's new Jazz Ensemble performs

Jazz Program at Fredonia

Fredonia boasts one of the longest histories of jazz music making of any college in the United States. Since the creation of the student-run Fredonia Jazz Workshop in 1934, jazz has been a part of student life at Fredonia through performance, and historical and theoretical study. With the launch of a new Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies, Fredonia now offers majors in this area many opportunities in large- and small-group performance, private study, and classroom instruction in jazz theory, history, and improvisation.

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SUNY Fredonia's Jazz Flextet is the 2023 DownBeat Award winner for Outstanding Performance by a Blues/Pop/Rock Group! It is the program's third Downbeat Award in the last five years!

The Fredonia Difference

At the heart of the jazz program are its flagship jazz ensembles, the Fredonia Jazz Orchestra and the DownBeat Award-winning Fredonia New Jazz Ensemble and Fredonia Jazz Flextet, as well as multiple small groups, including several instrumental jazz combos and the Fredonia Vocal Jazz Combo. These ensembles perform for the general public multiple times a year, and often provide opportunities for student vocalists and instrumentalists outside of the jazz area to participate as needed. Students pursuing degrees in other fields are welcome to join these ensembles. Participants are also encouraged to become involved in the student-run Fredonia Jazz Workshop, which operates the Fredonia Jazz Ensemble and several combos.

Career Opportunities for Jazz

  • Touring musician
  • Songwriter/composer/arranger
  • Band leader
  • Broadway performer
  • Studio musician
  • Jazz educator
Jazz Auditions

It's Different Here


years of jazz music at Fredonia

A long lineage of notable alumni, and new energy and vision for taking jazz studies into the next generation.


practice rooms

Most practice rooms have windows that look out on our beautiful campus.

award-winning students

Downbeat Awards for Outstanding Performance in 2019, 2022, and 2023

Why Jazz Studies at Fredonia?



The Jazz Studies degree program offers expanded opportunities to focus on the art of jazz performance within the context and curriculum of an excellent School of Music.

Fredonia Jazz Workshop

Faculty Jazz Collective

The jazz faculty at Fredonia are some of the most respected jazz performers of their generation, and students have the opportunity to learn from and perform alongside these mentors both on- and off-campus.

Fredonia Jazz Workshop The student-run Fredonia Jazz

Fredonia Jazz Workshop

The student-run Fredonia Jazz Workshop dates back to 1934 and provides both an incredibly rich history and innovative vision for the future of jazz on campus.

Sample Courses

MUS 051 Fredonia New Jazz Ensemble

This ensemble provides the Fredonia student with a specially curated big band experience through the study and performance of contemporary jazz ensemble repertoire from around the world, with attention to composers of color, women composers, and otherwise underrepresented composers.

MUS 119 Free Improvisation

The course is an exploration of the art of music improvisation for self-expression. It is taught in a supportive, safe environment of non-judgment, in order to give students the freedom needed to create music spontaneously. The voice is considered the primary instrument. Drums, and other World Music instruments will be provided.

MUS 362 Jazz Theory

A study of ear training, jazz harmony, intervals, chord symbols, voicings, melody, harmonization, chord extensions and substitutions in various jazz styles. Specific hands on application to your instrument/voice is included in the curriculum.

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