The Music Department offers a curriculum that emphasizes musicianship and proficiency, self-expression, originality, professional training, and job assimilation. This includes being versed in all styles of music, from classical to jazz, from blues to gospel, and from hip-hop to reggae. Upon graduation, our students are prepared for real jobs in the real world.
The best way to learn music is to make music, and the Music Department offers many opportunities to build professional skills along with a portfolio of performances. Special opportunities abound, such as the Semester in LA, a program for our composers who specialize in composition for film and television. Music Department student ensembles perform at professional and education events throughout the United States and abroad, such as the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico; the Vicenza Jazz Festival; the Sant’Anna Arresi Festival and the Bari Conservatory in Italy; the Beijing Dance Festival in China; the Notre Dame Jazz Festival; the Chicago Blues Festival; the Chicago Cultural Festival; and the JVC Festival in New York.
The Music Department currently offers six undergraduate programs that include Bachelor of Arts degrees In Composition, Instrumental Performance, Vocal Performance, and Jazz Studies. We also offer Bachelor of Music degrees in Composition and in Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music Performance.
Music students at Columbia College Chicago receive a truly rich and unique learning experience. One of the most significant features is the diversity of its working faculty’s musical background, talent, and skill. Most have recorded albums, composed, or performed music all over the world with internationally acclaimed ensembles. The faculty members are innovative working musicians who bring their professional experiences to the classroom and couple that with innovative academic approaches.
Our new artist-in-residence series gives students even more opportunities to learn their art from contemporary masters. These week-long residencies—which include renowned artists such as Jon Faddis, Terence Blanchard, Udo Dahmen, Vincent Gardner, Darmon Meader, Bob Mintzer, Ivan Neville, and Fred Wesley—offer students hands-on workshops, master classes, classroom instruction, and the opportunity to perform with the artists.
We also have the unique distinction of an in-residence professional ensemble: The Chicago Jazz Ensemble (CJE). This internationally renown ensemble works with our students in developing their music skills. Members of the CJE and Dana Hall, Artistic Director, teach lessons, give master classes, appear as guest soloists, and act as mentors to our jazz students. Students learn their craft while interacting with professionals in virtually every department on campus, including Film and Video; Television; Theatre; Audio Arts and Acoustics; Dance; Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management; and the Center for Black Music Research.
J. Richard Dunscomb