Pursue your passion for music with UW’s jazz performance major

The jazz studies major at the University of Wyoming is the perfect fit for anyone looking to develop the skills required to be an artist in today’s music industry.

Jazz students at UW learn to thrive in all types of musical settings, including big bands, small groups and recording ensembles while studying a wide variety of genres including Swing, Be-Bop, Hard Bop, Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Blues, Latin, etc. Students gain invaluable experience in weekly one on one lessons, weekly rehearsals, professional performing opportunities and unique courses that prepare them for the future.

About the Jazz Performance Major

The jazz studies program provides students with the unique opportunity to hone their musical talent while studying a wide variety of genres, including swing, blues, bebop, hard bop, modern, afro-latin and funk.

At UW, students take unique courses, have plenty of performing opportunities, and prepare for graduate school or a career as a performer.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance to the jazz performance major is by audition only. Learn more about audition requirements.

Students performing

Professor teaching a music class

UW’s jazz performance degree is led by a group of accomplished faculty members, including:

  • Dr. Andrew Wheelock: Director of Jazz Studies & assistant professor specializing in jazz drums and Afro-Latin music
  • Dr. Ben Markley: Assistant Professor specializing in jazz piano, composition and arranging
  • Dr. Seth Lewis: Lecturer specializing in jazz bass and jazz history
  • Ryan Fourt: Lecturer specializing in jazz guitar
  • David Mesquitic: Lecturer specializing in jazz improv and piano
Professor pointing and smiling at students during concert while conducting

What Can You Do With a Jazz Performance Major?

The B.M. in jazz performance prepares students for a wide variety of careers in the music industry as well as helps students interested in graduate school to learn the skills necessary to get into some of the highest-level grad schools in the country. So whether you want to pursue a career as a performing artist, producer, composer, recording artist or educator,  you’ll be equipped to pursue your dreams.

Jazz Performance Careers

  • Performing Artist
  • Composer
  • Director
  • Studio Musician
  • Producer
  • Record Label Management
  • Teacher


Trombone section playing during a concert

Jazz studies grads are furthering their education

Our graduates go on to pursue careers as performers and receive additional education from prestigious graduate programs. Graduates have recently been accepted to the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Northern Colorado.

mountain logo

Jazz Performance Major Highlights

The UW jazz studies area offers students outstanding opportunities throughout their degree. Whether it be traveling abroad to play international jazz festivals or traveling to New York to play in the most renowned jazz venues, students at the University of Wyoming have regular opportunities to experience the industry and culture of jazz.

With multiple guest artists every semester, students can count on numerous chances to play alongside of and learn from legendary figures in the music. Weekly lessons and rehearsals with faculty members who are deeply connected and active in today’s industry, both nationally and internationally, help our students to reach their musical potential while preparing for an ever-changing industry.

The UW jazz studies area also affords students frequent professional playing experiences from weekly jam sessions to corporate gigs, to being hired by UW faculty to play at venues across the region. Best of all, this all happens in a very personal setting where every student is known by each faculty member which allows for the most individualized education one could hope for.

Performance Opportunities

UW jazz studies students have weekly opportunities to perform professionally around Laramie, Wyoming and Colorado. Laramie offers a thriving music scene outside of the University where students are regularly hired to play all types of music including weekly jam sessions and professional gigs. When combined with several concerts every semester on campus, performing with guest artists, and pop-up gigs, our jazz studies students are playing all the time! 


State-of-the-Art Facilities

As a jazz performance student, you’ll have ample time and space to perfect your craft. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art practice and performance facilities with top-of-the-line instruments.



If I went to Berklee, I’d just be another number, another vocalist. At UWYO, I’ve been able to be on an album, sing with a few of the artists in residency, sing with the jazz band and go to New York. It’s nice when you have someone behind you who is cheering you on and who knows what steps you need to take to get where you want to go.

- Lora Sherrod
UW Jazz Studies Alum

Contact Us

We're Eager to Help!

College of Arts & Science

Department of Music

Department 3037, 1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5242

Email: musicdpt@uwyo.edu